Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Fainting Goat

Over the Easter weekend, I fainted for the first time. I was at a party celebrating the recent wedding of a dear friend, in a room full of strangers (the bride was the only one I knew), and having a thoroughly delightful time. During the speeches, we all gathered around in a circle and talked about how we knew the happy couple and what we enjoyed about them. It was lovely.
But, as time went on, I got warm. And then very warm. And then hot. As the speeches concluded, I turned to Eric and reached for his hand. He smiled at me and I said, “I am going to need your help.” But evidently, that request only took place in my mind. I didn’t have a chance to get the words out before my vision darkened.
The next thing I remember is lying on the floor with Eric saying to me, “Eryn-Faye, are you with me? Are you with me?” I was a bit annoyed because I felt as though I was being woken up from a very nice dream. Until I realized I was still at the party and there were about 30 people looking anxiously at me. To say that I was dazed and confused is an understatement.
The paramedics came and checked me out, and declared that it seemed to be a simple case of getting over heated while standing for a period of time. (It is also worth pointing out that although I had eaten dinner before the party, I hadn’t had a tremendous amount of food during the day. I was pretty engrossed in reading The Hunger Games and had forgotten to eat. Which is odd, considering the main character of the book is always talking about being hungry. But I digress.)
As I reflect on this mini-adventure, there are two lessons that I think are worth sharing with you – lessons that we can apply to all areas of our lives.
1)   I took too long to acknowledge that I needed help. Here’s the truth: I knew I really wasn’t doing well about 4 minutes before I fainted. I knew I needed to sit down but I wanted to tough it out. I didn’t want to interrupt the speeches by walking though the people to find a seat. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. (In hindsight, this is quite amusing considering how much focus I ended up attracting.) By the time I turned to Eric, I was physically incapable of asking for help, and I was going down.
2)   There are people who choose to be comfortable with discomfort. After I was moved to another room, with the windows open so that I could get some air, there were several people from the party – again, people I didn’t know – who came to check on me. They offered simple expressions – a warm smile, an inquiry on how I was doing, a pat on the shoulder – and yet those expressions were laden with meaning. It is awkward when you are having a fun social event and someone faints, or has a seizure, or something worse. It pushes our buttons. Silently, we are thinking, “What if that could happen to me? What is wrong with her? I would just die if that happened.” It makes us deeply uncomfortable. And yet, there are people who can get past their own discomfort and move in close to extend gifts of kindness, compassion and empathy.
Here’s the take away: Do you need to ask for help in your marriage, your sex life or even just for you? Are you waiting too long, thinking that you can hold out just a bit longer and not draw uncomfortable attention to yourself? Do you need to be asking right now, so that you greatly decrease your odds of ending up on the floor?
Secondly, are you the type of person who comes close to others in times of discomfort, in times of pain, in times of embarrassment?  Are you willing to link arms with that person and say, “Let’s do this together.” Are you prepared, as one person did, to share stories of times when you have been in similar situations?
Here’s what fainting taught me: I need to learn to ask for help faster, but I also need people around me who are comfortable with discomfort.
And I need to be that person to others.

ERYN-FAYE FRANS, Canada's Passion Coach ®

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