My horror of needles is so illogical, yet impossible to ignore
August 19, 2017 4:48am CST
For some inexplicable reason I have a real dread of needles or injections. It does not seem to make any difference how many times I experience injections, or even how minor or insignificant they may be. Like most people I have had a fair number of injections over the years, although that has not eased the terror of injections in any way whatsoever. In fact, when I was younger I was a blood donor for many years and despite being very familiar with the system I still had this terrible dread of that needle going into my body. Once the needle is in I am fine, but the anticipation is never good. This has proven to be a real problem recently due to the treatment that I have been undergoing for cancer. Naturally this has involved numerous blood samples and a few injections. Also, every time that I attend for chemotherapy I have a cannula fitted into the rear of my hand, which I find very unpleasant. Right now I am in the middle of a 5 day course of injections into my stomach. To be fair the actual injections are not bad, but I still find it preying on my mind for a couple of hours prior to the injection itself. The whole concept of this makes no sense whatsoever, yet I appear to have no control over this emotion.
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This is something I have never understood...how can a junkie enjoy sticking needles into themselves? I know most of the time it isn't going to really hurt...but I seem to find someone at least once a year that must have missed classes on how to draw blood or give injections.
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Barry, I now feel sick, my legs shake in terror. I have this illogical fear too, I know it's nothing but I cannot think at a needle entering my body and I cannot even look at someone picking a living creature. I will never be able to control this emotion.
@Asylum I do not know, there are things we cannot control. I always say the same for my fear of closed spaces. I try to be logic and I say to myself, the next time I try to enter the cave (or the elevator), there is nothing to fear. When it's the moment I cannot.
• United Kingdom
@Asylum The anti coagulant clinic is the worse place to be taking blood. 90 patients in an hour and a half! Just enough time to say hello and goodbye! They are usually very good their sleeves already rolled up you don't really have time to look at people faces you just see the arm!
• Derry, Northern Ireland
@Asylum I have to close my eyes... except I could not when I had my operations on my eye a couple of years ago, although being told I needed another bubble of gas put into my eye gave me a bit of a panic attack in the consultant's examination room...
• United States
@Asylum The only worse thing is having to give someone else a shot. I was supposed to when my husband was so ill at the last but the only thing I could manage was loading up the syringe for him. I do feel bad I could not conquer my fear. I don't mind them too much, but giving a shot to someone else fills me with horror.
• South Africa
Oh goodness me. Its sounds frightening. I always wondered how people cope with diabetes - needles every day. I dont like injections at all either and I totally sympathise with you. I hope you are doing well - you dont tell us how you are feeling?
• South Africa
Many years back I was a nurse inflicting this terror on others but I learnt the trick of distracting my patients. I would tell them I would teach them the art of deep breathing BEFORE I gave them the injection but in reality I would give them the injections while they were 'practicing' or I would ask another nurse to inspect the patients toe before I gave the injection and then give the injection while they were distracted by this 'inspection'. The injection itself is mostly not painful, just the anticipation of the needle penetrating the skin.
• South Africa
@Asylum Not really - pain is very real in the medical world and my mission was to traumatise the patient as little as possible. For children, I had a 'magic potion' I would rub on the injection site - it was just a little numbing agent - but it often worked. In your case, (if I was still 20!) I would just 'charm' you and while you were thinking of other things - inject you! Thee is a problem with some patients however - they seem to need to feel the fear and the pain in order for the medication to work - this is the case in South Africa with a number of black patients - or they seem to feel cheated if they haven't felt the injection. Good luck with your treatment - try to replace the fear of the needle with some hilarious joke or incident.
Just the thought of needle being injected makes me cringe. Last Monday, I got my injectable vitamin supplement and I told my friend who administered it to tell me when she's about to insert the needle. I couldn't look. Like you I'm ok once the needle is in, but the anticipation...makes me sweat a lot!
I'm sorry to hear that you have to go through all this, and with the fear of needles on top of it. I also have no control over my fears either and it doesn't make any sense. But my fears lie elsewhere. I'm not afraid of the needle at all, I even laugh at the nurses who can't get it right the first time (are you gonna get me all purple again?). My main fear is what will those injections do to my body and mind, and whether the doctor knows what the hell he's doing? I also have fear of socializing, large crowded places, heights, flying, driving etc. So I can understand and sympathize of how you must be feeling right now.
• South Africa
So sad you live with so many fears! I have two main fears - the irrational one is of my roof blowing off and the other is men with knives. I have encountered men with knives so this one is not irrational. I tell my fearful self "Yes this could happen but probably not today and definitely not right now!' - Seems to work.
I definitely know how you feel. I don't fear needles though, but I have extreme fear of heights. I tried many times to remove it by riding roller coasters and others that would make me force down my fear but it went nowhere. I actually feel like it only got worse. There was a time I can't handle going up alone in the third floor of a building using the escalator after those flodding sessions I did to myself.
• Bunbury, Australia
I am sure what you are experiencing is similar to the dread many feel, not always regarding injections but in other areas as well. Fear of elevators, clowns, feathers, spiders - many are illogical in a way but very real to those affected.