Bipolar Musings: Conquer Fear by Learning to be Strong on the Darkest Days

Fear. It’s something we all live with, whether we have bipolar disorder or not. Since it’s been on my mind quite a bit lately, I decided to dedicate this week’s Bipolar Musings post to that subject. This post will not only look at fear but some positive quotes that can help you overcome fear and be stronger even on your darkest days. Part of this assistance will come through inspirational quotes.

The first definition for fear from Merriam Webster is, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” To me, “anticipation” is the word to really think about, at least from a mental illness perspective. Let’s dive a little deeper into the subject.

It may seem odd to dedicate a post to fear since I recently wrote one about anxiety and panic attacks. However, at least to me, fear is a very different concept than general anxiety or panic attacks.

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Blue October – “Fear”

The subject of fear has really been weighing heavily on my mind due to a song a friend recently shared with me. It’s from the group Blue October. If you don’t know the group, lead singer, Justin Furstenfeld, has been very open, largely through his music, about his personal struggles with mental illness.

The best thing about the song is that it touches on that darkness that fear causes but also gives you hope that you can get up and move on.

Below is a link to watch the official lyric video so you can not only hear the inspiring song but read along with the lyrics at the same time.

What I love most about the song is the message of hope. That you can get back up and move on. To help you to find ways to get back up, the remainder of this post will concentrate on seven inspirational quotes about fear and how you can apply them.

7 Quotes About Fear

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela

One of the lies you may tell yourself as you live with bipolar disorder or another mental illness is that healthy people do not feel fear, at least not in the same way. While it is true that fear can be heightened by mental disorders, it is important to remember that everyone, yes everyone, feels fear.

This quote by Nelson Mandela holds out hope because it reminds you that fear can be conquered. It may not be easy and there may be bad days, but success is possible. You can overcome fear.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of things we fear will never happen.

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Hundreds of thousands of people fly in airplanes every day. Many of those people have deep-seated fears about their plane crashing. Yet, thankfully, plane crashes are quite rare. Other fears are often the same. Don’t waste time and energy fearing something that may never happen.

Many times, the way to reach success is through action, and that takes us to…

The “remedy for fear is direct action”

“The most drastic and usually the most effective remedy for fear is direct action.” – William Burnham

"The most drastic and usually the most effective remedy for fear is direct action." - William Burnham

Taking action is one of the best ways to overcome fear. This may depend on the type of fear.

After my best friend was killed in a car accident, I was afraid to drive for a long time. She died after turning left onto a highway. Subconsciously, I connected the two in my mind and for months found it near impossible to turn left from any road or driveway. The fear cost me a lot in gas as I frequently drove miles out of the way just so that I would not have to turn left and cross traffic.

Talk therapy was a big help to me, and I am a big proponent of the mental healthcare method.  Sharing your fears out loud or writing them down in a journal will often help you to look at the fear objectively. It’s just one of the reasons why you should be journaling.


In addition, you can frequently move past fear by facing it.

This week I had to change a light bulb high up on the outside of my house. I do not like ladders and do not like heights. Living with Familial Mediterranean Fever leaves me weak and shaky most days. The thought of climbing that ladder to reach that bulb filled me with days of fear and anxiety. But, I need that light to help me feel secure at night, so I forced myself to get the ladder out and climb that twenty feet.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have any fear during the process, but I did get the bulb changed. Now that particular fear is gone, at least until the bulb burns out again.

“Courage is resistance to fear”

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." - Mark Twain

Next up is this quote from Mark Twain. Fear is, unfortunately, part of life. Finding ways to overcome that fear often means looking at it head-on.

This is a common way to overcome phobias. It may be the thing that you fear is simply something you don’t understand or haven’t been exposed to.

A friend of mine feared snakes. This was more than a simple thought about how snakes bothered her. Instead, even when she saw a picture or video of a snake, it sent her into complete panic mode.

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To overcome the problem, she learned to work with snakes. She’ll never be a snake handler and still doesn’t like snakes, but the fear is no longer as pervasive.

Think of something that gives you cause for fear. Is it something you can safely face? If so, try to find a way to conquer that fear.

“Believe it may reveal powers that you didn’t know you possessed”

“You don’t have to fear defeat if you believe it may reveal powers that you didn’t know you possessed.” – Napoleon Hill

"You don't have to fear defeat if you believe it may reveal powers that you didn't know you possessed." - Napoleon Hill

Fear can sometimes be a positive thing. Fearing to walk alone down a dark street may protect you. Moving forward despite fear might show you qualities you didn’t know you had.

Think back to fears you’ve had in the past that no longer bother you. How did you overcome those fears? Did you have to learn something new to overcome the fear, or did you already have a strength that was what you needed to help you overcome it?

Adversities can mold and strengthen you if you let them, which brings us to the next quote.

“I lived through this horror”

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” – Eleanor Roosevelt

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" - Eleanor Roosevelt

Another step in the process of learning to overcome fear is that of learning to appreciate the successes. It may be that what you really need is to change your perspective in order to get past the things that are causing your anxiety.

Everytime you overcome fear successfully, you gain confidence so that you can better handle fear the next time it comes up.


Public speaking is an excellent example of this concept. Personally, I hate public speaking. However, I have found that the more I get in front of people, the easier it gets. It’s a very similar experience for other fears and anxieties.

Sometimes the fear revolves around something terrible happening, like the death of a loved one. As awful and debilitating as that can be, there is still an important lesson that can be learned. Each thing we survive teaches us that we can handle things bigger than we thought possible.

Losing my friend just moments after I had hung up a call with her was devastating. That said, just a few days into the grieving process, I told another friend, “If I can survive this, I can survive anything.” The truth is that in the years since nothing as has been as difficult as losing her. I survived that horror, and now I believe I can survive almost anything.

So can you.

“I’m learning how to sail my ship”

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." - Louisa May Alcott

Along the same lines as the previous quotes, when the things we fear happen, we can learn valuable life lessons.

Vehicle safety is improved through studying car accidents. Hundreds to thousands of crash tests may be completed when new safety technology is being tried out. Each one of those tests, though, provides beneficial insight.

To use the sailing analogy, a sailor does not become truly adept at sailing if he only ever sails on calm waters.

Life is rarely full of calm waters. Accept that and use each occasion to learn something that will improve your life skills.

“Look forward”

“Worry looks around, fear looks back, faith looks up, guilt looks down, but I look forward.” – John Carter

"Worry looks around, fear looks back, faith looks up, guilt looks down, but I look forward." - John Carter

One hurdle that often stands in the way when you try to overcome fear is that of getting stuck in the past. Just because something happened in the past does not mean it will happen again in the future.

Learn from the past and see how you can use it to move forward. Even if life knocks you down, you can get up again. There’s another entire post on this blog on that very subject, and it contains 15 more inspiring quotes.

You can decide not to be stuck in the past. Yes, bad things happen, but you don’t have to stay trapped in those moments. Look forward. Move forward.

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Conclusion

Learning to overcome fear takes time and effort, but it is possible. This post only looks at a few of the things you can do to improve how you handle fear. Do you have other tips that help you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Fear is a common part of life, but it doesn't have to be debilitating. Read 7 inspirational quotes and how to apply them to reduce the effect fear has on your life.

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