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The secret to overcoming trauma

Posted April. 24, 2021 07:14,   

Updated April. 24, 2021 07:14


A writer felt scared of height for the first time at the top of an escalator going down around the age of three. He put one foot on a step and was engulfed with the fear of falling down. He was frozen with one foot on a moving escalator and the other on the floor, which made him tumble down eventually. The fear he felt was recreated in different places at different times. A series of car accidents also left him trauma for driving. The fleeting sensation when tires lose grip on the road brought the memory of severe pain he felt during accidents.

In his book, the non-fiction writer depicts the detailed process in which he faces and overcomes his trauma. He analyzes how fear can affect the human body and mind.

He decides to face his fear following his mother’s death. The writer who has carried a vague fear that he might lose his mom since a young age is shocked to find his mother dead from a stroke during a trip. He realizes that the sudden death of his maternal grandmother left an unforgettable trauma in his mother’s life, which in turn became his own fear. He begins to explore the roots of the fear.

In order to overcome the mourning of losing his mother, he analyzes various types of fear through research in neurology, medicine, psychology, and literature. He investigates how the sources of fear and fright were viewed in different eras, starting from 400 B.C. when Hippocrates thought a build-up of black bile was the cause of fear to the Middle Ages and modern times.

His efforts to overcome his own fear stepping beyond the exploration of the sources of fear are also interesting. He challenges himself to skydive and rock-climb to get over his fear of height, which has been following him since the incident at an escalator. He also receives medical treatments to overcome the trauma from car accidents. His honest story of learning how to embrace and live with fear will bring much comfort to those who also carry fear in their lives.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com