chapter  28
10 Pages

Anxiety

ByDaryl B. Marchant

The above quote might not be word perfect. My prevailing recollection of the underlying meaning was, “You’re a big brave boy, and your five-year-old sister, who is scared of being bitten by the nasty local dog, needs your help.” Never mind that I was only four years old, without dog experience, and apparently on the verge of transforming from the unconditioned response of “no fear of dogs” to the conditioned response of a lifelong trepidation and avoidance of anything remotely canine. Amazing, what was my Mum thinking!? Clearly, she had not been subjected to the usual undergraduate psychology learning theory. A bell isn’t needed to make a dog salivate; a small child on a fool’s errand will do equally well. Nowadays, I don’t necessarily walk to the other side of the street when I see a large dog coming my way; I run (only joking). Seriously though, I have never since felt comfortable around dogs and generally avoid them. I mention the story because it is the first I can remember of experiencing anxiety, and because, even some 45 years later, it is vividly etched in my memory. The adage that psychologists enter psychology in an attempt to better understand themselves certainly resonates for me in that I was a relatively anxious child.