Modest Progress

The photo above features a wrist. It’s my wrist (this only makes it mildly less weird, I know) and the significance lies with the band around it. That band is a milestone. Well, actually it’s a hair tie provided by my therapist. Can it be both? In this case, definitely yes.

How can a hair tie be a milestone, you ask? It’s with the application of it that it becomes so much more than that for which it was designed. You see, in my previously discussed phobias and issues, the subject of my anxiety is hard to pin down. It’s several things masquerading as a needle phobia. Trypanophobia becomes the catch all word for all of the weird stuff that goes on in my brain when I’m exposed to veins, pulse rate, needles or even talk of the three. As part of my treatment, I’m undergoing exposure therapy where I am exposed to the things that make me anxious in a controlled and manageable way. Today we touched on my issues with pulse and blood flow in general and my therapist recommended that I put this band on my wrist and track my anxiety throughout. (The hair tie had started the session on her wrist and I think she caught me looking at it, which prompted the conversation.)

It was tough but I managed it. Although it is kind of weird that it was so tough, given that my opposite wrist was sporting a watch and has done for as many years as I can remember. But that’s the thing with my issue: it’s completely irrational. I know that the things I’m worried about are not really issues, but my brain makes me believe that they are. My brain can be very convincing when it wants to be.

She let me keep the band, under the proviso that I wear it in between our sessions and challenge my anxiety to assail me so that I may battle it back down again. If you’d have asked me last week, I never would have dreamed of putting something like this around my wrist for any period of time. Now, I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I know it is one of the easiest steps on the long climb out of the hole that my phobia has dug for me and that I would be a fool not to take it.

So if you see me and I’m wearing a hair tie around my wrist (despite being quite intentionally bald) there’s your reason. Because progress, however modest, is still progress indeed.

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