Have you ever heard of Typhoid Mary? I believe she is a character from history who got typhoid and was responsible for spreading the disease to many others. One of my biggest fears in life is that I too will be responsible for spreading some kind of an illness. I especially worry about children and the elderly.
In May of 2009, I suspected I had H1N1. It was my college graduation for my associate's degree. Throughout the day of graduation I compulsively checked my temperature for a fever. I even bought more than one thermometer because I wasn't sure that the one I had was accurate. I did go to my graduation, but I became fixated on a pregnant student that sat many, many rows away from me. I was sure that when she shook the hands of the faculty handing out the degrees that she would get H1N1 from me having previously shaken faculty hands a few minutes earlier when I got my degree. That day one of my favorite professors sat down to talk to me and I completely avoided looking at him while we talked because I didn't want to breathe any germs on him. I'm sure he thought that I just didn't want to talk to him.
In the Fall of 2009, I again became convinced that I had H1N1 and I didn't leave my house for over two weeks. I did have the flu, but went to the doctor and got cleared to go out in public. Even so, I got dropped from a college class and lost $900 rather than show up for class and risk infecting others. After two and half weeks, my mother had to drag me to my psychologist's office because I was too afraid to go outside and "expose" everyone. I cannot begin to tell you the agony I was in. In fact, I'm having to hold back the tears right now because I vividly remember the torment of that time. I was certain that I was going to kill some innocent person. My psychologist coaxed me into going out during that terrible time. My mom even made me go to a restaurant after my psychologist appointment. It was really painful, but I started attending events at church again. No one died or even got sick. Sometimes it is really difficult to know whether you are being irresponsible or not. I see lots of people go out with colds and the flu and they don't seem to think anything of it.
Today I have a sore throat. I'm supposed to meet some people at a restaurant in less than an hour from now. I'm scared. But I'm going. I'm going to pray and ask God to help me right now. I'm also going to pray and ask God to help you right now with whatever you are scared of today.