Does Fear Freeze or Fuel You?

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by Carlos Briceño |

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Zombies, spiders, losing your job. What is your greatest fear?

Mine used to be drowning, but not anymore. My biggest fear now is losing the woman I love and adore to Huntington’s disease (HD).

Over the last year, our family has had its ups and downs. The gene-positive diagnosis of HD for both my wife and daughter has made this a difficult and scary year.

As sad as the past year has been, it has also been very positive for us. It has forced us to evaluate what is important. It has given us a renewed sense of urgency to live every day like it’s our last. It has also helped us turn our fears into fuel.

I have talked about my wife’s appreciation of privacy in past columns. Her family says this zeal for privacy is something she was born with. I joke that she probably asked everyone to leave the delivery room after she was born. Back in the day, the last thing Jill ever would’ve wanted would be a weekly column written about her and our lives. Being open with the world is hard for anyone, but it is especially hard for her. The fear she feels about our lives being an open book would cripple most people.

Like anyone who loves his spouse, I am scared of losing her. I am scared of failing her. I am scared of not doing the right thing as a caregiver. What will happen if I don’t know how to react to something that happens with her illness? What if I miss something important and she gets worse? How do I remain strong?

Nelson Mandela once said, “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.”

As a man of faith, my fears are eased when I turn to God in prayer and read the Bible. As Corinthians 12:9 (NABRE) says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” In fact, the most common phrase used throughout the Bible is, “Do not be afraid.”

Jill and I overcome our fears because we are committed to helping others in our situation. If what we share makes a difference in one person’s life, then it is worth it. She uses her fears as fuel to help others feel just a little less alone. She uses her fear of being open about the things that scare her to fuel the proclamation that it is OK to be afraid. I use my fears as fuel to fiercely love my family, to help me research HD so that I am prepared for anything that comes our way, and to do everything in my power to help Jill and our daughter.


Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


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