March 06, 2006

Freak Out!

I don't recall what brought it to mind, but this morning I've been pondering the concept of emotional scarring. Some events just seem to cement themselves into our minds, especially when they are very intense or jarring. I've had my fair share of these experiences. What I'd like to know is how to get past them or get rid of them. Grab a drink or something, as this could get lengthy. lol

On to the emotional scarring. Take needles, for example...

We spent most of our summers at a large lake near my home camping, skiing and swimming. When I was fourteen years old, I was at the lake going for a swim. I was walking down into the water, my feet squishing into the muddy bottom and suddenly I felt a sharp pain. I had cut my toe on something. I was walking along side of our boat in water that was about knee-deep. I pulled my foot up out of the water to see how bad it was, and was shocked at the amount of blood gushing out of my toe. I looked up at my mom, who was in the boat, and said "Mom, I cut myself." Mom asked to see it and when I held it up for her to see, she panicked. This tiny little lady hauled me up over the side of the boat and everyone started freaking out. I had cut my little toe in half right up the center. (After returning to the lake, we investigated and found a beer can that had been ripped in half. That bare metal edge must have been the culprit.)

Everyone quickly piled into the boat so that we could head back to camp and get me to a hospital as it was obvious that I was going to need stitches. Unfortunately, we were all the way on the opposite end of the lake from our camp, so it took about 1/2 hour at top speed to get back there. We had wrapped a towel around my foot and mom was putting pressure on the toe to try to stop the bleeding. By the time we got back to camp, the towel was soaked with blood. I don't really remember how I got from the boat to the car, but we squealed out of there to go to the nearest town, which was another 1/2 hour away. So, after an hour of bleeding, we arrived at the emergency clinic where we were forced to wait what seemed like an eternity to be seen. I had lost so much blood I was pale and getting loopy.

The doctor was amazed at how clean a cut it was despite the fact that it had gone right through the center of the toenail. This is where the nasty part comes in – the shots. The doctor shot anesthetic (I'm more inclined to say that it was ACID) into my toe underneath it, between the least three shots. These shots burned like hell-fire. They hurt worse than anything I'd ever experienced, and it was all I could do to keep from screaming. He stitched me up and sent me on my way.

To this day, when someone points a needle at me, I clench up. I remember that pain and I start to panic. I know how irrational it is, but I can't help it. Emotional scarring.

Then there were June Bugs.

My sister and I had a rocky relationship growing up and I always felt that she resented me. She made it obvious that she would have rather been an only child. She was 3 1/2 years older, and picked on me constantly. One of her favorite things to do was to torment me with June Bugs. These nasty flying beetles came out at dusk and buzzed around all over the place. They're HUGE. Most of them were probably about an inch long. They're just nasty. Well, my sister took great joy in catching them and putting them down my shirt and/or pants. She would then roll with laughter as I screamed and jumped and freaked out trying to get it out. Thanks to her, I am now afraid of them. Dang, it even gives me the heeby jeebies to look at that picture. Thanks, sis. Emotional scarring.

The Horrors of Cotton

I have a thing about cotton. I'm not talking about cotton fabrics – I have no issues with them, but cotton balls, on the other hand, I cannot stand. The sight of them doesn't bother me, but I can't touch them. I am repulsed by the way they grit between your fingers. As ridiculous as this sounds, it's not a baseless aversion.

I have a strange mouth (and a very expensive one, for that matter). My jaws are far too small for the size of my teeth, so major work had to be done to make my teeth presentable and functional. After most of my adult teeth had come in, the work began - multiple oral surgeries. The first time, they removed six teeth that were visible. They also wanted to remove two that were impacted way up in my upper jaw which were, incidentally, pointing sideways. They tried to go up through the roof of my mouth, but couldn't get through all the bone, so they had to go in from the front. For some reason, they exposed one and put a plastic cap over it but didn't remove it until later. I could see it if I lifted up my lip. The damn thing looked like a vampire fang. The day after the surgery, my face was so swollen and bruised I looked like I'd been hit by a truck. I now regret not allowing my mom to take my picture.

After a couple more surgeries, they had removed all of the "extras" so that there would be room for the rest. Most adults have 32 teeth in their mouths - I only have 24 and no room for any more. I am missing several molars, canines and bicuspids. I then moved on to years of braces, rubber bands and retainers.

During these surgeries, subsequent recuperations and braces work, I had the pleasure of having my jaw literally jacked open as far as it could possibly go, resulting in the muscles locking up and not being able to open my mouth for several days afterwards. I also had my mouth stuffed completely full of these big, fat cotton wads time after time. They rubbed against my teeth and tongue, dried everything out, stuck to the braces and were MOST unpleasant. I think this is why I can't stand the texture of cotton balls or pads now. ...and NO, they did not give me any gas, ever. Emotional scarring.

Just Let Me Drive

Traumatic accidents have a tendency to freak a person out just a bit. Well, during my senior year in high school, I had the misfortune of being the front seat passenger in two major car accidents. One of them involved the driver veering off the road on a curve, going airborne and flipping two or three times. I'll never forget having the surprisingly lucid thought, as we were spinning, that there should NOT be grass going past the window. I caved in the dash and glove box with my knees. The driver and I were both severely banged and bruised, but that's all. I shudder to think how much worse it could have been.

The second accident, three weeks later, was due to an idiot running a red light. We had the green at the highway intersection and we were going about 50 mph. The other guy ran the red light and I saw him coming. I only had enough time to let out a scream and BAM. He hit us broadside, the impact right in my door. It flung me across the inside of the car and I knocked the rear view mirror off with my head. Again, aside from being battered and bruised, I suffered a few cracked ribs but nothing worse. They said that, had I had my seat belt on, it's likely that I would have been killed or at least very badly hurt.

Ever since then, I have trouble riding in the front passenger seat. I gasp and squeak, pump the "imaginary brake" on the floor, cling to the dash with white knuckles any time we pass close to something on the side of the road or come up on another car quickly. It's frustrating, to say the least. I have no problem at all when driving, however. I guess that's because I know I'm in control.

What I would like to know is how to get rid of these annoying little issues. Dang, now that I read over this again, I sound like a paranoid, neurotic freak. Do you suppose hypnotism or therapy could help? They make me feel foolish every time the rear their ugly little heads. Do you have anything like this going on in your head?


  1. I'm the same way about June bugs. Actually, I'm like that with all bugs, but June bugs are so freaky with their extremely sticky legs... ugh!

  2. I didn't have any trouble being in enclosed spaces until my brother stuffed me in the bottom of a sleeping bag and wouldn't let me out. And, I once watched a movie where a woman was swimming and an evil presence sealed the top of the swimming pool so she drowned, so, no, I never swim alone nor do I dive. You're not alone in your neuroses.

  3. My only phobia that I can think of is a fear of women wearing clothes. I'm deathly afraid of non-naked women, and it is best for everyone if any female undress around me.

    Does anyone believe me? Hello? Anyone? Is that an echo I hear?

  4. when i was little, we lived in a shitty duplex that was full of mice and bugs and all sorts of vermin that my mother tried in vain to rid us of. one night, when i was about seven or so, the neighbor's daughter was babysitting us while my mom was out. for some reason, every gigantic cockroach in the house decided to stampede through it out of the kitchen. everyone went shrieking out of the house, leaving me behind... i had to run through swarms of giant cockroaches (we called them "waterbugs"; they were the big outdoor roaches but for some reason lived in our house)in my stocking feet. horror. trauma. urrgh... i hate bugs to this day. and then there was this time i stepped on a slug in my bare feet... *shudder*

    so, no, i don't think you are a paranoid, nuerotic freak. or if you are, than so am i.

  5. I don't have any real irrational fears. Nothing so traumatic every really happpened to me. I never liked needles so I hate shots or giving blood, but I can live with it.

    Maverick is probably going through what you did. He's already had a couple teeth pulled and a few more are in store next month. However, they will use gas.

  6. man... we sure are talkative aren't we? lol

    The only comment is that I can relate to the cut toe... I have no problems with needles or blood thankfully. In the military I saw tons of it and think it made me impervious or something.

    Anyway, good blog article! as always! ;)

  7. I guess the best way to overcome fears is to determine how rational they are. No one cares for bugs all that much, so just avoiding does seem the best course of business.

    Needles DO hurt so that is not unrational either. just have to go to a happy place emotioanlly when being administered.

    I don't know Celti, some fears are meant to be feared. none of these are unrational or can be confront nor should they be confronted.

    Did you know that Tyra Banks is deathly afraid of dolphins? She actually spent a day at a spa to get herself into her happy place before going to SeaWorld to confront her fear. Yeah, I think she has a few screws loose too.

  8. E-Lo - It's just June Bugs with me...other bugs don't really bother me. Well, except for mosquitos, those farkin' little flying vampires! gah!

    Nanner - Oh shit, that would suck! Damned siblings, anyway. What movie was that!?

    Coyote - ha ha ha ha ha! *snort* You really need to update your profile with the info that you're a nudist. heh

    Sid - Yikes! Definite trauma! Cockroaches suck, that's for sure. Glad I'm not alone. LOL

    Vince - I am better about the needles since going through pregnancy. I just don't look. lol
    Poor Maverick - it's not going to be fun but it is worth it.

    Denny - yeah, so I got windy. lol
    It is getting better the more I get stuck. I don't have any problem with blood, though...doesn't bother me at all.

    Boo - I know they're irrational - that's why they make me feel foolish. Tyra Banks is a freak, and not in a good way. lol

  9. Pete - So do I. :p

    HEP - taaaaacos! Enchilaaaaadas!

    Coyote - sure did. ;p