PTSD Recovery and Overcoming Fear

January 21, 2020 Beth Avery

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fear are the best of friends. Fear is the driving force behind our fight-or-flight instinct, the most primal emotion we experience.While fear can exist without PTSD, PTSD can't exist without fear. Because of this connection, overcoming trauma-related fears is an important part of PTSD recovery. 

Fear is one of the hardest emotions to wrestle when you're healing from PTSD. Overcoming PTSD requires action, and fear is designed to make us stop in our tracks. Whether suffering from PTSD or not, everyone knows what fear feels like.

When I was younger, I was terrified of jumping off the diving board at the city pool. Though I knew the water below was safe, the blood in my veins always seemed to freeze over when I approached the end of the board. I couldn't move.

Overcoming PTSD Fears and Becoming Unstuck

Fear in PTSD works much in the same way. It freezes us. It makes us run away from the object of our fears, even when there is no real danger present. Coming across a wild bear on a hike is a good time to feel fear. Being afraid of coworkers or friends that remind us of past abusers is not a good time to feel fear. 

PTSD forces us to relive our worst moments, and fear is a big obstacle in moving past those memories. If we allow ourselves to remain stuck in place because of fear, we'll never be able to move forward to better and happier things. We can't change the things that happened in the past, but we can choose to make our futures better. Overcoming fear is a small step in reaching a peaceful life.  

How to Face Fears During PTSD Recovery

The best advice I can give about overcoming fears in PTSD recovery is also my worst advice: we just have to do it. We have to close our eyes and take that jump. It's not easy, but it's the quickest path forward. 

As someone with a long history of trauma, I'm afraid all of the time. I know that whether I face my fears or not, I'm going to feel afraid. At a certain point, I decided that if the feeling of fear isn't going to go away anyway, then I might as well jump. I might as well do what I want to do with my life, afraid or not. 

Overcoming fear isn't about not being afraid. It's about doing what we want to do despite the fear. That is the bravest thing we can do in our PTSD recovery. 

APA Reference
Avery, B. (2020, January 21). PTSD Recovery and Overcoming Fear, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Beth Avery

Find Beth on Instagram and Twitter.

Leave a reply