John Leonard an audience of one.

About Projects Now Archive

Fear

I write this in the waiting room of my dentists surgery, gripped with fear and quite frankly terrified. I’m about to have a wisdom tooth removed and two fillings.

This post will show both sides of the fear as I am unlikely to have this finished before I am called into the surgery.

Even as I write this on my phone, I’m finding myself distracted and drawn away by other things - my brain is desperately trying not to think of what is coming up next, so I am unwittingly diving off into mental tangents all the time. For example, that series of leaflets over there on charges? Fascinating. Instructions on sneezing safely? Really important. There are a host of wall mounted posters here that are constantly dragging me away.

My relationship with fear is, well, not easily explainable. I have had far worse healthcare treatment in the past that lasted longer and undoubtedly was considerably more painful, but of course I know that after the fact - I remember how bloody scared I was before that started, but a week in it was old hat.

Rationally, I know that this will be exactly the same way. I can’t help, however, imagining all sorts of horror stories that will occur to me in that chair. I find it funny that despite my age and my life experiences, I still manage to be terrified about new things.

It’s the new things that scare me - the new experiences, good or bad. I have had trepidation about the smallest things - meeting new people, taking on new responsibilities - a host of new things that always, without fail, end up to be trivial and not worth the worry.

I am writing this second half of five hundred words several hours after the dentist has finished with me. As I suspected, I was not wracked with pain or had my teeth mangled, so I should be able to face it in the future without concern. The tone of this writing may well have changed from the first part not least because I am now full of painkillers, which have tended to give me a different perspective on life; funny how codeine can do that to you - but that’s a different story.

Have I got a new perspective on fear now? Well, you’d think that I would, having just seen both sides of the coin in a single day. But, sadly, not. I am still well aware that if I were to be put back into the same position I was this morning, even with the knowledge that I have now, I would be just as scared and just as worried. Dealing with fear isn’t something that simply goes away - we are scared for a reason and I’m not one of those people who can simply rationalise it away.

I’ve been scared of treatment before, and that’s for good reason. The fear I experience when contemplating meeting new people or putting my writing on the line for public consumption doesn’t come with such a good reason, but it’s no more easily explained away.