Isn’t it interesting what things we are afraid of?  The more time I have, the more I succumb to my fears. Before I went to medical school I thought I had it tough. Once I was immersed in the day to day stress of critical illness, it made being late for work look like a joke. Who cares if someone yelled at me. And for that matter, who gave a crap whether you got an A or B on that test?  Or whether you gained five or ten pounced eating that extra piece of pumpkin pie. None of it seemed to matter.

Once I stepped outside of my own EGO my real concern was in my patients. My real concern was whether I was going to be able reverse the liver damage on that two year old, intubate that premature baby or stop the brain swelling on the 4 month old in the PICU.

I’ve always liked that about medicine. It seemed to put it all into perspective. I knew a psychiatrist who once said that peoples fears and neurosis served a purpose. At some level they benefited from it. I don’t think we’re conscious of what benefit we receive but often when the fear becomes an indulgence and we are suddenly aware of this fact, it falls away.  Here’s an excerpt I read recently.  It’s by the author Abigail Thomas who writes of her experience with her husband following a traumatic brain injury.

Old fears are evaporating, the claustrophobia that crippled me for years is gone. I used to climb the thirteen flights to our apartment because I was terrified of being alone in the elevator. What if it got stuck? What if I never got out? Then there I was one Sunday morning in the hospital, Rich on the eighth floor, the elevator empty. What had for years terrified me now seemed ridiculously easy. I haven’t got time for this, I thought, and got right in. (emphasis placed by me)

– Abigail Thomas “A three Dog Life”

7 thoughts on “Is Your Fear an Indulgence?

  1. Hi Dr. Cason,

    Such an eye-opening post. I love what Abigail shared about her fear of elevators. That’s pretty cool how that happens.

    And yes, you’re right, people often don’t care what kind of car you drive or if you graduated with a high grade point, they want to know if you are going to do your job, and do it well.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..You’re Only As Good As Your Current Post

  2. I’m not sure what to write here.
    My fears get the better of me all the time.
    It was a great post though, very thought provoking.

  3. I love this post. It speaks to me in so many ways on so many levels…
    I wade through my fears often. Sometimes they get the best of me and I am paralyzed. I find it funny what I fear and what I don’t. I fear discussing a large bill with a client, and will avoid it like the plague. But I can hang below a helicopter on a rope and be flown all around with out thinking twice about it.

    Trishs last blog post..A funny thing happened the other day

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