KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — No matter where they came from, having a fear or phobia can drastically alter the quality of your life, and it is time to finally face them.

Fears are considered a part of your everyday survival skill. They are a part of your fight or flight responses and without them, some might be considered to live their life “on the edge.”

It is normal to feel nervous boarding a flight, receiving a vaccine, or even swimming in the ocean. But what turns a fear into a phobia?

Fears can come in all forms and many can ultimately push through them, but with phobias, further, professional help might be the only solution.

The top phobias in the U.S range from Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed or confined spaces), Acrophobia (fear of heights), Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), Glossophobia (fear of public speaking), and Mysophobia (fear of germs).

When faced with these phobias, our bodies can react physically. From sweating to shaking to even fainting, our bodies completely shut down and go into a fight or flight response.

One of the biggest phobias that induce this reaction is the fear of needles (Trypanophobia) or the fear of blood (Hemophobia).

Our very own, Tala Shatara, decided to tackle this exact phobia after struggling with it for more than 20 years. She visited Rocky Hill Family Physicians, within the UT Medical Family Physician’s network, to begin her “face your fears” journey.

After putting off necessary lab work, she finally knew it was time to stop letting her fear control her life.

“I really wanted to break this chokehold on me,” Shatara says.

Tala has been suffering from a fear of needles ever since she could remember. She has put off routine lab work, mandatory vaccinations, and other healthcare necessities for years. That very thought of a phobia disrupting your life was the reason she knew it was time to tackle it. “I couldn’t stand knowing that life’s most precious moments, like even having a child, could potentially never be something I could do,” she adds.

We spoke to Licensed Clinical Therapist, Ashley Bateman, who says there is no right way to say goodbye to your fears once and for all.

Based out of Corryton, Ashley has been practicing psychology for nearly 15 years.

“I want my clients to know that they can seek counseling for something small or large and that they will be welcomed with empathetic, nonjudgmental, client-centered care,” she says.

Ashley is sharing ways she has found along the way that has helped many of her patients overcome their traumas.

However, there is one simple item you can easily check off the list.

“Just saying your fears out loud and normalizing them will help them become smaller,” she says.

She hopes more people can normalize and honor their fears instead of running away and disrupting their lives.

She recommends using grounding skills if and when faced with a situation that can create anxiety or panic. From box-breathing to the 5-sense rule, you can bring your blood pressure and heart rate down. She also advises trying progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery to bring calmer thoughts to a stressful situation.

Fears and phobias can come from a variety of circumstances. From a traumatic experience to even genetics, you will not be the first, nor the last.

Traumatic events such as car accidents, the death of a loved one, and serious injury can cause many fears including never leaving the house, driving a car, or becoming close to someone.

If you are noticing someone in your life who is needing the help and courage to take steps toward facing his or her fears, there are some ways you can help.

“We always want to problem solve, but if we can just take the time and listen, that is going to help,” Bateman adds. She advises you to run through a few important questions to get your person heading in the right direction.

“Tell me about your fears?”

“How does that make you feel?”

“How can I help you?”

Where do you think this fear came from?

Ashley worked within several organizations and facilities including Helen Ross McNabb Center, Omni Family of Services, and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She is currently in private practice Theratribe, LLC, and takes on clients ages 9+. She practices virtually and says it’s a great way to allow her patients to work their appointments into their busy schedules.

For more information and to dive deeper into your phobias with a licensed professional, click here.