About 3 weeks ago I experienced an episode of vertigo.

And then another, and another.

In these episodes everything spins.

I have no control over my surroundings and nausea from the spinning overtakes me.

While I spin, I also panic.

Last week I was to speak at a big event in Seattle called Urban Campfire.

Hundreds of women would be there and I was scheduled to be their opening keynote speaker.

I had to decide to either get on that plane and on that stage or stay home and not risk it.

My ‘survivorself kept saying what if you fall on stage?

What if you pass out on the plane.

Don’t be crazy, stay home.

Take care of yourself.

My ‘thriver’ self said with a faint voice, you can do this.

And not only do it, but make it be one of your best speeches.

Move on the stage like never before.

Run on stage.

Take it all in, and embrace the spinning.

Be all that you can be even in panic, fear and anxiety.

And I went for it. I did it.

I stepped on that stage and reclaimed my thriver.


The audience did not know that at any point if I moved my head in the wrong way, the ceiling would become the floor and I would collapse.

I didn’t fall.

I didn’t spin.

I am sharing this because we all have a vertigo feeling in our lives. We all feel like we could collapse and fall at any point in time.

And that fear very often keeps us inside closed doors, away from people and from doing things that matter.

I am not going to lie to you, I was very afraid, I was actually in panic mode all the way from getting on the plane to the stage.

Panic for at least 24 hours.

And then I took the panic and broke it in half.

Shattering it to pieces.

The moment I put on the dress, stepped on that stage, closed my eyes for a few seconds, took a deep breath and started speaking, the outcome became mine.

I was in control of my destiny, of my future.

Against the physical limitations of my body.

Against the constant panic talk in my head.

Against many things.

On the other side of fear there lives a place of comfort, a place where we reunite with our true selves. (Click to tweet!)

A place where the fear transforms into a butterfly.

I do this work not because I am good at being afraid or good at being courageous.

I do this work because I am so bad at it.

I am going to ask you today to put it all on the line.

All of it.

All your fears, big or small, heavy or light, need to be talked about.

They need to be smashed into many pieces so you can find yourself on the other side.

What is your fear and what do you need to do to go through it and on the other side?

Share with me in the comments below.

With life,


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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Becky says:

    Of being loved again, replacement of my husband? Confused, scared, tearful, what now?

    • Debra Oster says:

      Becky, I feel your pain, since I am living through the same.I am sure you have many wonderful qualities that will once again attract the right man. Spend some time reevaluating what it is in a man, join groups for both males & females, take some time for yourself to pamper & renew yourself! Be blessed, Debra

    • anna says:

      me too!!!

  • Joe Gonzales says:

    My fear is living a life without my wife in it. I never imagined I would ever have to life one day, let alone a life time with her not at my side. I just can’t seem to be able to take that first step. And it’s been 7 years since she has been gone. I feel paralyzed.

  • Akshay Desai says:

    the only fear to me is losing my loved ones and it’s many times running in back of my mind that i wish i could save somehow my Grandma or would have told her to be alive and not go away it was just one fine day all things were good and suddenly saw my Grandma in pain in Her room after we had lunch, called the ambulance went to hospital and she had never in her life visited a hospital since she was healthy throughout her life. She had few heart blocks and almost a week she was there and after surgery was successful her pulse was normal but then it dropped and never came back up :”(

    i was expecting Her home but that did not happen and from that day on i started disbelieving in God and his creations as if i was the only one. it took me months and now already an year and half has passed, some hatred for God is there but life’s going on, me and my family do loved Her the most miss Her always and She will remain forever in our hearts as She sees us from above and guides us. now i feel that fear is still there but i hope somehow nothing like this ever happens again ever! i wish those days were a dream and never happened or somehow things turned opposite but truth is always bitter, anyways have to carry on in life but the thing is at least She would have lived 10 more years as She was 78, almost 79 last year and could’ve lived more maybe around 90’s, but life isn’t fair is it to the good one’s

  • Beatriz says:

    I have been suffering from chronic depression and generalized anxiety for 10 years due to trauma. I LIVE in fear. I have been hospitalized 12 with 6 suicide attempts. It’s living hell but I keep going. In that respect I’m a survivor and a thrived however it is a daily struggle. So proud you overcame the vertigo and love your book which I passed on to a friend. I also appreciate your message in a bottle. Please pray for me as I learn to heal live again. Thank you and God Bless. Beatriz

    • Debra says:

      Beatriz, I admire you for your strength to continue on. Your story continues & will help others by seeing the struggles you have been through. Please know that you have friends all over willing to reach out to you. Your amazing in your will, be blessed dear lady! Sincerely, Debra

  • Anne Bacheller says:

    My fears are that I won’t be able to support four kids on my own. That I won’t find a job. That I’ll never succeed. That I will royally screw up somehow, or be successful.

  • Jean says:

    I have started to make a new life with a new love. It has been his dream for 3 yrs to live in Ecuador. I fear leaving my children & grandkid but to be with my new love I will have to. I will spend 9 mos with him & 3 mos with my family. He has told me I can visit them whenever I want for as long as I want but the move still scares me. I’ve “talked” to my deceased husband & my new love’s deceased wife & they both seem to want us to be happy. He’s lived in 13 different cities because of his job, I’ve lived in the same city I was born in for 60+ yrs. This man makes me happy! We meet the first time in grade school & lost touch after high school so he’s not a total stranger. I’ve met his family & he’s met mine…..a condition of my going with him (we live in different states). How do I work through this fear of leaving my family – my comfort zone?

    • steph says:

      I think that fear of leaving your family is a natural fear. You have to express that fear. Talking about it, writing about it. You have to get it out in the open.

  • Judith Hightower says:

    It’s been 10 months since my husband passed away. He was my everything. We were
    together 28 years and I miss him so. The antidepressants don’t seem to help. I have crying fits and ache for him every day. I enjoyed your book and appreciate your messages. However, I seem to be stuck! I am raising my 16-yr old granddaughter and she is a comfort to me. I plan to move to the NC shore as soon as she graduates, the memories in this house are unbearable at times. I have supportive friends who I can talk to also.

  • Merle says:

    I fear everything, it seems. I suffer from paid, depression and fear. Been this way my entire life. Am 64 and have been on meds since I was 26. I do volunteer work for Hospice. I take care of people so that caretakers can take time off. Been doing this for 5 Years. Think it is helping. Am married to a wonderful, loving man. Never had children, which was the start of depression. Have two wonderful stepson, daughter in law a great beautiful granddaughter. I just wish I’d feel normal!!!!!!

  • Linda says:

    I have had many fears throughout my lifetime. Right now I am facing, yet again, another difficult situation in my life, not by my choice either. I’m not happy about it, I don’t want to be doing what I have to do & I am afraid.

  • Debbie says:

    I fear that I with not be able to handle everything on my own. That something will happen that I can not fix. That I will forget something and screw things up and not have him to help me figure it out. That I will be alone forever and not find someone to love me just the way a am.

  • Beth says:

    What you did is so admirable, and I can relate. I have lived my life that way since the morning after my husband died. My kids were 11 and 17 at the time, and I just felt that I had no other choice than to forge ahead and keep things as normal as possible for them. Four years later, I have no regrets. They are well adjusted, and we are doing as well as can be expected in our individual lives as well as a family. I am, and will always be very sad and lonely without my best friend and soul mate for 29 years (20 years of marriage), but I know he wouldn’t like it at all if I was sitting around being miserable because it would have a negative impact on the kids and all of our lives. So, I do the best I can with what I have which is two beautiful, healthy kids (16 & 22 now), and I thank God everyday for the time I had with my husband and that he gave me these amazing gifts.

  • Vicky Mckenzie says:

    Christina, your right I have been guarding myself from the time I was in the 4th grade. That’s when a big part of it started and it was because I was called names all the time. I would go home crying everyday. I was called Pinocchio and many other names plus bugs bunny. When I started Jr High being flat chested was added to the list. I only had 2 girlfriends in grade 4-6. We had this boy in one of our classes and he always smelt bad so they made fun of him too! We would have to square dance and I would always pair up with him because I knew how he felt. In Jr High I only had one girlfriend and ran around with my brother most of the time. I always had fun with him and his friends and his friends were always nice to me. I was safe with them. I never really liked guys to look at me because I was so selfconcious. I didn’t really trust girls but I never understood why.
    When my Husband passed away I was filing to get on disability and they had me to go see a counclre. I had to take one of my family members for him to Speke with also, so I took my youngest daughter. He talked to me for about 30 minutes and stepped out while he spoke with my daughter. When I came back in he began asking me why I was afraid of men and why I didn’t trust women.
    When I was about 4 years old, my sister was almost 6, we had a station wagon back then.
    Mom went into the laundry mat and we stayed in the car and was playing with our dolls in the back.
    This car pulled up next to us and this man was in it.
    He didn’t get out he was just staring at us. We noticed that his hand was moving but new no better, but my sister got scared and ran in to get mom, so the man left.
    She explained what he was doing but at the time I still didn’t understand.
    When I turned 12 mom and my aunt told me the facts of life and part of it was, my aunt grew up with this guy and dated him all thru school. One night after a football game he was taking her home, but didn’t take her strait home, he raped her 1st. Well between her reexpaining the man in the car a a man my aunt knew all her life no wonder I didn’t and still don’t like men to look my way.
    Then the girl part I found had been buried way down deep for over 50 years. I didn’t realize it at that time but when I remember it was overwhelming!!! When I was around 5 years old I had a cousin that was 3 or 4 years older than me. I always thought she was so pretty. She had been molesting me. God I can remember everything, that bathroom she had me in. They moved away and I just buried it I guess. So yes I not only lost my husband I had to face these demons and I really thought I was until I came across Second Firsts. I almost decided I wasn’t doing this, but after writing the letter to my husband I felt so much better, it was amazing. This is a whole new ball game and I have asked God to forgive me for doing those bad things. I still to this day can’t be around people if I don’t know them because I am still veer seld cincious. Not as bad but I am. I just don’t know how to shake it loose and get on with my life. I really hope you realize how hard this was for me to get out in the open and I honestly hope you can help me find a way out of this huge whole I hide in. Thank you for answering me from the one before. I admire you and you are one of Gods Angels here on this earth…..hugs!!

  • Jeanette says:

    Wonderfully uplifting to read about how you overcome your vertigo and just go for it. Gives such inspiration for the rest of us to muster up all the courage we can and get on with it. There are such gains – but it is so hard to be strong sometimes. You feel like lying low and licking your wounds yet knowing that cowering in a hole is not the answer. The only way is standing up straight and going out there in spite of difficulties. Your words are so comforting and give me strength. I feel small but shall try to stand tall. I am not getting up on stage, but will start studying on Monday – a new beginning at the age of 55. Love and best wishes to all the above.

  • Wendy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing part of your story. I have lost ” to many” but my brother 2 yrs. ago at age 52 has brought back every death I’ve ever experienced. I felt like an orphan before that when my parents passed but now, I am scared & angry at life everyday ..
    It’s “strange” that I help bring life into this world as a profession, mom’s and dads always say -you are so compassionate & loving how do you do it?! My answer is always life’s lessons- that’s how.
    I want to live life to my fullest-free of fear, anxiety, and did I say fear….I walk around saying how the ” h—” did you do that and I always look up–that’s how-a power greater than myself and me…and all of you.
    Many Blessing

  • Mark says:

    My biggest fear is that my dreams are just that – dreams, that will break up and fade away when I wake up to find that everything will always be the way it was in the bad days. Just like in that film, when Jack Nicholson says to the room full of psychiatric patients “What if this is as good as it gets?”
    That’s what I’m afraid of.

    I feel like a different (and better) life is there, just out of reach behind a thin curtain.
    I do believe in myself, I work towards those goals.
    It feels like running to stay in the same place.
    Is it fear of success holding me back?
    Or just procrastination, a lack of efficiency and focus to the effort I put in?
    Is it just my brain playing tricks to keep me in the waiting room?

    I’ve broken out of survival mode, and am living again.
    Now I have to learn to focus and move forward.
    But it’s exciting, not daunting, if I allow it to be.

    Please keep reminding us of these things, Christina.
    It’s so easy to forget and slip back into old ways of thinking!! :o)

  • lisa says:

    I can totally relate to this.. And admire your strength! I’ve had a number if traumas that aare affecting my life today.. And I feel like no one gets it or understands.. Or they think I should be over it all by now.. Believe me I wish I could.. My fear of loss is tremendous and it seems to be hindering areas of my life, anxiety can b awful at times too.. I believe god will get me through it all, but its very frustrating at times because I can’t explain to others why its this way for then to understand.. My life is rebuilding but I am discouraged by the fears and sometimes I don’t even recognize them.. I think its become a way of life or comfort .. I appreciate your words and wisdom . it helps me feel not so alone .:)

  • dawnmarie says:

    This is one of my bravest steps right here in public sharing this..
    I share openly with people and friends and family ..no problem there… but public not ever really… So here i go…
    I start off with something that came to me after running my fears out this morning.
    FEAR..False Ego Arrogantly Ranting
    As with so many there is a lot of uncertainty and instability in workplace,which co-exists with people’s humanness, needs, fears and however it is that each person relates or manages all of that.. and how it is allowed to be expressed where they are.
    So my fears related to: If my job I am in now went away tomorrow it:
    create great instability, I’m 62 not so easy to attain another JOB, since you haven’t quite deciphered what IT is that you are meant to be doing and Being..so close but no cigar.
    Even if you did have a sense of what it was you wanted …you wouldn’t have the energy to do both..look or manifest a new stable income AND do all the connecting and exploring to manifest the meaningful lifework you would really like.
    …no stable income.. instability..
    would need to move couldn’t afford the apartment..
    You’d be living in scarcity survival mode AGAIN (spent many years living there , said no more of that)
    lose the connections, and sense of belonging somewhere (this is also important for me esp after a year of many losses last year)
    no place to feel like you are contributing in some way (this is mostly related to the people connections..not the job duties)
    you would be even lonelier
    scared, dis-connected and feeling lonely..yep that would really be it..
    …….well through all of that hour of listening to that I felt some strength and heard my true Self say..
    “When have you ever stayed in a toxic or dysfunctional relationship” or for that matter how many toxic dysfunctional relationships have you had in the past 20 years….. ZERO”
    So why are you staying in this one?
    What? ….OH… the work situation is and has been a dysfunctional toxic relationship for quite some time now…. AH HA….
    I mentally cut the cord on that …..then this came to me…
    So what have you done before to take yourself out of the ones you had????
    you have the awareness you needed ..which were the reasons you have stayed… NOW you can easily move forward set a plan and intention with this awareness….
    I felt a sense of calm actually after this …
    So on this long “labor Day weekend” I shall indeed take this information and set my intention ……
    Many Blessings to all of you on your own journey’s

    • dawnmarie says:

      HI DawnMarie
      I wanted to acknowledge you for being brave and saying your truth.
      It took courage I know..you have a lot of that really…
      I Am here for you no matter what…
      Way to go woman
      It won’t be long till many wonderful things and blessings start flowing in
      I love you

  • Heather says:

    At the age of 64 and just retired I became a widow suddenly and with no warning. It has been over 3 years and I’m still struggling to find a place on the world where I am relevant and where I count for something. I realize my identity was tied up with the roles of wife/mother/worker. There is now little companionship since those roles have ended. I miss my husband so very much. We were married 38 years and I feel confused, very lonely and hopeless for the future. I can’t remember the last time I felt normal or even laughed.

  • Aura Averbach says:

    I need to go see Michael. Just be with him. We need to hold each other and talk. Really talk. About our lives. Our dreams. Our fears. About us. About why we found each other again 30 odd years later and fell in love. Yet we denied ourselves that love because we had commitments. Now 4 1/2 years later, both our marriages are over not because of each other. Because they are supposed to be. Because we are now meant to have a life together. Please pray for me. I’m in that panic state. I need to start this but I’m afraid of loss. Why I don’t know. Because I’ve looked into Michael’s eyes and I’ve seen his love for me. I’m just scared and it’s a rotten excuse. I deserve the walks on the beach. I deserve the kisses on the forehead. And I deserve to love him like he’s never been loved before.

  • Maria Dodson says:

    Dearest Christina! Thank you so much for taking that risk and making it to Seattle. Your talk was so powerful and your presence at our table was life changing. I’m the one you told to take a nap each day for the first 2 weeks the kids are at school. 🙂 I’m afraid of not being able to have enough energy left for my family if I do anything else, but I feel like I’m dying staying at home. Grace and peace to each one of you.

  • beth says:

    I am scared of living life without my husband, my best friend, my confidante. He died 359 days ago on Sept 7th at 9:13 pm and I’ve been lost without him ever since. He was leaving a restaurant where we had eaten dinner and was turning the corner onto our street…less than 2 minutes from our driveway and was in an accident. I’m afraid I’m not going to do it “right”…whatever that is. I’m afraid that people will forget the wonderful man he was…the wonderful father he was. I’m afraid that I’m not making him proud and that my choices are not the ones he would have made. It’s like my life has just stalled…I’m 36 years old and I have no idea where to go from here. Everyone looks at me and sees this strong, composed person but I’m crumbling on the inside and have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.

    I have 2 stepchildren that I will never allow to see me crumble b/c I am their role model. I am the one they look to to see how they should react to things. If I fail them I will never forgive myself. They need to see that although he is not here he would want them to celebrate all the happiness coming their way-graduations, weddings, babies, etc. I have to find a way to believe that too I guess but I feel like I’m never going to come out of this fog…like I’m doing it wrong and I should let them see that I don’t have all the answers. This was his job…being the strong one who held our hands and made it all ok!

    At the top of the comment page it says “don’t tie your worthiness to the person you’re married to”…my worthiness wasn’t tied to him but he was my strongest supporter, my biggest fan and my BEST FRIEND. We had “that” marriage and I am truly truly lost without him…..I’m scared, anxious and lost….and have no plan on how to fix it or what to do….

  • Holly Stover says:

    Thank you so much for that message in a bottle. It hits home big time. I am deciding to make a move to a new city hundreds of miles away from my comfort zone where my husband and I lived, worked and raised our kids (all grown now) for our whole marriage until his death. This change feels so necessary to me but very scary as well. Time to reinvent my new self, in a new place. Thanks for always applicable messages.

  • Sherri Leisure says:

    I am afraid of letting my four children down. I am afraid of never being as happy as I was before that tragic day over seven months ago when my husband of 17 years suddenly and tragically died. He was my best friend, my soul mate and I honestly feel like I am just going through the motions – there is some laughs, but I am not truly happy like I was before that day. Nothing seems the same and I wonder what that means for the future me.

  • Kristina says:

    My biggest fear: Losing my mind, and then losing my home.

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