Last week Wacha niKwambie Uzima had the opportunity of meeting up with Dr. Akili Timamu/ Fear Not right here within our studios where he gave us an introduction on the month’s focus area; FEAR. This week he keeps his word and will be succinctly sharing with us the readers on the causes and symptoms of fear. Very important for us to know in order to conquer our fears.
Kwambie: Always a pleasure to meet up with you Dr. Akili. How was your week?
Dr. Akili Timamu: As I mentioned to you, I was on transit to the Maasai Mara right after last week’s interview. I had an awesome week. It was quite an experience seeing first hand animals that I had only previously seen on the National Geographic channel. Kwambie, I tell you real life experience is not just the same as. The real deal is always quite something. Also I really need to add that Kenyan hospitality is something worth shouting about from the rooftops; right from our reception at the lodge, to room service, to our designated Maasai moran tour guide we were literally treated as royalty. What about you?
Kwambie: It was a great week of learning and sharpening my saw at my gig. I truly feel empowered. Perhaps someday, I too will come and see them kangaroos first hand.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Sure. I offer to be your tour guide. Indeed as long as a human being lives, to learning there is no end. As promised, I am glad to reconnect with you and continue with our discussion on fear; its causes and symptoms. Because only when you know the cause of something, then only can you address it properly and not just deal with is symptoms.
Kwambie: Excellent. Really eager to empower myself on this one.
Dr. Akili Timamu: I will begin with the symptoms of fear. There are over a hundred and I request your readers to kindly follow the links that I have shared with you for more details.
Kwambie: Yes, the readers are advised to follow the links shared after the interview for an in depth on the subject at hand.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Common symptoms of fear include sweating, trembling, hot flushes or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, a chocking sensation, rapid heart beat beat, pain or lightness in the chest, the feeling of butterflies in the stomach, nausea, headache or dizziness, feeling fain, numbness or pins and needles as the case may be, a dry mouth, an urge to go to the toilet, ringing in one’s ears, confusion or disorientation to name but a few.
Kwambie: It seems like all these symptoms affect different parts of a human being’s body?
Dr. Akili Timamu: As you have accurately noticed, some affect the chest, others affect the ears, others affect the heart, others affect the mind, yet others affect the skin, others affect touch, several others may affect our eye sight and some may even affect our sleeping patterns to name a few.
Kwambie: These symptoms do not at all seem new. I am sure all of us have experienced fear at several points of our lives.
Dr. Akili Timamu: I reiterate that this list is in no way exhaustive and again I emphasize that the readers of Wacha niKwambie Uzima acquaint themselves with all the symptoms of fear in the shared links. Allow me to move to our next focus area of discussion that is the causes of fear.
‘Nothing’s random. Even if it looks that way, it’s just because you don’t know the causes’.
Kwambie: I could not agree more. As I was preparing for this interview I came to learn that several of our fears are learned and are gained over time.
Dr. Akili Timamu: That is true. Babies are born with two innate fears, the fear of falling down and of loud noises.These are inbuilt as a form of protective mechanism. The rest we all learn. Most fears are learned.
Traumatic experiences in childhood are a precedent of fear. These are later on enforced in life. Say if ones parents heavily criticized one without seeing the good in them, these may lead to self esteem issues and the fear of ridicule in years to come.
Also sometimes, our own fears may be reinforced when we see someone afraid of a certain object. Though we ourselves have not been exposed to the source of fear as such, others experiences with the sources of fear may cause fear in ourselves.
Kwambie: Doc, allow me to interject a little bit. Can the sources of fear be categorized say into external and internal fears?
Dr. Akili Timamu: Absolutely. External fears are caused by factors outside your being and which you are motivated to avoid. These normally arise when exposed to an object outside oneself. Internal fears on the other hand come from within from feelings of low self esteem, and doubt for example. It is good that we know the causes of our fears so that we nip fear at the bud. Remember to confront fear as we will next week, we all need to know as much as possible about the fears, including their drivers for effective treatment and also for self help.
Kwambie: I am taking notes.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Allow me to note down on a flip chart causes of fear which I believe some are relatively common and members of the audience may know.
(As Dr. Akili Timamu walks over next to a flip chart to begin taking ideas from the studio in the audience.)
Kwambie: Members of the audience please introduce yourself, where you come from and what you do before sharing your input.
(As an usher walks amidst the audience handing over the microphone)
Lady from the audience: My name is Grace Awino, I work a as a professional nurse in a psychiatry hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Fear is an evolutionary survival mechanism. Protecting human beings from harm and danger.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Absolutely. Human beings have the startle mechanism, flight and flee mechanism that protect them from danger. All these are complex mechanisms of the brain.
Young gentleman in Nike sweatshirt in the audience: My name is Lee Yang, I am an undergraduate student from the University of Tokyo currently on internship in Nairobi. Terrors and horrors, memories of sounds, images, situations, injury, social rejection, loss of loved ones or career failure may trigger fear.
Middle aged man in the audience: My name is Moseti Mogeni, I own a fleet of matatus that ply the Kawangware route in Nairobi. Accumulated anxiety over the years may cause fear some may be fears that were instilled in the past. These are historical triggers.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Absolutely, inherited and acquired fears also arise. Parents and guardians may consciously or subconsciously transfer their fears to their dependents. Also worth noting is that experiences of pain, physical injury, painful confrontations, loss of loved ones, loss of social status or social rejection may make one fearful.
Kwambie: Thank you for sharing your insights Dr. Akili Timamu.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Always a pleasure Kwambie.
Kwambie: We look forward to your insights next week on conquering our fears and how fear in general stops us from maximizing our potential.
Dr. Akili Timamu: Yes, I will introduce one of my former patients to the readers of Wacha nikwambie Uzima who will share his experiences of how he conquered his debilitating fears.
Kwambie: Thank you so much. So there we have it my dear readers the causes and symptoms of fear. Next week we move on to how fear holds us back from maximizing our potential in life and how to conquer them fears. A blessed Sunday and a Happy New week to all!!
(As the studio lights and cameras go off)
Dr. Akili Timamu: So how about that coffee, I have been nudging you for?
Kwambie: Oh well, I know of a nice coffee shop just around the corner.