I am terrified of the dark.
As a young child to HS senior, checking my closet, under my bed, and sleeping with a hall light was part of my nightly routine. I got so much braver about the dark during my college days; it was awesome!
A little over a year into being married, we were robbed in the middle of the night. I woke up to loud yelling, a slick black-gloved hand holding a gun, and the other hand shining a flashlight. It was exactly like the movies, but worse.
I was paralyzed!
We had no phone in the room, and my subtle nudges and delicate whispering didn’t wake my husband. After that event, the fear of the dark came back even more potent. I was afraid of going to sleep in my own home.
Fast forward a few years to when my husband was in PA school. I had an 18-month-old and a 3-week old, both getting up in the middle of the night to eat. My husband’s OBGYN rotation was reassigned last minute. He would be 5 hours away in a small town for eight weeks. Meaning, I would be home alone, at night, in the dark, with two babies waking me up, forcing me to walk through a dark empty house, make bottles and say up feeding them while my mind tells me a horrendous story about every sound I hear.
I was honestly afraid that before my husband came back after the eight weeks, I would be admitted into a psych ward. I mean, one can only go so many nights without sleep while caring for two babies that need your attention before you snap. I was sacred and full of panic and tears, and I had five days to figure it out.
I didn’t think getting over my fear overnight (no pun intended) was possible, so I had to ask myself, what else could I do.
I used my fear to take massive action.
I went to the doctor on Monday morning, told her the situation, and was prescribed some heavy sleeping pill. Um yeah, that’s not going to work. I have two babies that are waking up a few times a night and no other adult in the house. A sleeping pill wasn’t the answer.
On Tuesday, I starting calling every single OBGYN in the local area.
You guys… I made cold calls!! I told them I was representing St. Francis University (my husband’s school) and that I was looking to place a male PA student for an 8-week clinical rotation. I talked to so many clinics and left so many messages.
On Thursday morning, I made the golden call. I found a Medical provider willing to take my husband on as a PA student. This good news for me was good news for the university because placing male students with male providers was challenging, and I secured a spot.
When my husband’s school found out what I did, they were in disbelief, a bit shocked, and very excited. They said three things to my husband.
- Your wife is brave (little did they know why I was calling)
- Please don’t mess this rotation up; we need a male medical provider in OBGYN
- Don’t tell any other students what your wife did and tell her not to do it again.
My fear was so real, but I didn’t let it stop me from taking control of my life. This fear drove me to make cold calls as a university repressive to create a different outcome.
Fear can either hold you back or propel you forward.
I can’t say that I’ve faced all my fears this way, head-on, and completely brave, but I have learned from this experience.
We have all the power to create the life we want to live.
Yes, I could have decided to get over the fear, stop being scared of the dark, “man up,” so to speak. But you know what? I DID “man up,” it just looked different than maybe the “typical” path one would assume or suggest I take to solve this problem.
How we approach our life, how we tackle our fears will look differently for everyone. There’s no right or wrong way to face fear.
The best way to handle fear is to ask yourself questions.
> How can I not let this fear keep me stuck?
> How can I creatively move forward even with this fear around?
> Is there another way to create the life I desire even if I am sacred of ________ (fill in the blank)
> Is it possible to move past it, work through it, and declare it something that’s not going to stop me?
> How can I get rid of this fear while working towards my goal?
I know you’re dying to know, so here’s the rest of the story.
– I am not currently scared of the dark, like not at all. I know it’s very situational for me, If a neighbor was robbed or a child was heaven forbid taken from our neighborhood, the fear would again become very real.
– Yes, we were robbed in the middle of the night. A neighbor had reported a car with suspicious activity at about 1 am. When the same neighbor got up about 5 am to head to work, they saw the same suspicious vehicle and called the Police. While they were talking with the Police, the group of men robbing my home left with our car, full of the things they had taken from our house. Our neighbor attempted to run in the pouring rain to catch the men!
– The gun, the flashlight, that was the Police. The robbers had left all the doors in our home completely wide open. I initially woke to yelling, but didn’t know what it was at the time. It was the Mesa Police yelling and knocking at the front door to announce themselves. They didn’t think it was possible to sleep through something like that, so they assumed no one was home. The gun and flashlight appeared in my room three different times. The first time they were checking the home and saw us. The second time was them making sure that they really saw people and that we weren’t dead. The third time they yell, “this is the Mesa Police. You’ve been robbed. Get up and meet me us in the kitchen.”
– My husband knocked the socks off of that provider, and several other students were able to have the option for a local rotation. Also, my husband was the valedictorian of his PA school. Not relevant, but I’m still pretty dang proud of him, even if he had left the garage door open that night, giving the robbers full, easy access to our home.
Write down your fears.
Write down what’s holding you back and then ask yourself the questions above.
Fear can be part of our life, but it doesn’t have to stop us from creating the life we want.