Overcoming Panic

Yeah, this is a day late. Once again, seminary papers rarely play along with plans both professional and sentimental.

For as long as I care to remember, I’ve been terrified of needles. When someone even begins to talk about blood being drawn or injections, my arms almost instinctively curl up in a T-Rex position so people can’t get at my veins. It was hard to even type those last couple of sentences. Real Talk.This is not an uncommon occurrence, however, I know exactly how that fear escalated.

When I was eight, my mom took me to get a “drive-thru flu shot.” I don’t know how common this practice is in the rest of the world, but it’s an almost yearly occurrence in Stillwater. It’s fairly innocuous if you’re an adult. They simply take what is usually inside the hospital and put it on the outside. It’s safe, it’s clean, and it’s quick and you can go about your day uninhibited. I see why they do it, especially with something so mass marketed (as much as something medical can be) as a flu shot.

But when you’re an eight-year-old kid with a history of shirking away from needles, this is the most terrifying prospect known to man. In my head, I imagined someone from the McDonald’s drive-thru lane holding a syringe like a knife waiting to jab me as hard as he could. I imagined us driving away from the lane with the needle still stuck in my arm. This was mae even more terrifying by the last person I saw working a drive-thru. He was an old man, missing a few teeth, and he had a skullet, the scariest of all haircuts. For those of you who are fortunate enough to be unaware of the skullet, I’ll illustrate. It’s a cousin to the mullet, but instead of business in the front, there is nothing but a bald scalp. Around the rim of the head is a ring of long scraggly grey hair that could easily be taken into a ponytail, though it never is. This man was who I envisioned performing medical procedures on me. Obviously, I didn’t want to go.

My mom talked me down, convincing me that it would be just like the doctor’s office. She knew I didn’t like that either, but I had made it out alive from shots there several times, so I was inclined to believe her. When we pulled up, on my mom’s side of the car was the nice, friendly looking, smiling nurse she had promised me. On my side, however, was the biggest, buffest, most jacked male nurse I have ever seen. All my fears had come true. I turned to my mom and managed to squeak through my throat tightening up, “You lied to me!”

What I saw when I looked over I didn’t quite comprehend (because I was having an anxiety attack) but looking back I know what it was. My mom was frantically signaling to the nurse on her side of the car for her to switch sides with Nurse Hulk so I wouldn’t be so scared. While I was panicking, she was trying to make it all okay.

That’s a lot of my relationship with my mom. Every time I get anxious or scared, she tries to make it okay. It’s not that she comes swooping in to fight all my battles for me, not at all. But every time I’m nervous about an uncertain future, or feeling completely isolated, or I think that something is just too much, she’s there to comfort me and tell me that it is going to be okay. She’s the first person I call when I need someone to understand or offer encouragement or advice. I’ve been convinced many times over that her hugs could cure anything that ailed me.

My mom always makes sure to tell me that she reads what I write here or watches the cover videos I’ve been putting up on Facebook. To this day I think she’s the only person who’s listened to the podcast Chase and I did. She always tells me that she loved it. It may seem like she’s supposed to do that because she’s my mom (and maybe she is) but as someone who’s spent a lot of time trying to be liked to varying degrees of success, it means the world to me that ANYONE enjoys this dumb stuff I put on the internet.

A lot of people have given me a lot of bad advice over my 23 years, but when my mom tells me it’s going to all be okay? I believe her every single time.


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