If you know anything about me, you know I enjoy talking about mental health - specifically MEN's mental health.
One of the problems we have as men is we are stubborn. We get stuck in our own ways, and we don't like when we have to take advice from someone else when we're pErFecTlY cApAbLe oF dOiNg iT oUrSeLvEs....the thing is, sometimes we're NOT okay on our own.
This is why men don't stop and ask for directions, this is why sometimes men don't see a doctor until it's too late, and this is why men are dying at their own hand at a higher rate than women.
I am constantly preaching about reaching out and asking for help - no matter what - even if it makes you uncomfortable.
You know what's on the other side of fear? Do you? Self worth. Confidence. A sense of accomplishment. Take it from someone who jumps out of airplanes and regularly takes first timers up for skydives. People can be TERRIFIED in the airplane ride up to altitude...then when that door opens...then when we jump....BUT - when we LAND, the sense of pure joy is unmatched.
Fear is temporary. Thinking about it will not make it go away. ACTION will, though.
So how was I practicing what I preach? It's more physical than mental, but it's also both.
Let me explain.
I have a HUGE fear of finger and toenail injuries. Always have. It shakes me to my core and I have been known to pass out cold due to fingernail injuries. This time though, it was a toe injury. THREE YEARS ago.
While doing a workout with a weight sled, I went to move the 100 lb metal sled, and accidentally dropped on my "great toe". Did you know your big toe is called your "GREAT toe"?
Ew. Sorry if you're weird about feet. But I needed a visual.
if you’ve ever dropped something on a mail, you know it can get nasty. I had it “drained” to relieve the pressure but didn’t do anything else.
This was in December if 2017.
So for the past three years, I’ve been putting off going to a doctor our office my fear of having a toenail removed.
Just the thought if it made me lightheaded and dizzy.
Why? Fear. I was afraid of the pain of removing a toenail. I was afraid of not being able to walk. I was afraid of being in pain. I was afraid of the unknown. Fear of the COST (because I have a high deductible).
More time went by...and my foot became more and more uncomfortable. Not to mention the dead toenail looked horrific. It was awful.
Finally decided that I had been putting this off too long. What if it was infected or I had some sort of fungal problem that needed immediate attention!? I mean - I'm pretty sure I'd KNOW if something was horribly awry. I'd rather know for sure that it was okay than just live in blissful ignorance.
So I sucked it up and made an appointment. And you know what? I was still terrified. Even walking into the podiatrist's office and filling out the paperwork...I was terrified.
After sitting down and showing the toe to the doctor, he told me I COULD leave it...treat it with a laser and hope it gets better...Or I could do what he thinks is best and just remove it.
I even tried getting out of it again by asking "so can I make an appointment to get it removed today and just come back for that?"
"Nope - we do it today if you like, it only takes a few minutes."
Sheer. Horror. Here I am, sweaty palms. Elevated heart rate. Slightly blurred vision. I was getting mouth sweats. They're going to REMOVE MY TOENAIL?!
The Doctor was amazingly reassuring and confident in the whole process and assured me WITHOUT A DOUBT that I wouldn't feel anything. Could I trust this complete stranger? I decided to suck it up and let him do it right then and there.
You know what? He was right. And you know what else? I'm glad that I did it. I was a little uneasy still, but I literally just felt a tiny pinch - and it was gone. I felt nothing. He was right! And I was free of the gangly nail that was plaguing my existence.
So I guess we can use it as an analogy that facing your fears and moving forward instead of making up excuses why you SHOULDN'T do something is way better than burying your head in the sand.
Now I sit here writing this blog, wondering what the hell I was so afraid of in the first place? It was uncomfortable and I didn't like it by any means, but pushing through and getting it done knowing I was doing what was best for my body felt AMAZING. Is this what facing your fears is like for everyone? It has to be.
What lies beyond fear? Freedom. Freedom from the fear. And you know what? It feels pretty freaking great. Next time you're afraid of doing something - push through the fear. Ask yourself "what's the absolute worst that can happen...and conversely, what's the absolute BEST that can happen?" I'm willing to bet that the BETTER half will happen and it will give you the confidence you need.
Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Don't be afraid to consult a professional. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and surrender to the unknown.
Trust me, the other side is a party.