The wave of black hits me- hard. I try to talk myself out of it and not get anxious, but I keep passing out. I tense up, and my heart starts racing. The doctors call it vasovagal; a condition where the sight of blood or any other injury affects me. My heart rate and and nervousness inflates. Only my close friends know about this. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone else. Everytime my parents would laugh about it over a dinner with friends, I cringed in shame.
Brianna was the first friend of mine to find out. We were six and on our way to a soccer game. My mom took out my newly pierced earrings, bleeding, red, and sore. My mom showed me the blood on the stud. I said, “Mom, I don't feel so well”. I remember my heart racing, I got dizzy, sweaty and all of a sudden I saw nothing. I didn’t know what had happened except I woke up to a man yelling, “Do you want me to call an ambulance?”. Because my mom was a nurse, she said no. Instead, she tossed water over my head. I woke up. I felt as if I was lying in my bed and a bad dream had awakened me. Sadly, I traumatized Brianna. We never talked about it after as I shut down any mention of that day.
The next incident was with my lifelong friend Emma. We were, ironically, leaving the doctor's office and celebrating with ice cream. I got a finger prick and took the Band-aid off and there was blood on the patch. Emma said, “Wow, that’s a lot of blood”. I said, “Mom, I don’t feel so well”. I slouched over the seatbelt, unconscious. My mom pulled over the car to revive me. I was always very comfortable around Emma because I knew her since I was 3 years old. We laughed about it together but never with anyone else.
Any slight mention of watching bloody videos, studying the human body would keep my up the night before, worrying that I would have to leave and everyone would know or worse, I would pass out in front of everyone. Moving into high school, it was an obstacle I had to face. I felt that I was the only person with something embarrassing and different to hide. I would wish it away and say it was the worst thing about me.
Finally, I embraced my condition. I made it into a joke. I walked out of the movie theater during a shark attack movie, I have said I would participate in the blood drive, but I will go unconscious. It has become a part of me and who I am. I am unique and it shapes my interests. Instead of watching Grey’s Anatomy, I listen to music and instead of dissecting animals in AP Biology, I work out quadratic equations in advanced math classes. Instead of worrying about what my classmates think of my vasovagal, I accept it. I can ace my calculus homework while they study blood types and genetic mutations.