admitting anxiety.

My nose has been crying today.  I hope that doesn’t paint too vivid a picture in your mind, but it’s the truth.  The tissue box is close by.

In other exciting news, I will be getting a tetanus booster shot today and a test for tuberculosis.  I was trying to get by without having a doctor’s appointment with a guest appearance by the Needles before college, but unfortunately, campus requires that you be healthy and vaccinated in order to live there.

Weird.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, Needles (I’m going to personify them since they pose a threat.) didn’t scare me a bit.  I almost liked shots because they made me feel brave.

Hold on a sec, I need a tissue.

Back to the story, I used to be on good terms with Needles. We  weren’t friends, you know, and I would never hang out with him for fun on a Friday night, but I could tolerate him.  Then, one day that all changed.  The nurse mentioned something about “this shot goes into the muscle.  That last one went into the tissue.  So this one might sting a bit.”

The words muscle and tissue echoed in my mind.  I had no idea that Needles was that invasive. I never stopped to think about exactly where he was going in my arm.  It just hadn’t mattered, until that moment.

About half a minute after she started putting the needle in my arm, I found myself hunched over in the chair while my mom held my shoulders to keep my from falling on the floor.

Ashley…Ashley…can you hear me?

What is that awful smell? Ew, so that’s what smelling salts are like.  I’m here, all conscious again.

Thing is, I didn’t even realize that I was nervous about the shots until I found out I had passed out.  So now there is a little bit of a threat.

Here’s an important lesson that I will be implementing, folks.  Admitting weakness is a good thing.  I’m going to walk into my pediatrician’s office and tell the nurse upfront how nervous I am and what my tendencies are.  I’m going to ask for a juice box and some distraction.

I’m going to own up to it.  I have anxiety over my relationship with Needles, and I am going to choose to share that with this nurse that I’ve never met so that she can help me through it. (apple juice, please.)  Because I’ve learned from other circumstances that when I share my anxieties with the right people, they can help assuage my fears.  When I tell me friends that I’m nervous about how I’m going to make the right kind of friends and make good first impressions at college, they tell me that they feel the same way – and remind me that so does everyone else in our position.

And that unties some of the knot in my stomach.

If we all owned up to our weaknesses, we might not only set ourselves free from anxiety – we might help other people to get over theirs.  Huh, there’s an idea.

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