Cosmic • December 28 2012
Born Scared

by Julia Ingram

Pundits are calling these times the Era of Fear. We get daily doses of anxiety — producing news — predictions of future terrorist attacks or a collapsing economy; images of violence abroad and of violent crime even in one’s own neighborhood. So, yes, we are manipulated into feeling anxious, but that alone doesn’t explain why the number of people being diagnosed with anxiety is on the rise. Anxious people and a fear-based environment are producing anxious children, so the problem is growing exponentially.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 18 percent of people 18 years and older and 13 percent of those 17 and younger suffer anxiety serious enough to warrant treatment. Using the July 2011 census data this adds up to over 43 million adults and over 9.6 million youth, and these people are desperate for relief. Pharmaceutical companies claim to have a pill to treat the varieties of anxiety, and while prescription drugs may be useful in the short term, the side effects from Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa, Lyrica, Neurontin, Lamictal, Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and others can, according to current research, create a whole new set of problems.

Self-help books and inspirational guidance do often offer relief but neither drugs nor positive self talk nor meditation or prayer will solve the fundamental problem: “Why am I so scared? Why do I have this? Why is it happening to me?” Most of the time what people hear is, “We don’t know.” That can make a person feel hopeless. Sometimes they get the impression their doctor or therapist believes their fears are irrational. It is demoralizing for a man suffering from a fear of closed spaces so severe that he can’t take the elevator to his office to be told his fear is irrational. What he needs to hear is, “Let’s find out.”

In 40-plus years as a therapist, I have assisted thousands of people to find the source of their fears: the places and situations where they were created. Imagine the man’s relief when he learns, via hypnosis, that his fear of closed spaces came from a memory of his complicated, drawn-out birth. Likewise, it is frightening when panic attacks seem to come out of nowhere and how gratifying and helpful to discover they are triggered by a memory of some long-forgotten event.

A fearful little boy who couldn’t let his mother out of sight, discovered that his fear began in the womb when mother was bedridden with a severe illness. A man, highly anxious around loud noises recalled during hypnotherapy the terrifying fights between his mother and verbally abusive father prior to and just after his birth. A college student who was afraid of the dark and frequently awakened during the night gasping for breath, reported a past life as a little girl presumed dead and buried alive.

Anxious people are often so immobilized by fear they lose spouses, jobs, positive relationships with children and friends. They face a bleak future; they want to know how they can get well. The good news is there are many ways to get well, some traditional, and many new therapies. I prefer hypnotherapy (including guided imagery and regression), because this is the best tool for discovering the sources of the anxiety or fear. Then, to assist in the healing, in addition to hypnosis, I still find talk therapy, inner-child work, Gestalt (aka “parts work”), tapping, and other energy based tools, useful. When working with phobias, I always use past-life regressions, because it has become obvious to me and other regression therapists, that phobias are the result of past-life traumatic deaths.

Where do fears and anxiety come from? In addition to traumatic experiences and deaths in prior lifetimes carried into the present, the other source is some type of prenatal or perinatal (the period around birth and weeks after) trauma. Sometimes it is a combination.

How does one begin? Start with symptoms (in either children or adults). Here are just a few.

1. Any phobia (unfairly defined as extreme and irrational fear of an object or situation, often a social situation). Investigate past life trauma. Children might give you clues like saying “that time when I was the daddy,” or awakening with screaming or crying about death.

2. Generalized anxiety (an overall feeling of dread about something negative happening in the future, but not of a specific thing or event). Investigate past life trauma; prenatal stress—a baby of an anxious mother has a great chance of being born anxious as will a baby growing within an externally stressful environment like a violent household, war, famine, the threat of abortion or miscarriage; or perinatal stress or trauma such as prolonged labor, cord wrapped around the neck, forced birth (forceps, vacuum, or C-section), prolonged separation from mother, or prematurity.

3. Underachieving, self-sabotage, low self-esteem, feeling worthless, unworthy, or that you should never have been born. Investigate the conditions of your conception and early treatment. Conception by rape, an unwanted pregnancy, knowledge that mother will surrender the baby, and negative messages prior to and the weeks following birth can lead to the above symptoms.

4. Tendency to give up, need to be rescued, chronic pain in the back of the neck. Suspect a C-section birth.

5. Obsessive, compulsive, eating disorders, social anxiety, fear of success and of failure. Investigate early childhood trauma, and past lives.

6. Powerful feelings of loneliness even in relationships. Investigate twin loss.

The causes of anxiety and fear are discoverable, and simply learning its origins can lead to healing. Because it is in the discovery that you come to understand your deeply seated beliefs about yourself and the world. With therapy, those beliefs can change.

This list does not cover all causes of fear and anxiety. Plus, there are biological causes as well as emotional ones. But as biologist Bruce Lipton teaches — biology is not destiny. No matter the cause, when you change your beliefs you’ll change your life: body, mind, and spirit.

Julia Ingram is a therapist and New York Times bestselling author. To learn about her upcoming teleclasses or to read an excerpt from her book in progress, Born Scared, visit