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Winning the Battle Over Fear

I created this website with minimal help from my techy, husband. For those of you who write code or feel like a computer is an extension of your body, you can't appreciate this accomplishment.

My traumatizing event with computers occured my sophomore year at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. At that time in ancient history, the school bought computer time from companies in Birmingham. I won't reveal the name of the company, but one of it's cruel employees was the perpetrater of the deed that caused years of cringing doubt for me.

I was running an experiment and had 500 items of subject data to enter into the computer. It was late at night, the only time I could reserve. It was my first encounter with The Beast (computer).

Somewhere past the number 100, the screen flashed the message, "You have made your first error."

I stared at the monitor. I wasn't sure what I did wrong at first, but soon discovered the problem. Tired, I accidentally hit the wrong key. I proceeded with dogged determination. Somewhere after the 350 mark, the screen flashed, "You have made your second error."

I rubbed my eyes and felt frustrated. I'd never been chastized by a computer before.

I continued, trying my best to avoid future mistakes. Somewhere between item 450 and 500, the screen flashed the following message. "This is your third error. You are an idiot. Goodbye."

The screen went black and all my entered data was lost. Tears of anger and frustration filled my eyes. I had to start over and didn't finish until well after midnight.

The next morning, after my anger had cooled and reason took over, I called the company and asked for the president. I persisted until I spoke with the man, and told him about my encounter. He aplogized and assured me this would never happen again.

A techy wise guy's idea of funny, resulted in my avoidance of The Beast. When I relented and bought one, every task was filled with dread that I wuld lose the data and all my hard work.

My husband, Bob has eased me past many of these fears. A few simple principles like save often, Google for instructions, and yes, it's okay to ask for help, have eased my fears regarding The Beast. If any of you reading this feel traumatized, avoidance doesn't work. I face The Beast everyday and kiss my monitor.

Shirley B. Garrett, Psy.D

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