Full of Fear

Throughout my life, when things have gotten tough, I have turned to music. At times, I gravitate towards songs to steer me away from negative emotions like sadness, loneliness, anger. Other times I find me seeking out songs that match my feelings. When I do that, I’m really looking for words, lyrics to articulate what I am thinking and feeling. Those songs provide comfort as I feel a little less alone, a little more understood.

Interestingly enough, there are few Duran songs that I turn to at those extreme moments of distress. I’m not sure why. Maybe there are few that match my moods of despair or rage. I’m not sure. Yet, I have turned to some music connected to Duran Duran and that is some of John Taylor’s solo work. Anyone here familiar with the song, Johnny Full of Fear? Here are the lyrics that I could find:

He’s walking on the wall

Cause he’s heard it all before

He’d laugh it off, if he could

But his glasses might fall off

The madman’s at the door

Whispering through the floor

Sordid times in life before

Will keep him from flying once more

Johnny full of fear

He’s hanging on a thread

Don’t be afraid of the dark

Don’t be afraid of what you are

Johnny is learning, to feed, to fear

He’s whacking in time

‘Cause his wife gave him some room

Now he’s up to neck in debt

And his partner’s blown a fuse

Well he sits still for a minute

While he’s waiting for some credit

The property’s in ruins

But the suit is good and shiny

Johnny full of fear

He’s hanging from a thread

Don’t be afraid of the dark

Don’t be afraid of what you have

Johnny has known to fear

The messenger

The messenger of fortune

He’s the messenger

He’s the messenger

He’s alone most nights now

More often than not

He’s too much time to think

Gives his committee too much room

He’s thinking of expanding

Taking on responsibilities

I’m, in all, in favor of it

I’ll encourage him every chance I get

Johnny full of fear

Johnny full of fear

Full of fear

I remember the first time I heard this song. I connected with so many of the lyrics on a deeply personal level. The lines about the “madman’s at the door” and “hanging by a thread” especially got to me. True confession time. I have an anxiety disorder. You know one that has been officially diagnosed, is on file at my doctor’s, etc. It is not something that I generally bring up or talk about. I’m not embarrassed about it or anything like that. It is just part of who I am and something that I have to deal with in my daily life. That said, it is rare that I ever see anything like anxiety described in a song. Usually, if it mentioned in some way shape or form, it is not written seriously or with any real understanding of what it is like. This song, though, feels genuine. Now, I have no idea if John Taylor has ever experienced anxiety himself or knows someone who has. I just know that he was able to capture how I feel sometimes.

What made me think of this now? It is probably obvious but with the coronavirus, my anxiety has been seriously spiking. (In general, medical issues are a trigger.) I don’t necessarily worry about myself but I do about my elderly parents (one of whom is over 80 with an underlying medical condition that compromises the immune system). I’m concerned that my niece who has been studying abroad in Ireland now needs to find a fast way to get home. I need to be the calming influence for my students who are asking if they are safe at school. (Good question–is it really a good idea to have a couple thousand people in one building?!) The government’s response (or lack of one) adds to it. I don’t really think there is a plan to really get it under control. The combination of all of this means that I wander around my house, unable to get anything done, unfocused. It has meant not sleeping well and calling family frequently demanding that they check in. Headaches have been common as has the irritable mood that won’t go away along with my inability to calm my thoughts. Then, as anxiety tends to do, it has builds on itself as the lack of productions leaves me with an overwhelming list of things to do and a feeling of being inadequate. I have been describing it as my anxiety has anxiety. It is not fun.

So, as I try to use various strategies to keep my anxiety at a manageable level, I’ll put on a little JT and feel better thinking that someone out there gets it, at least a little bit. That helps.


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