Ever since I can remember, I have this uncontrollable fear of needles which has also turned into me fearing hospitals now, too.
On Christmas Day 2013 I was bitten by my parents’ neighbors’ dog right above my lip and on the bottom of my jaw. He bit me one time and ran away and it didn’t even hurt. I didn’t think anything of it until I pulled my hand away from my face and it was covered in my blood. I remember telling my parents over and over and over that I did NOT need to go to the hospital.
However, they made me go to the ER, much to my anxiety’s dismay. I proceeded to cry and sob and make a fool out of myself, especially when my dad finally dragged my ass to the hospital. I locked myself in a bathroom and the staff got a key and brought me out. I told them over and over and over no needles. The doctor and the nurse were both pretty much the biggest jerks I had ever met and kept yelling at me that I would have a hole in my face the rest of my life if I didn’t get stitches.
I convinced them to let me get the glue instead and the surgeon was the biggest asshole about it, telling me that it wasn’t going to heal right. Update: over a year later you can barely see the scar. Surgeon, you were a liar. I don’t expect people to understand or cater to my phobia but don’t yell at me and then act like a dick when I choose the medical option that works best for me.
Anyways… I have a history of passing out when my blood has been taken in the past. So I tell them I am going to get my blood taken this time and then I just don’t even go to the lab. I have cried the past few times I have gone to the doctor and pretty much had an anxiety attack when they start taking my blood pressure. (No needles for that, right?) Why is it so difficult for me?
As a psychology major you would think that I could come up with some plan to make myself be able to get a shot, right? Wrong.
I knew I needed a tetanus shot yesterday when I had my doctors appointment. I began shaking when I parked my car in the garage, even before I went into the hospital. I immediately had to go number two upon entering the building and began to feel extremely nauseous and weak in the lobby. I took precautions against anxiety (lavender pills) and precautions against fainting (gum, orange juice, protein bars) and of course, they didn’t even take my blood pressure before I started to cry.
All I could say over and over was “this is so embarrassing”. I don’t understand it. The PA told me that it was not 100% necessary for me to get my tetanus shot today seeing as I don’t have any cuts or anything and that it was going to be okay but I just kept sobbing.
“I don’t know why this always happens to me.” I told her. I proceeded to then tell her that my roommate jokingly told me that I should take a Xanax so that I would not freak out so much.
She then prescribed me for a Xanax and told me to come back another time to get the shot in the future. I appreciate her patience and understanding very much. I also appreciate her good bedside manner and the fact that she didn’t just yell at me and make it worse. The doctor last christmas got really mad at me when I was anxious about lying down and wanted to sit up instead.
Maybe it’s the lack of control, seeing as I have to let another person do something to me that is terrifying for me. Maybe it’s seeing my own blood, since I can handle when the kids at work are bloody and need a band aid and can handle watching Dexter cut up people on TV. Maybe it’s the pain, although I don’t believe it is now, but it might have been when this phobia developed in my childhood. Maybe it’s the anxiety about knowing that I have fainted in the past. Whatever it is, my anxiety about the hospital is getting worse and it’s getting harder and harder to access medical care because I just don’t want to deal with it.
I am hoping that the Xanax helps but I don’t want to become reliant on that just for basic medical procedures involving needles. I also might want to give birth someday when I am ready to have my own kids and not really sure how that would even happen with how freaked out I get.
What do you have a lot of anxiety about? Does anyone have any experience regarding this kind of anxiety or recommendations for how to deal with it?