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?