Are you ready to laugh? Picture me balancing on top of my mattress, my head dodging the dangling light from the ceiling, steam cleaner in hand, pulling the trigger sending puffs of hot steam everywhere. The comforter, pillows and blankets are baking in my car. The smell of Lysol so strong I’m forced to open the windows and let in the Florida heat. Die bugs, die!
So much for the pacifist in me. The cats were hiding they didn’t want another bath or more flea meds, the dog was drying on the lanai, and I was mopping, laundering, bleaching, and vacuuming everything in sight. The next day, I woke up with more red bumps on my shoulder and admitted defeat. I had two choices–call an exterminator or go to the doctor.
I went to the doctor. Lucky for me, I had just had my new patient visit the week before. My friends insisted six years was way to long to go without a check-up. I don’t like appointments and I don’t like taking any kind of medication but the red bumps were on fire and every time the cats or dog scratched, I cringed.
They weren’t very excited to see me. Who would be? Rashes kind of scare people away…even doctors.Turns out I have an unusual case of shingles. Shingles! I’m probably the only person who’s ever wanted to jump for joy upon finding out they have shingles. Hallelujah, there are no bed bugs or fleas in my house! Guess what causes shingles. Stress. The more I worried about bugs the more red bumps appeared. I went home with my bottle of pills more relaxed than I had been in days. I sat at my computer and worked for hours. There were no more imaginary bugs haunting me, turning me into a possessed cleaning woman.
I learned just how powerful imagined fear can be. Had I gone to the doctor when the bumps first appeared and not panicked over the possibility of tiny creatures biting me I would’ve saved myself hours of stress and itching. I must learn to face my real fears directly because if I don’t my mind can fool me into thinking I’m helpless against imaginary monsters.