Fight. Flight. Freeze.

I didn’t know the third part was even a thing for almost my entire life. 

THE FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE has got a new name. It’s now called the fight, flight or freeze response. Stress experts around the world are adding the word freeze to the name in deference to the fact that instead of fighting or fleeing, sometimes we tend to freeze (like a deer in the headlights) in traumatic situations.

The fight or flight response (in its original form) is about survival. It’s about hope. We activate it when we believe there’s a chance we can outrun or outfight our attackers. The freeze response however, gets activated when’s there’s no hope.

I have never been a stranger to flight. Fight? Yeah, we haven’t crossed paths much. But freeze, I didn’t realize we were old pals.

For better or worse and I’ll explain why later, I have been taught my entire life to run from anything and everything that scared me. Can you imagine being a mid-thirty year old someone and have that mentality? It’s scary, actually.

What is scarier is how much becoming a parent changes you. It’s not scary. It’s petrifying. Especially if you are someone like me and scared of EVERYTHING….when you’re new bundle of joy hiccups for the first time…I jumped a little. I’m not even going to lie.

My little is about to be 17…eh…7, in a few days. Man, has she shaped who I am now. I think she has taught me so much more than I have taught her. I am so thankful to have such a wise teacher, and I really do mean that.

She has been through a lot medically in her 6 years. Nothing major, but scary for a little one. Terrifying for this adult person I am supposed to be but TOTALLY am not. Calm, cool and collected? She would tell you nope. Not my mom. Ha.

She’s the reason I refuse to live in fear of anything anymore. I refuse to let her have a role model who is fearful to a crippling degree.

I got my ears pierced when I was 32. She was 2 and she let me hold her teddy bear. I can’t imagine what that lady at Claire’s was thinking in that moment. But I locked eyes with my little and I wasn’t scared anymore.

When I got over a lifelong fear of needles, she was there to hold my hand when I got one in each hiney cheek. We both took it like a champ, different reasons I’m sure.

Since then, I’ve faced several more fears. In one week, I will face another, learning to fly a plane. I’ve never been so scared of such a small plane but it’s insanely terrifying for me. My husband can fly, and I decided one day out of the blue while she and I were at the park that I was going up there. I watched a small plane with someone probably practicing touch and go landings right over where we were. For the first time, I had a desire to see what it looked like from up there.

When I booked my observation flight, me and my sparkling personality phhft, well..made some jokes with the flight instructor about crashing. I think he thought it was funny, too. Maybe just not used to people joking about THAT.

Truth is, I’m not scared of crashing, or dying. I’m scared of living with crippling fear. So, I won’t. For me and for her. My little hero.

Here goes.

One thought on “Fight. Flight. Freeze.

  1. I enjoyed reading this and to be honest I bet there are loads of people who can relate to your story. I know that I have often been at my bravest when there are other people around though I have nothing that comes close to what having a daughter must be like. I know that when there was once a spider (of which I am pathetically frightened) in my classroom abroad and the kids were in a panic I had to force myself to remain calm. So your story resonated with me in that way!! New follower – looking forward to seeing what happens with your flight lesson 🙂

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