I am a 19-year-old boy and my parents are quite old. My problem is that whenever my father goes out or I go somewhere, I feel that my father may meet with an accident or that my mother may not be safe alone in the house. To add to my fears my father is a heart patient. I do not have the courage to leave them alone. I don’t care about myself, but I will not be able to bear my parents’ death. Due to this I am not able to concentrate on my studies or go anywhere. How can I overcome this fear?
You feel so anxious about your parents’ well-being and safety and fear the worst will happen to them. Perhaps you are afraid of being left alone in this world, and this makes you over-attached to them!
You cannot control everything that happens, so focus your energy on what you can.
- Think helpful thoughts: Imagine your thoughts are like a hat — you can choose which to wear. Instead of ‘I don’t…’ or ‘I can’t…’, try these: ‘I may face challenges, but I can overcome them’, ‘When I care about myself, I can take care of my parents better’, ‘God gives me the strength to face life, then why fear?’
- Take positive action: Find solutions. Some examples: hiring a maid during the day can ensure that your mother has company. Discussing your father’s heart treatment with him can help you feel better prepared to help him if he requires it.
- Pray: While death is inevitable for everyone, faith in God will help us to accept it when the time comes. Pray, asking God to help you build inner strength.
- Refocus: Instead of focusing on death, focus on loving your parents and enjoying each moment with them. Help your mum at home; go for a walk with both of them, spend more time with them, do some activities that all the three of you will enjoy. Each day, express gratitude for your parents’ presence in your life.
- Balance your life: Make friends. The more you connect with others, the happier and healthier you will be. Focus on building a career. Your parents would love to see you happy and well-settled in life.
- Seek support: Instead of going it alone, seek help to work through your fears — talk to a counsellor, a priest/pastor, a mature friend/an elder.
Fear can be ‘Forget Everything and Run’ or ‘Face Everything and Rise’. The choice is yours.
Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.