Sunday, January 23, 2011


I have a crippling and debilitating fear of needles.  This fear has not had a great impact on my life because I have avoided shots and blood tests for a very long time.  However, as I get older, I am experiencing increased anxiety about the "what ifs" in life.  What if I get sick and have to deal with this on a regular basis, what if I avoid important testing because I am afraid of my reaction? 

I recently had a doctor ordered blood test.  I sucked it up, took a day off work and had fiance take me to the clinic.  Prior to this, my last blood test was 5 years ago.  I thought I would be ok.  I thought I might have gotten over the fear.  I thought "hey, I'm more grown up now, I can handle this".  I was dead wrong.  In the past, I have gotten worked up about the needle before entering the office.  This time, I was fine, chatting in the waiting area, following the nurse into the cubicle, sitting down in the chair.  And then I started crying, and feeling sick, and dizzy.  And then, for the first time in my entire life, I passed out.  Completely unconscious.  It. Was. Scary.  To make matters worse, because I passed out, the nurse was unable to finish and had to start over, on the other arm.  It was, easily, one of the worst medical experiences I have had in my life.  In fact, I am starting to feel a little ill while writing this.

Nobody seems to understand how difficult this is to overcome.  I have tried rationalizing: I know it doesn't hurt, I know the tests are necessary to my health and I know that nothing bad is going to happen to me while undergoing the test - telling myself those things doesn't make the anxiety stop.  I have tried deep breathing, I have tried visualization - nothing works. 

Has anyone else out there experienced a debilitating fear?  Have you had to deal with the "helpful" people who give advice like "just look away" (to which I think - OH MY GOD! I never thought about turning away! You have just solved ALL my problems!).  Have you found a way to conquer your fear?  I have gotten so desperate that I have considered seeing a therapist or hypnotist but don't know if anyone has found either of those options helpful.  Is there anyone out there who understands what I am going through?


Anonymous said...

If you figure it out, please let me know. I have a debilitating fear of flying. Last year I had to fly ALONE and freaked out for a month and had massive panic attacks on the way to the airport, in mid air then again on the way home. Before my trip...The Husband said "just take a valium." Dontcha love that one?! Sure! How about you take a valium then I'll stick a big pole up your ass. What? don't you think that valium will have relaxed you?

Diandra said...

If looking away doesn't help, try looking at it? Sorry, I don't know anything else... I was afraid of needles until I forced myself to breathe deep and observe the complete procedure... (these days I like flaunting my bruises at the nurses the next day when coming to get my results, because they feel so sorry for me while I don't care...)

Judith said...

I have a phobia about Doctors! No matter why I'm going to see them.... I panic, my blood pressure and heartbeat speed up, I get almost frantic. And it doesn't matter what kind of visit it is... they call it "white coat syndrom", but the doc doesn't even need to wear a white coat!!! I sometimes panic and worry for days before a simple ear infection appointment! I've tried everything, and nothing stops it, so I just inform the doc, and let it go. funny thing is that my best friends hubby is a Dr. and the same thing happens if I go visit her, and he's home!!! I keep my visits to when he's at work or away....even though I think he's the greatest... he's still a Dr.

CousinLinda said...

I have a non-medical-related phobia that I can't even really write about in this comment. I also have a degree in psychology, and I know from THAT that the results of therapy are limited at best. You can go to literally YEARS of therapy, and you might or might not be able to "fix" your phobia.

(Don't know about the hypnosis--I've never looked into it.)

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