This can only be good I think. Normally (should I replace that normally with previously? I probably should. Imagine that done if you would)... So normally, or previously, as you prefer, any appointment that involves leaving the house and going out into the wide, terrifying world is an opportunity to test out my "what's the worst and most humiliating thing that could possibly happen to you in a public place, Don?" muscle. If you suffer from anxiety you probably have one of those muscles.
But I had such an appointment today and I clean plum forgot about it. I wouldn't have gone had my phone not made the really rather unpleasant noise it makes to remind me of appointments. In previous days I would quite likely not have gone even then - "I forgot" would have been excuse enough.
Today though, after a good morning's work, a decent and timely lunch and no lapses in any of my bad behaviours I was able to go.
Me being me, the alarm was set for an hour before the appointment, so there was still a certain amount of time to go through the rituals of leaving before setting out for Thin City centre. Not as much time though, and because I wasn't expecting it I think things were cut short. As the routines of leaving are largely based around repeated visits to the toilet I won't go into details, but things were much better today. There were still addresses to be double and triple checked, Google maps to be examined for the best way to get there, finding a book to read in case I'm early...
And this appointment that would have - but did not - strike such fear into middle-aged man, what the hell was it? Erm, an aromatherapy session that Mag got me for my birthday.
Not massage though. That's a thought that still does rather scare me. As it was, meeting a stranger in a small room with little more than a massage table in it rather raised my heart-rate.
All went fine though. The aromatherapist was very young and not, I think, all that experienced. She also had no idea what I expected from the session. That's OK though. She took thorough notes on my medical history before asking me to sniff a selection of oils and see which ones I liked, which seemed to work for me.
As a result I now have a lovely smelling inhaler containing black pepper, eucalyptus and grapefruit oil, designed to be calming and uplifting. I shall use it and see what effect, if any, it has. It certainly smells very pleasant, and I'm aware that deep breathing has a calming effect in itself.
I'm very open minded about alternative or complementary therapies. This doesn't mean I'm some conspiracy theorist who rejects any prescribed drug. However, I do think there may be more to life than double-blind clinical trials can reveal.
When I was a local newspaper reporter I interviewed a crystal healer. Now, I do think that that is nonsense. I don't think rocks, however pretty, have any healing powers. The woman told me her story, however, of how nursing her husband through a long and painful death from cancer had opened her eyes to this particular therapy. I came away from the interview feeling better in myself. Nothing to do with crystals, I don't think. Rather to do with someone who was very sincere and very dedicated to their own therapy and very committed to doing good - that sort of contact is very rare and very special.
Whether it's placebo or whatever it is, I think my little sniffer will do me good and I'm likely to try to replicate the blend at home. As I'm rather rushing around today I don't really have time to search for research on aromatherapy, but I seem to recall reading good things. I was involved in a small study myself, with a PHD student who was testing aromatherapy in the treatment of depression. It was as a down guinea pig myself that I found that I loved citrusy smells, and that I did find them uplifting.
Expect me to be sniffing for a week then.
If you spent it, thank you for your time. Please leave a comment after the tone.