Fear can make you a prisoner in your own home and stop you leading a happy and enjoyable life. Here are some simple things you can do to help you feel less frightened. Take control and choose to believe you will be fine.
There are helplines set up specifically to provide emotional support – you may want to contact The Samaritans http://www.samaritans.org/ for telephone support. Call 116 123 for free.
Victim Support is another charity that may be able to help with emotional and practical support in your local area: http://www.victimsupport.org.uk/ depending on whether they have funding to provide an ASB service.
Anti-social behaviour can make you frightened to leave your home. If it is your neighbours who are making your life a misery, you may be scared to return home. If anti-social behaviour is affecting you in a public place then you may be scared to go through that park, get on that bus, or go to your local shops.
Where anti-social behaviour is targeted at you, the perpetrator will be delighted to know you are frightened. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Take control of your fear. Here are some ways how:
Where possible, take alternative routes so you do not need to pass the people causing you distress. Unfortunately this is not always possible. You will therefore need a way to face that fear and anxiety.
One particularly helpful technique is called ‘desensitisation’. You start with imagining yourself going through the fearful situation (e.g. walking up the driveway to the bus stop past the problem neighbours) and use relaxation strategies that replace the fear and worry with calm. Once you can successfully manage your anxiety while imagining fearful events, you can use the technique in real-life situations. Over time you become desensitised to the issues causing you fear (this can also work with phobias such as needles, fear of flying etc.).
You suddenly see the group of youths, or the stalker. How can you manage the fear that threatens to overcome you?
Look after yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep; feeling tired can make your fears seem bigger and scarier. Do plenty of exercise and think positively.
Understand fear. Fear is a feeling and being afraid can become a habit. You can learn what your triggers are, how not to give in to your fears and therefore choose to react differently.
Don’t avoid the things that scare you. This can increase the fear of the scary thing itself. You need to take control of the fear and continue with your life, focusing on relaxation techniques to manage the fear.
Seek professional help. This is a good way to work towards dealing with your anxiety and fears as sometimes you can’t stop being scared by yourself. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to talk to your GP. You may have some form of panic or anxiety disorder they can help with.