Conquering Fear

Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

Stacey stormed down her apartment stairs in a frantic, frenzied matter full of commotion. Reaching into her pocket and quickly pulling out her cell phone, the quick gasp and bewildered look on her face were enough to convey an urgent sense of tardiness. Rushing down the rugged sidewalk towards her car, she started to feel a sense of apprehension about what lay ahead in the next hour or so. But, hastily, she climbed into her hatchback and pressed onwards.

Stacey suffers from a phobia but not just any phobia. She has been dealing with Trypanophobia (the fear of pins/needles) for a while now, but was inching closer and closer to fully embracing and conquering her fear. Shots as a kid were always horrible. She even seemed to stare at her own grandmother with cautious perception while she knitted. Whatever the root cause, Stacey was absolutely horrified of needles.

It wasn’t until she saw that her college campus was holding a local blood drive that she decided she had to donate. She ultimately couldn’t keep living in fear of something so small… well, not small to her anyways. You see, Stacey’s mother was recuperating and in remission after an enduring battle with breast cancer. She reminisced about the times where she thought her mother wouldn’t make it and remembered hearing about how many platelet and red cell transfusions her mother constantly had to undergo in dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. So after her photography class one day when she saw a flyer promoting a blood drive in the nearby student union. Something inside her just clicked, and she knew it was the right way to not only conquer her fear but give back to someone who might be in the same situation her and her family once were.

As she pulled up to the student union, the caterpillars that were churning in her stomach earlier had gone through their metamorphosis and were now over-sized butterflies flapping up a good amount of anxiety within Stacey. “What if I pass out? What if I get scared and nervous and throw up? What if it is more painful than I expected?” she thought, frightened and aloud. She was so close though now, she just couldn’t give in to the fear of a tiny needle poke.

The last time Stacey felt this nervous she couldn’t remember. After making her way inside, filling out a detailed health questionnaire and having her vital signs checked she was on deck to donate blood for the first time. A smiling woman in medical scrubs came over.  “Are you ready, dear?” she politely asked. Stacey just nodded her head and was lead to an open chair. Her pulse was pounding so loud at this point. She even  heard one of the English professors in attendance start to quote The Tell-Tale Heart. The nurse who had led her back approached once again, this time with the dreaded needle in hand ready to extract Stacey’s blood. “You can look away dear. This won’t take long at all. I’ll count to three,” she said. Stacey instantly grimaced and covered her eyes, looking in the opposite direction. She was so scared she didn’t even hear the nurse count. “Is it in yet? I’m ready,” Stacey said, her hoodie’s sleeve still covering her eyes.

As she looked down and saw her left arm with the needle in it, she came to terms with things. “I thought you said you were going to count to three?” she asked the nurse. “I did! You didn’t hear me?” the nurse laughed. It was nothing like what Stacey expected – just apoke for about a second, not a huge gaping wound or a bout of excruciating trauma. It was nothing but a little, tiny, almost pain-free pinch. Stacey thought it was even crazier how fast the process was! She donated whole blood and was done with her donation in about ten minutes.

As she walked out of the makeshift donation area, she started smiling and almost blushed, as she thought herself quite silly and yet proud for overcoming her fear head-on. The best part wasn’t even the free Chipotle gift card she got from donating but the fact that she was going to help another girl’s mom going through breast cancer to beat it. To her, that was awesome.

It goes to show you that sometimes the fears and misconceptions we carry about things are really nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

We are having a blood drive here at Incept today! However, aside from just donating blood, tell me about a time when you had to overcome your fear and face it head-on? Did you resolve your fear? What did you learn?