Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When Phobias Attack........

Growing up with OCD was a huge trial for me. As I am sure it is for everyone that goes through such. Anxiety had become my doppelganger and followed me wherever I went. I had soon developed phobias far more terrifying than my brain could actually conceive or form into words. My main phobia at ten years of age was doctors. I equated them with pain, needles, and all of the unholy procedures that pinched, poked, and prodded. Taking me to the doctor was pure hell for my parents. I admit it. I feel bad for them looking back at that time. In fact I just called my mother about fifteen minutes ago and apologized again for it.....lol.

My mother and I had stopped into the local store on the corner. It was called the Piggly Wiggly. I loved this store not because of what they sold but because it had a huge goofy smiling pig cartoon on the sign. Pigs are my favorite animals. They are so wiggly, and fat, and cute. We had been walking when my ankle brushed up against a floor glass display case. It cut me right above my ankle and I freaked. My other phobia at that time was blood, specifically the letting of my blood. While I was over dramatically engaging in the fear that I was going to bleed to death in the middle of the Piggly Wiggly store my mother was holding my leg up and applying pressure to the wound. It was in truth a decent amount of blood and the sales clerks grabbed rolls of paper towels and wrapped my ankle and on we went to the doctor's office.

The doctor was a younger guy that smelled like antiseptic and too much cologne. We sat in his tiny room waiting to hear about my ankle and I secretly prayed that he could slap a band aid or gauze on it and I could go home untouched by my other phobia....needles. It was not meant to be.

Now, to his credit, he had no idea that I was terrified of stitches, per say. Mainly because I had never had any before. I however, was smart enough to know that stitches meant that your skin was actually sewed back together with a needle. He made some comment under his breath about popping a couple of stitches in it. This was all I needed to hear. My octaves got higher and louder as I proclaimed,"Stitches? Stitches? Stitches!!!"

My mother knew this was not going to be pretty. I am not sure if she asked for people to hold me down but it usually took three just to give me a shot. This was going to be much worse. Now, I should mention that I was usually fine until I saw the needle, then I panicked and needed to be held down. A phobia of abject terror would wash over me and I was no longer in control of my body.

We were ushered into the medical procedure room. It was the usual pastel white and blues all sterilized rooms tend to be with the slick smooth paper over the place you lay on. There were several people in the room now. I couldn't count them but my mother claims it was five or six. I wasn't able to see what they were doing but when they stuck the needle in the wound to numb it I felt it. This prompted me to lift my other leg high in the air and almost kick the one nurse in the face. There was a lot of Nelly put your leg down comments.  They went unheeded and I started screaming," There's a string on my toe!" over and over again. I have no idea why this was important but I was not truly really me anymore at this time. They removed said string and started to stitch. My mother had read or heard somewhere that if she pinched my earlobe it would distract me from the horror that was being done to my leg........it doesn't work......never has....and didn't on this occasion either. What I found that really worked was to reach up tightly grab a large fist full of my mothers long lustrous hair and yank her down to my face while screaming as loud as I could ,"God hates me!!!!" in her ear repeatedly. I was truly possessed by my own terror. They had so many nurses holding down my legs they had no one left to hold down my arms, which allowed me to become like Linda Blair in the Exorcist and flail my hands. Something I had never reacted to this extreme before or since. I would not have been surprised had I been able to turn my head 360 degrees while spitting out pea soup.

 I remember that as soon as they were finished my mother pried my hand out of her hair and long red strands fell to the floor. I am sure her scalp was in agony and I may have even made a bald spot or three. I had received three stitches. I don't remember pain, I only remember intense fear. It was the straw that broke the camels back as my mother from then on refused to be the one that had to take me to get my shots or any stitches that may arise. That would now be my father's job. He was stronger, taller, and he had shorter hair.

 I am positive that this was a learning experience for all of us. For me I learned I had a phobia of the likes I was unable at that time to control. My mother learned not to be around me while I was freaking out on this level or at least not with her hair down. My doctor learned that maybe he should ask if his patient has a phobia about needles before he just mumbles the word stitches so nonchalantly like it's not a big deal. To some people it is a big deal. A very big deal!

So this long drawn out post is mostly about how in the midst of a complete terror you can come out of it. I no longer after two kids, many surgeries and numerous  i.v.s have phobias towards needles or stitches anymore. I still freak out a teeny bit when I cut myself but not to the point of flipping out uncontrollably. Phobias can change. I have also learned to control my breathing and how to calm myself so that I don't get to the flailing my arms and legs point. It is a really good thing to learn. I actually find the whole thing funny looking back on it. My mother, however, remains traumatized by it. It is something I wish I could take back, but such is life and once you do something you can never take it back now can you? Just remember if someone you know has an extreme phobia of something and they have to have it done, be there for them. Try to be understanding and supportive. Always....Always, put your hair up as high as possible, just in case.

Neurotic Nelly

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