Scared of needles? How about blood tests? Whilst I have never specifically had a fear of needles (I’m strangely fine with vaccinations and the like) I have always had a fear of blood tests. It’s not like I’m hemophobic (have a phobia of blood) either.
I think it’s something to do with the concept of a needle being inserted into the inner of my arm, which is such a sensitive area, that just makes my skin crawl. And it still does to an extent, though after what I went through in my early 20’s (which I’m about to share with you all!) my blood test phobia is now comparable to taking a walk in the park on a beautiful sunny day. That’s probably not a common comparison, but you get the idea.
Anyway, this is my personal story of how I overcame my fear of blood tests.
Thanks for reading!
The final days of my fear of blood tests
I’d just turned 21 and was living with my then boyfriend and his parents in a remote part of England. Let’s just say that things weren’t going so well. I’ve always been a very shy person and considering where I was living on top of that, the result was that I didn’t have many people to talk to. In fact, I spent a lot of time by myself, playing video games and what not, and eventually my isolation brought about severe anxiety. This anxiety manifested itself predominantly through chest pain, nausea, overwhelming bouts of fear, panic and general distress.
Having experienced only mild anxiety in the past, or at least what I now consider to be mild, I was unable to process or control what I was suddenly feeling and as the months passed, my anxiety increased until it reached a point where I could no longer function. I needed help. Immediately. My chest pain at this point was so severe that I thought for certain that I was having a heart attack. A 3 week long heart attack. I had always thought previously that heart attacks were more succinct but anxiety had interfered with my logic and reasoning. A lot.
What followed was my first ever trip to the ER due to anxiety.
Scared of needles no more, Doctors though are another story
Waiting in the ER waiting room was a nightmare. I felt both genuinely concerned for my well-being as well as foolish for being there at all. I was seen by a nurse and her brief questions lead to the assessment of anxiety. Due to my symptom of chest pain however, she felt it best to get checked out properly. I had an ECG, which was normal, and then.. A doctor came to take my blood. If I wasn’t anxious already my anxiety was now through the roof and halfway to the stars.
The moments to follow are largely blurred due to the extreme emotions that I felt at the time, but let’s just say that after 5 attempts by the doctor to locate a vein in my arm and then deciding to force the needle into the back of my hand, also to no avail, I no longer have a fear of blood tests and any remnants of a phobia of needles was long gone. I did however end up with severe under the skin bleeding as well as track marks to rival a hardcore junkie. What a way to overcome fear of needles, right?
I make light of my fear of blood tests now, but it’s only in comparison to what I went through. I was hysterical. Eventually the doctor conceded and a nurse found a vein on her first try. A happy ending!
How about you? If you have your own story about being scared of needles or having a fear of blood tests like me, please feel free to share below!