(Fear of sharp/pointed objects)
Well, first off, let me introduce myself. My name is David Sheckleman, and I am 6′ 4”. I weigh 215 lbs, have brown hair and green eyes. I am a 38 year old divorced insurance salesman from Kansas City, Missouri with no children. My ex-wife was my high school sweetheart whom I married when I was nineteen years old. We got a divorce two years later because I was going to college and had two jobs. She resented the fact that I was not spending enough time with her and so she left me for a man who had a fairly high position in a bank. Because of this, I refuse to do my banking with that firm. In high school, I played on the football team and was good enough to be considered for a scholarship at Duke University, but in my senior year, I sustained a knee injury that plagues me whenever the weather turns bad. I went to junior college and, after my divorce, put myself through college at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. I got my degree in Business and, with diploma in hand, managed to get a job with a prestigious company.
I’m sorry, what did you say? Oh yes, I make a comfortable living and am seeing a very nice woman, who…
What? Well, I’m not really sure WHY I’m here. I remember that I was talking to my therapist…
I was getting to that, be patient. Anyway, as I was about to say, I was talking to my therapist about a personal problem that I’ve have all of my life. I have a morbid fear of sharp objects.
Yes, sharp objects! It’s a real condition! It doesn’t just relate to things like needles and knives, but just about any sharp object, even a finger pointed at me. You ask, how did I manage to get through school without using a pen or a pencil? Believe me, it was very difficult. I had no problem when it came to doing homework, because I had a typewriter, but when it came to written tests, I had a doctor’s prescription for medication that helped me get through the ordeal. Thank goodness for computers, because without them I don’t know how I would get through my job, you know, filling out forms and so on.
You ask, what caused this condition? That’s a very complicated question because there are several schools of thought on that. The first one states that every person is born with a fear reflex which we inherited from our distant ancestors. It is a survival instinct; you’ve surely heard of the “fight or flight” instinct? Yes, well, that is one explanation. Another is more of an Eastern school of thought that says that any thing which we fear is due to karma. In my case, for instance, my fear of sharp objects may be left over residue from a past life where I was stabbed in a bloody war. I tend to dismiss this sort of thinking. The final thought is that it is from a reenactment from a childhood trauma which I have trouble suppressing.
Yes, well there are two types of therapy that I have gone through to overcome this fear. The first was hypnotherapy. I went to a hypnotherapist for about a year before I decided that he wasn’t really helping me. The second type of therapy involves conditioning. This treatment requires that I sit in a room with a “fear trigger” sitting across the room from me. The conditioning part comes in when the therapist sets something that has positive associations to me next to the fear trigger. Each week the objects are put a little bit closer to me and, because of the proximity of the positive to the negative, my subconscious will gradually associate the fear object with something good.
What? Yes, I guess that you could say that it is like the Pavlov’s dog syndrome, but I don’t get the treat until I overcome my fear completely.
Yes, it is very interesting. I do think that it is having a good effect on me in conquering my fear.
Well, I have been seeing Doctor Wellerman for six months now and I am about a foot away from touching a syringe. Of course, it’s empty. Why would you ask such a question? It’s not a matter of fearing the contents of the syringe, but the syringe itself.
I’m here because Doctor Wellerman asked me to come here.
The window in the cell closed at the precise moment that David Sheckleman convinced himself that Doctor Wellerman had asked him to come visit. Unfortunately for Mr. Sheckleman, there was no therapist named Doctor Wellerman. Mr. Sheckleman had been placed in the asylum after an armed robber had pointed a gun at him and he totally snapped. The robbery had occurred after the robber left Wellerman’s Bank, which poor David Sheckleman was just passing by. It also didn’t help that Wellerman was the name of his ex-wife’s new husband.