In early November, I came across a quote that resonated with me; I kept it, I was not sure why. Would I use it in my work, write about it or did it have a message for me personally?

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.    Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)

Then in early December, my not yet two-year-old rescue pup, Sadie, had a medical emergency which required around the clock care. This meant shuttling her between the day vet and the night emergency care clinic. It was gut wrenching to hold this distressed puppy in my arms, with a huge Elizabethan collar to keep her from pulling out her IV Catheter. She wailed the entire ride 15-minute ride between the two locations. In the morning she was, to my relief, in less distress as I transported her back to the day clinic. Late in the afternoon, when I went to pick her up and make the transfer again, I was feeling relieved at her progress, thinking I would drop her off and then, finally get some sleep.

However, there was a glitch at the emergency clinic and they could not take Sadie.

So, I asked, very slowly, “Where is she going?”

“You are going to have to take her home and flush her catheter every three hours.” Ok. Now I need to confess. I have a severe reaction to intravenous needles; I faint.

“Oh, no, no, no, no”, I vehemently responded, beginning to back away.

“You can do this”, the vet reassured me.

Then the tech brought me the syringes, had me insert one into Sadie’s Catheter and press the plunger. “See, not that bad, right?” Wrong, I thought. I hate this. Yet, although queasy, I was still standing.

No choice. No choice. No choice. So, home we went.

Three hours later, light-headed and with shaking hands, I inserted the needle into the IV Catheter and pressed the plunger. That’s when I remembered the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. I just keep thinking, “I am gathering strength, courage and confidence.” Like a mantra, I repeated those words and by the last predawn flushing, my hands were steady and while I am not considering a career in Phlebotomy, I was certainly high on facing my fear.

Now you medical folk who are reading this and thinking, “That is no big deal,” consider this; one person’s skill set is another one’s terror. Every time we step outside our comfort zone, it IS a big deal. The skydiver who is afraid of spiders and confronts one on his own, knows the feeling. Or the performer who is afraid of tunnels and drove through one this year, knows the feeling. Or the recently divorced woman, attending her first party as a single, she knows the feeling, too. All of these seemingly small acts are big when they make us face our fear.

So now, before you begin down the road of what needs improvement in 2018, and creating an overwhelming self-flagellating list of deficits, consider the thing you did this past year that terrified you, that you faced and conquered. Is it a gift to hold; that sense of accomplishment and courage. It will help you face those things that most challenge you. The confidence that comes from facing a fear can go a long way in reducing your discomfort and anxiety and making this New Year a happier, more confident one!

What took you out of your comfort zone and made you face a fear head on?



Copyright 2018 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Addictions counselor in Farmington, Conn. In her 35 years as a therapist, she has worked with individuals and couples, facilitated retreats, support groups and written for many publications. Her Book, From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Women’s Journey through Divorce, won Honorable Mention by the Independent Publishers Association and is available in Paperback and e-book through or where your favorite book outlet.



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