Tuesday, May 11, 2010

when therapists can't help you...


elevators seriously used to make me crazy. from about age 6-12 i'd almost have a panic attack if i had to go in one. due to the fact that my parents were going through a divorce around that time, i was graced with countless hours in a therapists chair. i got to draw lots of pictures of how i felt, and what i wanted my family to look like... and then one day she asked me if there was anything else i would like to talk about. as she likely braced herself for some profound confession of abuse or teary admission of sin, i simply looked at her and said 'elevators.'


'yes, i'm terribly scared to go in elevators. not just like claustrophobic scared, but like i'm almost positive that if i step inside one i will get trapped and it will just so happen to be in the twin towers and airplanes will come crash into them (premonition?)'
so maybe i didn't say it exactly like that, but in my mind that was definitely what was going to happen.

she listened carefully as i told her about all the hysteria surrounding elevators for me. after giving me some line about how its a metaphor for how i feel trapped by my parents separation... she quickly realized that this was the kinda situation that no amount of xanax could help.

soooo like any good psychologist she told me she would have some ideas on how to fix this next time we meet (cuz who the hell teaches you in school how to counsel a 10 yr old kid on overcoming elevator fears-- this was clearly going to take some deep research).

fortunately for me riding in elevators was not part of my daily living. but i tell you what, the day i walked out of her office, i had the utmost confidence that my problem would quickly be solved. that whole week i avoided them at all costs, which wasn't hard cuz growing up in SLO there was like maybe 6 in the whole city.

tuesday rolled around and i took my seat in that stiff wicker chair and awaited my instructions.

...(cue soothing therapist voice) 'so, holly, after what we talked about last week i was thinking it would be a good idea to discuss some solutions to your fear of riding in elevators. (pause for effect) i don't know if you know this, but (drum roll) all elevators have inside them a certificate of inspection. its standard, and once you step inside (hello that's the problem biaatch) you can always read the certificate to insure that it has been properly inspected and cleared for use by a certified elevator inspector. finding this paper in the elevator will allow you to have the peace of mind knowing that nothing will go wrong on your short ride to the second floor (big smile)'

really? is someone really paying you for this? cuz that advice seriously sucked.

the happy ending (no thanks to her) is that i'm now 30 and have overcome my fear of elevators. this may or may not be because i grew up and married a a man who is an engineer, then birthed his son who is apparently wired just like him and has enabled me to spend countless hours in elevators cuz that's pretty much his favorite thing to do. whatever the case, these days there's no elevator to small, shaky or tall for me. i'm happy to say i am more than a conqueror... with no thanks to some shady, wrinkly notice of inspection.

with that said, this week i want to know...

'what fear have you outgrown?'


Mama G said...

oh man. that advice sucked because, seriously, i ALWAYS look at the certificates and, for reals, like 95% of them ARE expired. some by several years.

Team Calamond said...

In my job I walk around in the forest sometimes for days and hours on end. Although I still have a healthy dose of caution, I used to be pretty freaked out walking around alone in mountain lion country, in forests where often times you cant see 50 feet in front of you b/c of the brush. That being said there are still times I freak out, but it is much less after 9 years. Oh and carrying a a side arm over the past 3 years made a big difference.

Team Calamond said...

I forgot to add that in the past 5 years or so there has also been a huge in increase in Mexican and Russian cartel camping out in the forest lands with there illegal marijuana growing operation, and they have dogs as well, not the poodle variety either. That creates a healthy does of fear, but I shall overcome with the grace of God.

Brandon said...

I'm super scared of flesh eating bed maggots.

The Calamond Connection said...

I can't think of a fear I've overcome. I have a crazy irrational fear of lizards and snakes from some encounters as a small child. I hyperventilate if they are too close or touch me and get the "eebie jeebie" shakes if I see them on TV. But I do like spiders and even had a rose-haired tarantula as a classroom pet for a couple of years. And I never have liked elevators b/c I always wonder if my trip up or down is going to be the time that the cables break, even though I know there's a safety mechanism to ensure the boxcar doesn't fall (there is a safety mechanism in place, right?).

The Avilas said...

I would like to say that I have outgrown my fear of the dark but I would be lying. In fact, not to many years ago I was taking the trash outside in the dark. I suddenly felt like someone was chasing me and started to run back towards the home...tripping in the middle of the street...barefoot. Broke my toe.

I still have a long way to go.


going kiwi said...

I am so very afraid of garbage disposals! For the longest time I would not stick my hand in if something was down there. I think it was my brother's trick with his hand down and started sreaming that started it. I actually got shocked once when I turned one on and it freaked me out not mention hurt. So for now even though I hate having to put all food scaps in the trash, I am happy we do not have one in our house. I working on it too.

zaiahbird said...

I was sooo scared of the dark as a kid I actually slept in my parent's bed till i was 8 or 9 (not kidding). They finally kicked me out when I promised I would sleep in my own bed if they got me a glow worm. My light switch was on the opposite side of my room so i would turn the light off and then run to my bed and jump from about 5 feet away because I was afraid there was an arm underneath my bed that was going to grab my ankles. I slept with the tv on all night, every night. I think watching Poltergeist 1,2,and 3 really traumatized me. I'm over it now thanks to jesus. but i still won't look into a mirror in the dark. That freaks me out.

Anonymous said...

sharks...thanks to jaws. who let's their 8 year old watch jaws???

i still haven't outgrown this fear.


Marc said...

Sharks. Just like anonymous. I watched Jaws and was terrified. I don't think I stopped being afraid of sharks...Is fear a form of wisdom?

ParadisoPerDue said...

As a kid I was scared of the dark- that lasted a long time- I used to do what Jess did- run and jump on my bed after I'd turned out the light so no "monsters" could grab my ankles. I also used to sleep with my knees tucked to my chest because I was convinced that there was a den of snakes at the end of my bed under my blanket. I have grown out of those- but what I haven't grown out of are: being terrified of snakes, scared of flying (though I do it anyway and have quiet panic attacks) and an abnormal fear of doctors of all kinds.