How I Made Anxiety My Bitch
Right. I'm 21 years old, and I've been into body mods in a big way since I was about 13. I have 3 lip piercings (14g circular barbells), my left ear has a 22mm stretched lobe with 2 standard 14g circular barbells in piercings above it, the other ear has a 14mm tunnel, a 10mm glass spiral and 2 14g circular barbells. I have 3 naval piercings and two inner labia piercings. I've retired various lip piercings, nose piercings and 3 different nipple piercings. I tend to play pierce a lot, I have a branding on my forearm and a bunch of tattoos scattered over my body. Now that's out of the way...
I had been wanting an industrial for a while, but for some reason I'd just never gotten around to it. When I did get around to it the first time I was so happy with myself, but it became apparent pretty quickly that the piercing was badly placed and too shallow. It wasn't going to last so I took it out. Then I started to develop a really intense phobia for needles. It started as a sudden lack of comfort with intra-venous needles, which sucked because I used to donate blood as frequently as I could. Then it moved onto all kinds of needles, then into generalised anxiety disorder. I felt like a shadow of the person I used to be, lacking the confidence, independence and self-assured bravado I once had in spades.
I found myself in the middle of the city one day, wandering around Brisbane aimlessly. I had money, I had time and I was feeling defiant, so I decided I was going to get that damn industrial and I was going to do it today. Now! Then I promptly felt a panic attack creeping up on me. Not a good thing when you're by yourself in the middle of a bustling city. So I took deep breaths, drank some water, sat down and took about 0.75mg of Xanax (I have prescription for my anxiety disorder) and about 50mg codeine. Now, I can't say that without adding a disclaimer that you should never mix benzos and opiates, especially without experience with either drug - It's dangerous. But I am experienced with this combo because my panic attacks give me tension headaches and back pain, so I have to do it a lot. I usually refrain from having to take meds to get things done, but I was feeling angry at myself for having gotten into this state, for knowing that it wasn't the pain and it wasn't the 'OooOOh!! A piercing!' factor that was getting me going. I knew the fear was completely irrational and if I didn't conquer it here, now, on my own terms, by myself, I may never have been able to.
I wandered around giving myself a pep-talk until my adrenal system calmed down then I marched myself straight into a reputable piercing studio in the city and said 'I'm here to get an industrial done.'. I kept my cool, fighting the fight-or-flight reflex building inside me for no reason and made small talk with the piercer - A nice girl, mid 20s. We talked about Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as she autoclaved everything and set up the room. I didn't mention it to her, but I think she could tell that this was an important piercing for me.
With everything set up, sterilised and ready to go, I lay down on a dentists chair type of set up covered in disposable paper-towel like seat coverings. she chatted away and apologised for messing up my hair (a joke, my hair is always scruffy) as she marked up my ear. I had a look and agreed with the placement, so now it was go time. I could feel my heart starting to pound at a ridiculous rate, all my senses seeming amplified. Hearing gloves being changed and tools being picked up sounded like the loudest noises in the world to me, so I thought of NoFX and Cramps songs and told myself 'You know this, you are not scared.'. The clamps went on, the pressure felt amazing to me, so full of adrenaline. 'Take a nice deep breath in... And out...' She pierced as I breathed out 'Keep breathing out, all the way out...'. I was ecstatic. The feeling was incredible. The top piercing was done, and I damn well liked it. All the anxiety that had been building up inside me receded into an almost overwhelming relief. It felt more like a burn than anything, so fast, so warm. I felt my entire body relax - I hadn't even realised I was so tensed up. 'You ok?' she asked me. 'I'm fine, that was great.' 'Ok, now the second one, don't worry, it won't hurt.' 'I'm not worried.' 'Awesome' she smiled at me 'So... Deep breath in... And out...' again piercing me on the out breath.
The needle came out, the jewelery went in, the balls went on and... We were done. The piercer asked me how I was feeling and I replied that I felt great. And I did. She cleaned up a small amount of blood (surprisingly small considering my elevated heart rate and blood pressure for most of the procedure) and sprayed some saline solution onto it. That felt amazing. So cold and refreshing on my warm and throbbing cartilage. She gave me an aftercare sheet and went through it, but said she was sure I knew how to take care of piercings. She got me to sit and chat for a little while just to make sure I was ok, I was a bit pale and clammy, but after a couple of minutes it became apparent that I was fine, so I got up, said thank you, paid and left. I swaggered out of there. So proud of myself for conquering, in my own small way, something that was starting to take over my life. It may seem insignificant to someone else, but my industrial is a little reminder to me that I can overcome, and I will.
My aftercare is the usual, I do warm saline soaks every morning and at night I use a small amount of diluted Dettol antibacterial soap, rinse that with saline then flush it with fresh water so as not to dry it out too much or adversely effect the healing fistula. Apart from getting a few bumps in the first few weeks it's been ok. The bumps were mainly from friends either unaware or not used to me having the piercing hugging me. They always felt terrible after, seeing the pained look on my face, hahaha. I started getting a bit of hypertrophic scarring a couple of weeks ago so I've been sure to not get lax with my aftercare and take extra care not to bump it. I switched sides of the bed with my girlfriend to stop myself rolling onto it in my sleep when I go to hug her and the scarring has nearly completely gone. About 2 months in, it's now healing well and feeling fine.
It's an amazing looking piercing, complimenting my other metal nicely, sitting atop my ear and through my cartilage in pride of place, my own little badge of honour, my little reminder of how I beat anxiety. Of how I can, I have, and I always will.
submitted by: Ticket
on: 18 Aug. 2011
in Industrials and Orbitals