My ongoing battle against trypanophobia, Part II

I have my dentist appointment in the morning.

Positive thoughts please, people…


My ongoing battle against trypanophobia

Trypanophobia = a fear of injections.

I have been seeing a hypnotherapist for a couple of months now for my fear of needles. And until now, I’ve been really enjoying the experience. I pay a small sum to lie in a quiet warm room, listening to a soothing voice and taking myself into the most beautiful state of relaxation. I can’t explain how nice it feels when you get right into the light trance state that is induced. Your body feels like it’s going to sink through the bed but your mind floats off, much higher than the room, forgetting that ordinarily the two things are connected. But you have total control over your thoughts and your feelings. And when I leave the building, I’m consumed by an optimism that keeps me feeling positive for several days afterwards. I think I’m a little addicted.

But my session last night was less pleasant. We’re at the stage now where we’re really tackling the bad stuff and, whilst up until now I’ve been progressing really well, I found the session incredibly uncomfortable. When I came round, I realised I had been crying. My hypnotherapist described another person, on a television screen, preparing to give a blood sample. I’ve always known that this would be the hardest part, that this is what I fear the most. Even as I’m typing this, my arms are going dead and I feel sick. I’m acutely aware of the blood pumping through my veins on the inside of my elbows and it almost hurts.

It took us an hour last night for me to even begin to feel comfortable with this situation. It took a good twenty minutes for me to accept the image of a nurse wiping antiseptic on the person’s arm. Before there was any needle involved at all. I can’t even begin to think how long it will take me to get over the idea of it happening to me. I suppose I knew that it would get harder before it would get easier but I’m starting to feel a little frustrated about it. Because, rationally, I know that there is nothing to be scared of. Having a blood sample taken is not pleasant but people do it every day. What’s the problem?

But it makes sense that I should be scared of it. Wikipedia has this to say about phobias:
Phobias are more often than not linked to the amygdala, an area of the brain located behind the pituitary gland in the limbic system. The amygdala secretes hormones that control fear and aggression, and aids in the interpretation of this emotion in the facial expressions of others. When the fear or aggression response is initiated, the amygdala releases hormones into the body to put the human body into an “alert” state, in which they are ready to move, run, fight, etc.”

So, effectively, what my brain is doing is telling me I shouldn’t let someone stick a needle in me and take my blood. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. The horrible bit is that, in my case, this then causes a rapid drop in blood pressure and I either sweat a lot and pass out or just want to throw up.

P.S. Wikipedia also says that treatments such as hypnotherapy are completely ineffective against trypanophobia because they encourage complete relaxation which in turn mimics the drop in blood pressure experienced as a result of the phobia. Fuck.

Binary Confessions

Sometimes your friends can surprise you. It’s not that you don’t believe in them but that you just never stopped to think that they might have a whole lot of talent they didn’t tell you about. A fair few of my school and college friends have turned out to be musicians (we were an artistic bunch) and really great ones at that.

Today, I have been mostly listening to Adam – and the very beautiful ‘Where’s That Smile”.

Happy Social Enterprise Day!

Yes, it is National Social Enterprise Day today. (But you knew that, right?) And for the first time in three years I’m not formally celebrating it, which feels rather strange. In my previous job, almost all my work over a year culminated in the third Thursday of November. And this year…nothing.But I still fundamentally believe in the potential for social enterprises to radically change the way our public services are delivered and to deliver the sort of community regeneration that the statutory sector could only dream of.

So, in honour of the many social enterprises that deliver real benefits to their communities, I would urge you to listen to Tim Smit’s keynote speech to this year’s VOICE, the national social enterprise conference (which I won’t be attending in 2008 – boo!) and feel inspired. Smit is the founder of the Eden Project and enthuses about the whole subject of social enterprise far better than I ever could. It’s 15 minutes long but it’s worth it.

Kate Nash, Anson Rooms, Bristol

So, last night’s Kate Nash gig had something of the sixth form concert about it. Largely because the Anson Rooms looks not unlike a school hall but also because Kate handed out a fanzine at the end of the evening. How great is that? It got me thinking about all those fanzines I used to get when I was a teenager – writing off with a stamped addressed envelope and waiting eagerly for it to be returned in the post. And blogging is the next logical step, I suppose, but when I think about it, it’s just not as satisfying. Even the simplest blog doesn’t have that newspaper print amateurism of a fanzine, the fervent enthusiasm of a teenage music fan.

Kate Nash also has a tendency to act like a petulant stage school pupil (Rob pointed out that she seemed to just play her songs at whatever speed she felt like and her band had to just go with it). But I like that about her, it’s a very appealing quality if you can carry it off. It also helps that she’s got a fantastic voice and some great songs.

Anyway, it was lovely J

As is this. Educational AND charitable. How smug can a person feel all at once?


“I can’t explain to people on the outside how attractive the remorse is. Because it’s real. Because she means it from the bottom of her heart.”

Leigh and I went to see Frantic Assembly’s Stockholm this evening. It told the story of a destructive relationship, always teetering on a knife-edge and threatening to spill over either into the hysteria of an obsessive and all consuming love or into the depths of a cruel and violent bitterness. The protagonists were dragged from their perfectly turned out lives and pinned up against the wall or thrust into ice cold water by their demons who were always there, always threatening. An ever-present jealousy, insecurity, possessiveness, just bubbling underneath the surface.

The physicality of it all was beautiful but disturbing and the design was breathtaking. The honeymoon period was passionate and erotic, the climactic fight/dance scene harrowing and the make-up sex intimate and tender. And you left the theatre knowing that the cycle would continue. Days of perpetual sunlight followed by days of perpetual darkness. And there would be no way for them to get off the carousel – their future was doomed.It is nice to be challenged sometimes.

I always get home and wonder why I don’t go and see things like that more often. Anyway, The Times reviews the play far better than I do.