Forced Therapy

I should probably point out that I am writing this on a moving bus while being confronted with my absolute gut-wrenching phobia, so bear with me if the old spelling goes a bit haywire.

As many of you know, I’m a bit of an odd fish. This odd fish-ness stretches to my somewhat ridiculous phobia… of balloons.

Yes, I know, nothing to fear from a plastic bag full of air. If they pop, they pop; right?

Ha. If a balloon pops near me, I have been known to faint. If a child is playing with one near me, I hyperventilate until I can’t see anything but black spots.

Nobody ever really believes me until they see it in action: like the time I did a dead faint behind the bar at work mid-shift, or when I go absolutely white and start sweating. It’s a real phobia: I’m not the first or last person to have it. I know full well how ridiculous it is, how irrational… but it wouldn’t be a phobia if it was rational, would it.

I’ve had therapy, it was getting that bad – working in a shopping centre I’m surrounded by the bloody things every weekend. I can cope now, from a distance. I still go dizzy and faint if they pop; but I can at least finish what I’m doing if one comes into my shop – before I have to run and hide, of course.

The reason I’m posting this in such a frenzied panic? I’m bloody cornered. I’m on a packed bus, on the inside, by the window. And two feet away from me, across the aisle and just in front of me so it’s always in the corner of my eye and I can’t escape, is a child playing with a balloon.

And I can’t get out and I can’t get away.

My therapist would tell me to use this as an exercise. I’m just about coping by having my headphones rammed in my ears, Sonata Arctica at absolute top volume, my hand in front of my face. I’m writing about it in the hope that it’ll reduce its impact and I’ll calm down.

But it’s rush hour and this bus is taking forever and

And it just popped, and it’s gone,  and I may have blacked out for a second, but I’ve survived. Apparently concentrating on a blogging ramble does help after all.

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