Hemophobics are easy to spot in grade school: they’re the ones screaming and crying when the nurse comes around.
They simply cannot stand the sight of blood — their own or anyone else’s. Like most phobics, they experience anxiety, dread and panic at the thought of what they fear. Even worse, hemophobics often faint when they’re face to face with that fear, making them vulnerable to injury, mockery, and – here’s that vicious circle again – bleeding.
If you have an uneasy feeling at the sight of blood, no worries. Just stay away from horror movies – your life will probably be better for it.
But if you run away screaming when your little sister steps on a nail, or you sneak out of the hospital upon hearing the words “blood test,” you have a phobia with potentially dangerous consequences. Unless you want to be known as an unreliable wuss all your life, you should get help in facing this fear.
I suspect that hemophobia is a modern mental illness, flourishing in our lives of comfort. Back in great-great-great-great-grandmother’s time, hemophobics wouldn’t last a day. Life is bloody, from birth to death, and you gotta deal with it. Even in our sanitized industrialized society, blood seeps in every now and then. (Every 28 days or so for half of us.) This is a fear worth slaying.
To overcome your fear of blood, once again it’s exposure therapy to the rescue. Begin with photographs: look at them, then touch them (no, you don’t ever have to taste them). Then expose yourself to a drop of your own blood. (Stay away from other people’s blood. It’s germy.) When you’re okay with that, it’s time to book that backlog of blood tests. Go slow, take a deep breath, and remind yourself of all the awesome things blood does for you – like keep you alive. That’s pretty important stuff.
Don’t take the therapy too far, though. You don’t want to develop a fondness for blood. If you can get to the point of sitting still to donate a pint, you’re a hero compared to most of us. (That’ll take a long time, lots of positive affirmations, and an empathetic nurse.)
If you’re afraid of blood and not afraid to admit it, leave a comment on this blog during Fearless February and maybe you’ll win a copy of 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6.
(Thanks again to FreeDigitalPhotos.net for the free images: the blood cells are by Victor Habbick, and the bloody hand is by Salvatore Vuono.)