UNITED STATES—When it comes to fear, how precisely can you describe what it is? Is it a sense of dread, is it an environment, is it a person or a combination of all of those things? With the month of October now upon us, all things spooky and scary are invading our neighborhoods, local retailers, homes, television and so much more. Fear is not an emotion that can easily be described with just one word. When I think of fear, I think of something that leaves me on edge, my awareness is heightened to a degree where worry kicks in.

A question that I think is important to address is rather fear is innately created by the things depicted in the media or from personal experiences. I will acknowledge a lot of fear could be traced back to things that we have seen in movies, on television and various forms of art.

That imagery sometimes gets stuck into our memories as a kid and they manifest a bit as we get older. Of course we’re told it’s just make believe, but as a child it’s easier said than done. Hence, the reason so many parents prevent their kids from watching horror flicks. That violence, those creepy faces tend to haunt some children long after they’ve seen the movie.

I personally think what is depicted in the news raises a lot of fear for people in certain regions of the country. When in the first 10 minutes of the nightly news you heard about 10 murders, a robbery, a rape and so many other horrific things, it can place a person on the edge of caution. One, if the incident in question occurs in close proximity, it will cause an individual to question their level of safety, and two, the worry about something happening becomes prevalent for some.

Yes, we’re told time and time again to not allow fear to control our lives, but being the victim of a traumatic incident will indeed have an impact on a person’s life for several months in some cases several years.

I think as a culture, we need to be more aware of the images that we display in the media arena. It’s good that network television is careful not to display disturbing imagery before 8 p.m., but remember kids have curious minds and as parents we are not always watching their every move. When it comes to TV watching, as long as the child is quiet that is all that matters. We don’t really monitor what is being watched which is a bad thing?

To be honest, I think many of us as we age like the idea of fear or being scared. Why? Well fear allows the adrenaline to get pumping; it makes an individual more aware of their surroundings and it causes the brain to think a bit more. If you’re placed in a situation where an intruder has invaded your home, it will create an unbelievable amount of fear that will cause one to think of ways to protect themselves and their family.

Just think of that scary movie that you recently watched. What was going through your mind? You likely placed yourself into the character’s shoes. If someone was chasing me with a chainsaw, I’d do this or do that, or call this person or hide here or there? A ton of things flood through your mind when you see certain situations unfold, it’s a notion of thinking before acting, that is why fear is one of those emotions that is quite important for the human psyche. It’s not just on the border of something that frightens you; it also deals with things that you are afraid of confronting. Meeting that boyfriend or girlfriend to break-up, telling your boss that you are quitting or moving into a new career, it could even be breaking devastating news to a family member.

Fear has many facets; it’s not something in my opinion that can easily be described with a word or two. It’s a feeling that can be lasting for a few seconds or for a few years, depends on the situation. With October upon us, it’s okay to have a good scare or not, we’re all entitled to one right?