Do you need a Kleenex? Do you have a cold?
If you spend enough time with me, you will inevitably ask one of the above questions. Why? Because I sniffle–like a lot.
Until recently, I hadn’t looked into why this is the case. After all, this isn’t anywhere near an emergency medical situation. I can breathe fine and my seasonal allergies are treated regularly. But, recently, I began to notice how often people ask about my “cold.” My office is an open floor plan so you can imagine how annoying I must be to my co-workers. Of course, they are too polite to say anything.
I admit that there is another reason I’ve been reluctant to do anything about this condition. Years ago, I had a traumatic experience at an allergist appointment. (Sniff. Sniff.) With very little warning, this jerk – I mean doctor – stuck a scope so far up my nose I thought at one point it was behind my eyeball. I had to lay down in the waiting room afterwards because I was so freaked out and his lack of a bedside manner did not help. So, I haven’t been keen on a return visit to get this resolved.
And then, one day I had a face-to-face appointment with someone I met on LinkedIn to interview for a book I’m working on. It took her less than 5 minutes to hand me a tissue box and inquire about my non-existent cold. First impressions being what they are, this was the last straw.
I called a family friend who is an ENT and made an appointment. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about it. Anxiety is a funny thing. I tried to talk myself off the ledge by spending the entire day convincing myself that after giving birth to 2 children, enduring multiple dental procedures and a colonoscopy, I can handle a scope up my nose. Right?
Anxiety can be a crippling thing, Even for something as minor as this. But, my anxiety teaches me an important lesson that I continue to re-learn. When I empower myself to face the things I once feared, I am better for it in the long run.
And I’m proud of myself because I can honestly say that it was a much better experience this time around and thankfully I didn’t pass out. And although my blood pressure told a different story, I was finally able to relax and take charge.