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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Obsessing over fears - December 29th 2009, 12:53 PM

To start off, about FOUR YEARS AGO () I had a bad, and in all honesty in the realm of the horse world it wasn't even so bad, fall off of a horse that ended up bruising all the muscles in my back. Since that day I have had an immense fear of falling off and getting hurt in my riding. I mean at one point it got to the point were I was afraid of any horse at all. I am slightly better now consciously, but sub consciously I CAN'T LET GO! Name any horse that I've ever had contact with and I can tell you why I'm afraid to ride them. I obsess over every single thing until I freak the horse out and scare myself out of my skin. Any new situation, bad weather, horse even looks at something funny and I fall apart. I was talking to my instructor about this and she even told me I should go get help about this now because she doesn't want to see me get stuck with only fear. I love riding, I want to make a career out of this but I am so hung up on my fears that I feel like I won't be able to make my dream a reality. I was honestly looking up hypnotists because my issues are so bad. Please help, I can't afford therapy and it's driving me crazy.
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Re: Obsessing over fears - December 31st 2009, 03:13 PM

Hey there,

I'm glad that you're trying to get some help for how you're feeling, because you're right and I do believe that your instructor is right too - you don't deserve to be stuck or held back by this fear that you're developing. Seeking out help from a professional would be a good idea, though I know you have said you can't afford therapy - are there any free mental health organisations or clinics close to where you live? Because of your obsessive thoughts, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be something that you may consider looking into. If this is really affecting you doing what you love and your future plans then it may be a good idea to try and get some professional help if you can.
It's probably also worth talking to your instructor and discussing this issue with them further and see if there is anything that you can come up with together that may help ease your anxiety of the horses and horse riding.

Take care.
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Re: Obsessing over fears - December 31st 2009, 04:05 PM


It sounds possible you might have some PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) symptoms.

It's hard, because although you've probably ridden without getting any injuries many more times than with getting injuries, the possibility still presents itself that you could get hurt again. I think working on reminding yourself that injury is incredibly unlikely and then doing some exercises to handle your anxiety may be helpful.

Here's some of my favorite ways to deal with anxiety in the short term:

playing with clay, rubbing a stone i keep in my pocket, coloring in coloring books.

when I have a worry thought, I found it very helpful to say to myself "I am not thinking about (insert worry thought here). I am doing a body scan." and then quickly note how I'm feeling in my body (tense? heart racing? butterflies in my stomach? ) paying attention to my body, even if it was just for 20 seconds helped me focus on something other than the thoughts, and then i would go right back to what i was doing.

square breathing
take very slow deep breaths. inhale for two counts, then exhale for two counts. as you count inhale one – two, exhale one two picture a side of a blue square forming (or any other calming color) for each count in your mind. so each inhale is two sides of a square, and each exhale istwo sides, creating a full square.

Lie quietly and say to yourself, "I see 5 things, I hear 5 things, I feel 5 things," and then you go to 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. So the way you might do it is, "I see a TV, the ceiling, the dog, my hand, and the newspaper. I hear the wind, my breath, the clock ticking, the dryer and the dog's tail thumping. I feel my head on the pillow, my heart pounding, my eye blinking, my left leg on top of my right leg, and sadness." Then you do it again but with a list of 4 things. By the time you get to one thing, your mind is pretty focused on trying to think of things for your lists and so you've stopped concentrating so much on the anxiety. Lots of the time I get lost around about 3 because the anxiety is gone.

In this technique, you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smells, sights, sounds and textures. If you imagine relaxing at the ocean, for instance, think about the warmth of the sun, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of the grains of sand and the smell of salt water. You can also use visualization to imagine yourself doing well in an anxiety provoking situation- a sort of mental rehersal.

if you are at home and the anxiety is really strong try filling up a large bucket or bowl with ice water and sticking you face in it as long as you can, or taking a very cold shower for 5 minutes. the extreme cold makes it very hard to focus on the worry thoughts

Hope some of this helps!

When the patient's body has betrayed them,
and all the sciencewe have to offer has failed them,
when worst-case scenario comes true,
clinging to hope is all we've got left.
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Re: Obsessing over fears - December 31st 2009, 04:56 PM

The above poster might be right with the post traumatic stress thing. If this doesn't work then I have a few friends who have had hypnotherapy for various things and say its wonderful.

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Make it your business to start some fires

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