Monday, July 20

Facing a Lifetime Fear

Almost 23 years ago I was sitting behind a picnic table with my Aunt at a family picnic. Enjoying my grandparents’ HUGE backyard, we had gathered for some occasion, unknown to me. After helping my plate my dad had gone back inside to eat, leaving me and my Aunt alone in the yard with my grandparents’ dog, Brownie.

As I started eating Brownie jumped up on the bench next to me to check out what I was eating. Not being scared of dogs, I started petting him and turned to look at the dog. Being 2 1/2, my eyes were level with his...

Immediately his demeanor changed - a flash in his eyes let me know that something bad was going to happen. He lunged at me, grabbing the left side of my face, and knocked me to the hard concrete patio. My Aunt jumped up and ran to my aide as Brownie was tearing away my flesh. Shaking his head back and forth before my Aunt could pull him off he had already done serious damage as the rest of my family rushed outside.

My face badly torn and bruised, I was rushed to Henry County hospital where doctors were unsure as to what was needed to help me. After my initial assessment, they called in a plastic surgeon to help put my face back together. The only thing I remember from the surgery is the 37 Lanacain shots that they put in the left side of my face. (if you've never felt Lanacain, it feels like acid until it numbs your skin). Doctors told my parents that my injuries were the same as if a grown man had beaten me in the face while wearing diamond rings.

Since this incident I have had to work on facing two fears: needles and big dogs. For years I would fight doctors when having to get shots or have blood taken, but have been able to deal with that issue. Large dogs still make me uneasy, but I am able to cope... Or so I thought...

Yesterday after church we were heading to the lake when I learned that a family friend was there with his Pit Bull. I, totally unaware that my fear was still so serious, began to have a panic attack. I have always thought that panic attacks were just a way for people to get attention, but after yesterday, I change my mind! I started to shake and cry uncontrollably about the dog... Unable to calm myself down, I had to get pep talks from Brandon and my mom.

After the pump up chats, I was nervous, but ready to face my fear when I learned that the dog and owner had left before we arrived. Relieved, I now know that my phobia of dogs is a real barrier in my life that I must face in order to overcome. I'm amazed that an event that occurred so long ago can still cause so much fear and such a reaction today.

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