Confronting the Architect of Fear


yellow door pic

We all joke about it, those of us who suffer from #cogfog, but sometimes it’s not so funny.

My #MS does some really weird shit to me. I forget what I was in the middle of doing, I lose things, sometimes I talk funny. I think it’s falling that scares me the most.

Yes. Scares me. Me. The guy who once stood up to a drunk in a bowling alley and knocked him senseless with one shot to the jaw. The same guy who worked construction, in factories, operating heavy equipment, on a dairy farm, pouring concrete… Yeah. That same guy who now trips over his own feet and falls out of his wheelchair.

Wanna know the really shitty part? I was healthy. Strong. Empowered. #Multiplesclerosis didn’t give a shit. It took me down anyway.

Most people with MS have what they call #RRMS, meaning they have periods of relapse mixed with stretches of remission. I’m not saying mine is worse. Many people I know with RRMS suffer horribly. But my version of MS is special. I won the lottery. I got #PPMS.

Primary progressive MS occurs in less than 15% of the entire MS population. It’s a steady decline. No pauses. No cure.

So what did I do? I started my own company.

It’s not that I’m concerned about money. This company will make plenty, of that I am sure. I started Truly Fearless Life because I realized that me, tough guy Ted, could get scared, and I mean REALLY scared. I felt alone. Helpless. Hopeless.

If I was feeling all these things, imagine what other #disabled and #chronicallyill people who might not be as dense in the head as me were feeling? What about people who didn’t break horses as a kid, crash cars up mountains (seriously), or get in bare-knuckle fights on the basketball courts. What about someone, anyone, who might not be so absolutely convinced they were bulletproof?

See, that’s the thing. A disease like MS just does what it does. There’s no stopping it, and it will never go away. There are treatments, sure. But there is no cure, not for any version of it. MS stays with you for life.

Realizing that is what saved me.

I had to make a choice: flail hopelessly against it and every goddamn thing in the world in fear and anger, or accept my #diagnosis.

Acceptance is hard. But it doesn’t ever mean giving up.

When people ask where I got the name for the company, I tell them this story, because there’s a huge difference between digesting the cold logic of a situation and giving up, and the common denominator is always the same thing…

FEAR

Fear is a bastard, it’s the default programming that still boots up from time to time in the primitive monkey brain portions of our minds. Fear lies to us, it tricks us. Fear exists to do one thing: keep the body safe. And the only way to conquer fear is to go straight to the source.

We all have a special door. Behind this door is a puzzle with only three pieces. Do you think you can solve it?

There’s you (the person you believe yourself to be) that exists in your mind. There’s your brain, which is just a meaty recording device that piles on more and more experiences, using all that data (lies, fears, misconceptions and all) to create instantaneous protocol responses that it believes will keep the third and final piece in the puzzle free from harm… the body.

Mind. Brain. Body.

Did you know that more than half of your body isn’t even human? It’s true.

[…Human cells make up only 43% of the body’s total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists….]

But, if this is the case… then who’s really in control?

Well, they’re still an ongoing debate about that, one which we’ll likely never solve anytime soon. I don’t know about you, however, but I sure as hell like to think it’s me who’s calling the shots.

It was a long journey for me to even find that door, let alone figure out how to open it. Then, once I was inside, it took even longer to solve the puzzle. Confusion. Fear. Anger. Acceptance. Strength. It’s a cycle everyone who is diagnosed has to to go through, and you will too.

That’s okay, though. Because here’s what’s waiting…

When I finally emerged on the other side, I carried the prize with me, the secret to the fear puzzle. Here it is:

Solving the Fear Puzzle

You have to remember the three parts: mindbrain and body. Think of them as three separate beings occupying the same space. The brain and body are in cahoots, and they’re out for themselves. They don’t care about you. They don’t want you to figure out that YOU are in charge of them, because once you do that strips away all their decision making, leaving them powerless.

That’s it. Seriously. It’s that easy.

Oh, believe me, your brain is still going to poke at you, try to frighten you, to shove haunting memories in your consciousness, to remind you of past pain and failures, and of the terrible, terrible future things that might not even be.

And your body? Well, your body is going to fail you. You’re going to get weaker, even if you exercise (which you still should), even when you eat right. That’s how we’re made. We’re not supposed to be here forever.

The body doesn’t know this. The brain can’t accept this. But the mind must.

Biologically speaking, you’re outnumbered. We all are. This is why it’s so important to get through that door, to confront the brain, to tell it to chill the fuck out, to prevent it from feeding faulty information to the meat puppet body who only exits to scavenge, eat, procreate, and all that other stuff so that the bacterial-driven giant mass of cells can exist for as long as it can.

You aren’t any of that. You’re not meat. And you will arguably survive well after the brain and body fail.

Stop listening to the meat.

Take back control.

Demand joy.