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Gore and Fainting: How do I Fix It?

Joshua the Writer

Very Nerdy Guy, Any Pronouns
V.I.P Member
I have a fainting problem. Mostly when gore comes into play. Sure, I may also do that same thing when I am under extreme sensory overload, but the gore is the primary concern for me right now since it is a much more frequently-occurring problem.

For example, when I was eating dinner at a restaurant with my Mom, Dad, and Sister, I was tuning out and just looking around at the scenery and the restaurant as a whole. My Mom and Dad were talking about my grandfather's (Dad's Dad) kidney transplant. This made sense because my Mom is the one giving my grandfather the kidney. I was tuning out for the most part of the conversation, but then they got to if a certain gland on the kidney is going to be removed or not. That is when I got bored of looking about the interior design of the restaurant and started to notice what my Mom and Dad were saying. That's when the problem started.

My Mom Googled a diagram of the parts of the kidney, and I got a glimpse of the image. Since they were talking about removing the kidney, and I saw a diagram of a kidney, my mind filled in all of the graphic details. I then started to feel dizzy. I just rested my head on the table so I don't fall on the floor after turning into dead weight after fainting.

I asked my sister for her lemonade since my root beer wouldn't have enough water content that I would need to not faint. She didn't mind. The restaurant offered free refills at any time. Even then, I got very close to fainting. Then my stomach started to feel weird. It was such a weird, anxious feeling that I can't describe it in any way other than just "weird." The sound got louder and the voices from people talking in the background grew faster. My vision was going dark, and I started sweating a TON, so I took off my jacket. My ears started ringing.

I was luckily able to snap out of it then. But, I am not always able to snap out of fainting. I have told my family to downplay any discussions that can get graphic when they talk about that stuff in front of me. I have played Dungeons and Dragons both with a group of friends, along with a separate campaign with my Mom, Dad, me, and Aunt playing, and my sister as DM. She often downplays descriptions of injuries and also how well enemies and my friend's and family's characters are doing in terms of physical well-being so I don't faint. She does ask me if something is a bit much for me so she can learn my limits, though.

I want this to stop being as much as a problem at all. I'm fine with blood in games, but with exceptions. I can't even watch gameplay of Mortal Kombat without fainting because the Fatalities have a very fitting name. If anything gets mutilated, it either has to be a non-human creature or a non-domestic animal. I am fine with Doom gameplay, since all of the enemies are demonic creatures or possessed humans that no longer look like humans. I am fine with zombies being destroyed, gored, shot up, sliced n' diced, and mutilated, also. I wouldn't play Resident Evil 7 because there is one quick time action where the main character's hand gets impaled with a knife. He also gets injured in many other ways in cut-scenes, also.

I also can't handle detailed descriptions of the Crucifixion in Church, either.

I am also immune to descriptions of blood and gore as long as the come from me, no matter what circumstance, mostly because I expect it.
 
I really don't know how to "fix" a problem like that other then to avoid it as much as possible. I know the way to treat most phobias and fears is to gradually desensitize yourself to it, but if you literally faint instead of just getting frightened or squeamish...
A good therapist could help, if there actually is such a thing as a "good" one. I wouldn't know.
 
Think Friedrich Nietzsche: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

That with consistent and increased exposure to such things over time, you might subsequently overcome such weaknesses. Considering it as your own chosen brand of cognitive behavioral therapy. Whether pursued through a medical professional or not.

Strange to think that when I was your age, so many such things were simply considered to be "taboo" in mainstream media. For better or worse, presently we live in very different times in this respect.

By the time I went to college and was inadvertently exposed to things like homicide investigation textbooks of my peers, whatever revulsion I may have had in seeing such things disappeared. Odd to think such things are not far removed from so many special effects we may see in movies and television these days.

Though personally I think it's good for someone to at least have the perspective of being able to differentiate fictional representations of such things from the real thing. If anything, I suppose morbid curiosity helped me overcome such things.
 
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I used to be like that, but luckily not any more. At high school once, they showed us a video where someone was getting an injection close up, and I fainted. I woke to find myself outside the room just dumped unceremoniously in the corridor :( This was one reason why I didn't continue with biology, because you had to disect frogs or other small animals, and I was worried that this might happen again.

Now, I can watch quite graphic close-up medical procedures without any problem on TV - I don't know how I would cope with actually being there and seeing it, though.
 
I think your reaction wasn’t that extreme really. They were talking about surgery details, that your grandfather and mother will be going through, during a meal! That would be enough to make anyone squeamish! For goodness sake, can’t they talk about the details when you aren’t practically trapped at the table in some stupid restaurant?
I would discuss it with them now, about your limits and comfort level because these discussions will get more gruesome after the actual surgery.
 
I've had a couple experiences where I've fainted: The first was in a high school class in which they showed the liver of a baby that was swollen to 5x it's normal size due to alcohol use while the mother was pregnant - this was one of the events that contributed in my journey to atheism - the idea of the event conflicted with my worldview so much that I had a blue screen moment - hit my head on the desk twice on my way to the floor(first forward then back to the desk behind me) because of massive twitching, resulting in a mild concussion - my first concussion in fact.

It wasn't so much the gore as the shock to my world view that caused me to faint, at the time I believed in a do good things good will happen to you far too much - this shattered that vision of morality irrevocably.

The guest speaker to the class said that this was a fairly common thing to happen. Still haven't figured out an easy way to explain that blue screen causing thought process.
 
It's "funny" since at school we were forced to take pigs eyes apart and forced to see movies where pretty horrid stuff was done to animals on camera. And here, they make a really big fuzz about skipping the smallest part of what was planned.
 
That doesn't seem like something to fix to me, but maybe I'm biased because I'm also deeply affected by such things.

But I think everyone else is a sociopath for not being affected, and I'm the one in the right. :)
 
It's not a bad idea to recognize what kind of conversation or images might lead to a fainting spell and remove yourself from the situation immediately. I still believe there are certain topics that should not be discussed during meals or while someone is eating. The imagery is a serious turn-off.

I have to block my eyes, or turn my head away when movies show graphic scenes of mutilation or anything torturous. I don't know why, but it is a recent phenomenon. I can't explain why it bothers me - it's just a movie. If I know something physically vile is coming, I have to turn away. I think you are right to ask the people discussing operations and organs to save it for later when you are not around. Your reaction to the discussion might be extreme, but not necessarily inappropriate or abnormal. This stuff bothers you, so you can take all the necessary precautions to avoid the reactions.
 
I think your reaction wasn’t that extreme really. They were talking about surgery details, that your grandfather and mother will be going through, during a meal! That would be enough to make anyone squeamish! For goodness sake, can’t they talk about the details when you aren’t practically trapped at the table in some stupid restaurant?
I would discuss it with them now, about your limits and comfort level because these discussions will get more gruesome after the actual surgery.
Yeah, probably. But the didn't go into the exact procedure. What I imagined happening probably isn't the right/realistic way surgeons would remove a kidney.
 
That doesn't seem like something to fix to me, but maybe I'm biased because I'm also deeply affected by such things.

But I think everyone else is a sociopath for not being affected, and I'm the one in the right. :)
Not really. Surgeons are completely fine with exposing themselves to a ton of other people's blood in order to help them. Sociopaths don't care about anything other than themselves.
 
I really don't know how to "fix" a problem like that other then to avoid it as much as possible. I know the way to treat most phobias and fears is to gradually desensitize yourself to it, but if you literally faint instead of just getting frightened or squeamish...
A good therapist could help, if there actually is such a thing as a "good" one. I wouldn't know.
Yeah. My therapist is great, so she could help.
 
It's interesting to see how varied responses to this sort of thing are. Not just from one person to the next, but even just within a single person, the response to "gore" can vary wildly.

Me, I grew up with alot of violent games and stuff. I played things like Mortal Kombat (the old ones). Watched often-violent anime, some of which was big on gross-out gore (that was a fairly popular concept back then for who knows what reason). Some of it could be a bit intense at times, but I dealt with it well enough, particularly considering that I was a kid at the time.

These days, it usually doesnt bug me much at all... I'm not fazed easily. I somewhat recently looked up something called a "teratoma" to see what it is. As a disclaimer: DO NOT Google that. I swear, you'll regret it immediately. MOST people would. Even the mere description of what that word means is more than enough to set off some people, but I've seen photos and videos of that unholy nightmare. And still... nothing. Plenty of others would be running for the hills after seeing that, or they'd pass out or something. But yeah, i've gotten used to stuff like that... it doesnt bother me. I mean, I certainly found the thing to be.... alarming... but nothing I couldnt handle.

But then there's OTHER stuff. Stuff that isnt even quite as blatant. And those things might set me off.

Like, I was watching a more recent anime a week or so ago... cant remember the name of it, I havent finished it yet though. And there's a scene in which the main character has been captured, and one of the villains has him strapped to a chair, ready for torture. Now, this isnt exactly unusual... that exact type of scene is done OFTEN in media... I suspect it's seen as a good way to establish just how horrible or insane the villain truly is. A super common trope in any media, really, not just anime/movies/TV. Chances are, we've all seen that sort of thing before... it's a bit overdone, really. So I figure, okay, this could get brutal, but I've seen worse. The villain then pulls out a needle... okay, still not that unusual. A totally normal-looking needle, even if it is obviously intended to be used for evil. And then he described, in a single sentence, what the needle was specifically to be used for.

I wont repeat it here. But I'll put it this way: I had to pause and walk away. I *knew* they werent actually going to show it happening... anime can be pretty gory at times, but more recent series tend to veer away from that... they'll usually have the seriously awful stuff happen offscreen and maybe you'll hear the character scream or something (and indeed, I was right, that's exactly how they ended up doing it). But that didnt matter: The idea of what he was going to do was so utterly repulsive to me that even just that brief description was too much.

So here I am, someone that can look at blatant horrors without trouble, or handle accidentally landing on the surgery channel on TV (yes, such a thing exists, and yes, I ran into it very randomly more than a few times... I tell ya, it's a bit of a leap to go from reruns of Looney Tunes to.... that), and then the mere IDEA of this other thing is too far. Even though... if they HAD shown it... pretty much no blood would have been involved, yet it was STILL that freaking bad. Though if they really had shown it onscreen I probably would have followed up by trying to perform an exorcism on the computer afterwards.

Yet there are some people out there that arent fazed by *anything*, even without training to help them get there. And then others that are bothered by EVERYTHING, even things that would make most people go "...Seriously? THAT bothers you?".

It's definitely not just a spectrum thing, at least. You dont need to be on the spectrum whatsoever to be highly sensitive to this sort of thing. It's just a funky part of our psychology, that's all.
 
sometimes the best torture is the idea of what is to come rather than the reality. Deprivation and neglect have done more for the intelligence agencies than any torture programs.

In myself I've seen that it isn't so much as the sight of surgery of the like that gets to me it has more to do with the concepts involved.

For example the kid with the liver swollen to 5x the normal size didn't have anything to do with the fact that it was swollen that big or that surgery was needed or even the details there in, It was the realization of the life changes the kid would have to live with in order to survive

It's not Gore it's the Kid's Life situation all of which is no fault of his or her own.
 
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