Few books have grabbed my attention from the first page how Fearing Nothing by Michael O’Brien did. Michael starts this book by discussing his personal story of how he’d won bodybuilding competitions and was attending a second one when he had his first panic attack that caused him to hurry from the auditorium. Wow! I thought. You mean even bodybuilders have anxiety attacks and suffer with fear and depression? And that was only the beginning for Michael. He discovered himself unexplainably needing to get out of a vehicle and run three miles into his dress shoes, having to run out of a restaurant while having lunch with his brother, and then being unable to push or even leave home. Too frequently, people with fear and anxiety issues stay silent, attempting to hide their problems from others, so I want to state, “Michael, thank you for sharing your story because it makes the rest of us realize we are not alone and it gives us the courage to share ours.”
We all have stress in our lives, but from time to time, the stress gets almost unmanageable. While I’ve never had a panic attack, sometimes I’ve believed I had been on the point of one and I often have stress during the work day, so I really could relate to a lot of what Michael said, and I found the instruments he offered to be outside helpful.
After sharing his narrative, Michael proceeds to split the book into three segments. The first is about the stressors that result in anxiety, anxiety, depression, and other phobias. He uses the term STRESSORS as an acronym for all the major nine stressors which cause anxiety and fear, including issues with Self-Esteem and Sensitivity. Some of those stressors seem apparent, while others are surprising, including the initial one: Smart. I was surprised and pleased by this original stressor-it turns out I have anxiety because I’m intelligent. As Michael points out, smart people examine and consequently think of what can fail, which causes them anxiety. So anxiety is a negative effect of what is otherwise an asset I have. Who’d have thought? Michael explains it this way:
You are likely smarter than you realize.
He goes on to describe that because individuals with anxiety are smart, they essentially sabotage themselves “You must know this is not happening to you. No outside source is doing this to you. Nothing is attacking you. All of this has been created by you, but it’s also refreshing to know it can be cured by you.” Michael also clarifies how we could use our intellect to inform ourselves new tales that are not so painful to us.
The second section of the publication is REST, plus an acronym which discusses the methods or activities people will need to use to overcome their anxiety and fear. The R stands for Relaxation. Michael offers many helpful methods for how to relax your entire body, and he advocates that you just do these simple and brief activities multiple times a day to teach your body how to relax and to become accustomed to being relaxed. The T stands for Tools. This is the longest chapter in the novel because Michael has ten wonderful resources you may utilize. Again, some may be obvious such as breathing, but there are several other very surprising ones as “The Hoax.” You are going to need to read about this for yourself since it’s difficult to explain, but Michael shares his personal story of how he found this unbelievable tool, and it reminds me of different things I understand like the importance of letting go or surrendering to solve a situation.
The concluding section is YOU, an acronym for the way you’re the way to solve the problem. This section also included practical guidance on ways you can boost your situation. The book concludes with a last note and appendices which have lists of Bible verses about dread and anxiety that provide comfort in addition to a set of affirmations you can use to make yourself feel better.
1 last thing I really enjoyed was Michael’s viewpoint about the pointlessness of trying to ascertain the source of anxiety and all the other related anxieties and symptoms. This book isn’t about psychoanalysis. Michael, in reality, focuses solely on beating the issue rather than attempting to dig in the past. He says that he tried for many years to Determine the causes of his issues, and finally he came to the conclusion:
“There is nothing to discover. There is no solution to be found for two reasons: 1) You have a wonderful and creative mind where millions of thoughts are created, and 2) Everyone in the world has these same wild and crazy thoughts, too. Yes, it’s true; they just react differently than you have; therefore, they never give those thoughts much attention at all. They release the thoughts in an instant and move on. Just like you will over time.”