A Story about Facing my Fears and winning!
As I sat in the small windowless room I tried not to look up at the camera pointing down at me…and think of the many eyes upon me…
I’d seen other clients sat in this same chair and watched them fidget nervously…I wanted to remain calm and poised. However I still couldn’t stop myself moving things around the desk in front of me, trying to find their perfect location.
On Wednesday I chose to be a client at my college, the ‘College of Naturopathic Medicine’ in London. As students we have to bring a patient into the clinic to have a consultation with one of the nutritionist lectures.
This is carried out in a room with live feed to the classroom of about 40 students.
Booking a decent appointment slot to fit in with someone’s work life is quite a scramble so I chose to book myself in. I did so for two other reasons; to see what the consultation experience is like for clients and to get some nutritional advice to not only aid my healing, but also increase my knowledge as a student.
I kept glancing round at the door waiting for the practitioner to enter. It was going to be Adam, a very analytical nutritionist, a rigorous follower of scientific journals and research. My kind a guy ;).
Facing my Fears
I wasn’t nervous just because there was a camera – the session wouldn’t be recorded so no fear of any future embarrassment.
I just had this deep fear, of ‘losing it’ especially with what I’ve been going through this past year. I knew that the questions to be asked are pretty exacting covering family medical history, childhood illnesses, operations, digestive issues, diet and of course, lifestyle.
It was the fear of breaking down in tears in front of others whilst openly discussing my medical and family history; the deep rooted fear of public embarrassment.
I’d had a couple of sleepless nights and uncomfortable dreams about making a dick of myself…though I knew I wouldn’t be judged, I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me or look at me in a different way.
People do tend to act differently to you if you mention the C word.
I know that my blinkered approach to stress and my health had been a factor leading me to be in that room that day. Openly discussing my ‘failure’ to look after myself and to be in my current situation, with chronic pain, limited physical movement and to top it all, cancer; who wouldn’t feel emotional having to vocalise all that shit?
I’d even thought about cancelling the day before and running away from the whole thing…but I talked myself round…
The Consultation… Facing my Fears and Winning
Well, I took several deep breaths as Adam began the consultation and decided to focus on the positive outcome I wanted from this experience, to help me fight my fear; to see what the consultation experience is like for clients and to get some nutritional advice to not only aid my healing, but also increase my knowledge as a student.
Adam was a good listener – a major skill we are strongly guided to strengthen – and after a while I found I had lightened up. I got lost in the discussion with him as I explained my symptoms and what I thought were the causes, sharing what I’d learned through my research and studies.
After an hour the consultation was at an end. I actually felt quite relieved to get it all out to someone objective.
I expected to wait around for 40 mins whilst Adam brainstormed my case with the students and came up with my nutrition plan but he actually invited me into the class…
At first, that felt just weird! To be sat there whilst they discussed me?! But I thought, the old Nicky would have been too self-conscious and embarrassed to do that – but the new Nicky isn’t!
I took another deep breath and threw myself into the experience. I held my head up high and introduced myself to the class saying that it probably did feel as weird to them as it did to me to be in the discussion…but let’s get on with it 😉
Relief! I’d Faced My Fears – and Won!
I’m so glad I pushed myself to face my fears and go through with the experience. By focusing on the positive outcome – what I wanted to achieve from the experience, I realised I was able to step back and objectively look at myself as a ‘case’ and even asked the class questions about some of their suggestions. I found the whole experience quite therapeutic.
I came away having connected with some new fellow students, enlightening insight on my diet and ways to improve it, as well as information on supporting my healing.
I also now know what it’s like to be in my future clients’ shoes, to openly discuss things that are emotional triggers and that they may well wish not to vocalise. That can only have helped to increase my empathy and skills as a future naturopathic nutritionist to help others regain their health.
I’m so glad I’ve chosen this path…
I do hope that this story can help you face a fear of an event by focusing on the positive outcome…
Have you had to face the fear of an uncomfortable experience and come through it? Congrats! I’d love to hear about it…Please share below!