Phobias are one of those things that I think everyone has - at least one. In my case it's doctors, doctor's offices, medical equipment, nurses, or anything that has to do with messing with my body, short of having a hot stone massage. I find myself either surly, or worse in my opinion, desperately insecure, whenever I have to visit the doctor. My blood pressure rises and I have a hard time sitting still while waiting. And waiting is something you do when visiting the doctor. My phobia even as a name - Iatrophobia - a fear of doctors.
At any rate, I am of the age where one has to have preventative tests. The usual mammogram, blood tests, and colonoscopy. Somehow I have managed to dance around not getting any of these tests for two years. I've had good excuses. At one point we were not sure when our insurance would be canceled from a company that had merged with my husband's company and had a contract to pay our insurance for two years. Unfortunately that company went bankrupt six months after the merge. So for the next year we waited to be canceled. Not a good time to have tests that might preclude being able to get insurance at all. We all know insurance companies would like nothing better than to exclude you from any policy for a pre-existing condition. Our health care is now in corporate hands, not doctors.
The dreaded colonoscopy I've managed to avoid for six years. Each year I visit the doctor and the doctor writes an "order" to have it done. I would put it off and, lucky for me, I would move and then have to start all over again. But now I'm back to my original doctor, the one I had six years ago that first sent me to have it done. I ignored last year's, telling her our insurance had been canceled, which was true, just not at the time she wrote the order. But this year I had absolutely no excuse. I was caught with no way out. I had put it off long enough, and with colon cancer in the family, it was just plain irresponsible.
Phobias are debilitating. They often have absolutely nothing to do with reality, but they keep us from doing things that are in our best interest. And there are many, many different types of phobias, from a phobia of erect penises, Medorthophobia, to gaiety, Cherophobia. You can find a complete list here. Chances are you have a problem with something on the list.
Phobias are treated in a number of ways, some listed here. But I have found from my own experience that using relaxation techniques, combined with actually facing the fear, works well for my phobias. Simply put yourself in a relaxed state and walk through the fear. Do it over and over. In my case, I walked myself through the entire colonoscopy procedure in my mind. I watched myself get up, shower, get dressed, get in the car, etc., all the while feeling relaxed and free of fear. Did it work? Yes. It worked enough to get me there and do what I needed to do without freaking out.
My point is that fear is something that is constructed in the mind, and the mind can help you release the fear. It's more a matter of controlling the thoughts and programming our brains to think the thoughts we want it to be thinking. The body's autonomic nervous system will follow the directions from the brain, and the brain will follow directions from the mind. Does that make any sense?
What about you - any phobias?