How I Overcame My Lifelong Fear

It’s time to get personal in the circumstance that I am about to share experiences which have plagued my life since I was just five years of age.  My fear of having my blood drawn (or needles in general), made doctors appointments agonizing (life with Chronic Lyme Disease, means a lot of appointments). The odd reality is, I simply have no concept of what exactly caused this fear.  One day, the mere thought of having a long, thick, sharp needle placed into a small sensitive vein in my arm or hand, made my spine shiver, and left me dreading any possibility of needing my blood drawn.  Sometimes, I would ponder over the appointment weeks in advance, thinking over the way it would feel, reassuring myself it was going to be OK, and reminding myself how irrational I was being (because deep down, I knew I was irrational).  I was so ridiculous at times, I would research certain techniques to make the experience less painful.  Despite all of my efforts, I found myself quite depressed the day of the blood draw.  I would begin panicking over what was about to happen, as the nurse came in with a slight smile and explained that I was next.  I would follow her, hesitantly, and barely sit into the frigid, square chair in the corner of the depressing room.  I watched as she prepared her weapons with little respect.  I began to feel my heart pound out of my chest, my body fill up like an ocean with boiling water, as she moved ever so quickly, wiping the most sensitive part of my arm, roughly with an alcohol pad, which felt like an ice bucket being dumped on all over me.  Then, the cold, tight rubber band was wrapped around my upper arm, signifying that the needle was the next step.  This was the moment I blacked out a few times, other times I would feel sick and an occasion I would make it through, then discuss my success for the next 3 days, watching the red dot on my arm slowly disappear.  It was after one experience where I actually fainted in the parking lot, that I decided this irrational fear, needed to stop, or else it was going to consume my sanity, and make life with Lyme Disease much more difficult (as blood draws are needed quite often).  I made a commitment to myself, to make myself proud, and overcome this fear, and this hurdle.  I began doing some research on needle phobias, to help myself understand what I would be dealing with.  It just so happens, “between 4 and 10 percent of the population has a form of needle phobia that is biological in origin, and that is unrelated to classic phobias.  (In medical environments, the percentage of patients suffering from this genetic type of needle phobia is 3 to 5 percent, but at least twice that number with this genetic condition will never seek medical care under any circumstances)”.  I began testing my fear using various methods, and even watched a friend get their blood drawn, to normalize the situation.  Eventually, it came time for me to have mind drawn again, and again, I began to panic slightly (just slightly since the appointment was not definite).  It was that very fact, that seemed to stop my irrational fear, dead in it’s tracks.  I actually found out the blood draw would be taking place, just 10 minutes before the procedure, leaving me with no time to panic or stress.  With no time to stress myself over what I couldn’t change, I found myself in an odd situation, where all of the details I feared, were unfamiliar concepts to me.  I began to trust the nurse, as my newfound confidence began to unwind.  I knew this was my opportunity; I let myself feel the needle, and once I did I realized it could barely be felt.  The lack of time to panic, led me astray, yet it was the best thing which could happen to me.  I realized just how much my fear suppressed the reality, that my fear was completely irrational, having my blood drawn was not going to kill me, and I was completely capable of what seemed impossible to me.  To those of you struggling with a similar fear, or a fear in general, you ARE NOT your fear.  The mind is very powerful, as it can trick you into believing you are not capable of overcoming your fear.  Confidence will no longer be a foreign concept if you accept reality, push yourself, and eventually surprise yourself.

Much Love,

fullsizeoutput_4c6

Leave a Reply