A few years ago I had a breakdown. As in, a mega-super breakdown where I found myself on the floor crying uncontrollably because I was on a path doing not what I wanted to do, but what I had been told to do with my life, all my life. I knew this was not what I wanted to do, but “It’s complicated” I told people. “My family expects me to succeed” I said, to others and to myself. Something snapped and I ended up on the floor crying and screaming and felt like I was drowning. I fell to the floor while the sun was still up. Night came, and I was still on the floor and I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to go back to the life I was living. So I said to myself, “I’m going to get up and do something about this, because I can’t have another one of these.” I don’t really talk to friends or family about the way I feel, so I sought help from a therapist. I started researching as to why I was like this. My therapist asked “If this is the life you don’t want to lead, then what is? What would you rather be doing?” I hadn’t a clue. I still don’t. In my head (and as a child) I imagined my life so different. I was (and am) very different in my heart and in my head when compared to how I really am. But just like you, I am afraid to live. However, when you say live…what aspect of living?
If there’s something I learned during therapy, it was to pin-point and clearly state things, not to generalize things. You cannot say “I’m afraid to live” if you are able to talk to friends, go out, go to work, read, go for a walk, laugh, cry…this is all part of life. What is it that you are afraid of exactly? I always (and still do) tell myself “I’m not good enough” “I’m not talented enough” “I am not smart enough.” Okay, at what? Where is the proof? Have I actually tried to do any of these things? Have I practised? Actually, does it even matter? What do I enjoy doing? What don’t I enjoy doing? Am I afraid of failing? About embarrassing myself? If so, why do I care?
I’m afraid of many things, mostly involving the reaction of others, hence why I have gone anonymous. You see, I don’t value myself much. I am afraid of being made fun of, negatively criticized, misunderstood, ridiculed, because it happened a few times and being the hyper-sensitive person that I am (not saying this in a bad way but it’s just who I am) it has shook me to my core, and I was traumatized. Every now and then I will think of the events and I will feel the same stress and anxiety as if it were the day it happened. But thinking about these experiences and pin-pointing exactly what it was may help you.
Unfortunately this is not a question that can be solved by just an answer, but I urge you to take some time to think about things. Play “therapy” with yourself, until you get to the bottom, to the root of what the “fear” is for. Exactly what is it that you are afraid of? Perhaps talk to a friend or family member who can help you reflect on your past and present experiences.
I searched for this question myself just a few minutes ago, and I am not writing this answer because I know the answer, but because I know where I need to start…and even starting that can be scary. It’s always nice to know that not everyone is living it up like the Wolf of Wall Street (sometimes I think that that is what everyone else is doing 🙂 ). But you know what, if you start what I like to call the “discovery” today, bit by bit, you’ll get better at overcoming the fear by understanding it. There are so many Ted Talks, blogs, texts out there that I’ve gone through, it’s all very reassuring, but in the end you need to take that theory and apply it to yourself. You are not a textbook case. You are a riddle only you yourself can solve. Hope this helps…Thank you for asking the question!