Tuesday, April 12, 2011

needle anxiety.

over on twitter today, the topic of needle anxiety came up with a few DOC buddies.

some people probably don't know what this is, but i remember it all too well. it can be different for different people (oh gee, sounds like diabetes), as you can see above ... some people have it for certain 'types' of shots, some people had it before but don't know, some people didn't have it until they were diagnosed with diabetes ... and i'm sure there are people who have to take injections for other things (allergies, infertility, hormones, etc etc) who also have this.

but i have diabetes so i'll stick to that subject. basically needle anxiety (by my definition) is fearing the stick of the needle. the pain. i'm sure it varies. it's ALL MENTAL with me.

i went through about a year when my brain took a wrong turn in college and led me down this path of fearing the stick of the needle. i didn't even have to stick the needle in my skin since i had an injector so all i had to do was push two buttons and tah-dah, it 'shot' me.

well, i couldn't do it. something came over me and i was deathly afraid of the pain. i remember one time waiting almost an hour for my roommate to come home from class to do an infusion site change because i needed her to push the buttons for me. i would sit, tense, for that hour, stressing about what if she didn't come straight back to our room ... i would have to push the buttons myself!!

my heart rate would increase, my palms would be sweaty. and then of course, in the instances i HAD to do it myself, after sitting there for what seemed like hours and i finally would push the buttons, there would be no pain and i'd beat myself up over being so scared.

i remember when the fear went away. i was home from college one weekend, and i knew i had a site change coming on a saturday. i knew i would be home and then i could have my parents help. i planned it out. well then, they went out to dinner. and i hadn't asked them to help. so i was sitting at the kitchen table, sweating, taking deep breaths, and finally i told myself, 'THIS IS STUPID. IT DOESN'T HURT. YOU GO THROUGH THIS EVERY THREE DAYS.' and i just pushed the buttons and went on with life.

sometimes that fear acts like it is going to creep up again, and i squash it quickly.

but for a long time, i thought i was the only one with this fear. it's good to know that you're not alone!


  1. I was really surprised to find there are more diabetics out there like me. I don't think I was always afraid of needles, because my mom gave me most of my injections growing up (yeah, she spoiled me). I don't even have problems when I get flu shots or bloodwork - those don't bother me at all (I just can't watch as the needle is pushed in). It's just when I had to push in the needle - then, I was in control of any pain the needle would cause. I also hated trying to give an injection when my hand was shaking; that made the anxiety worse!

    Now that I'm on a pump, it's a lot better. I still get a little anxious, knowing I'm about to push a button that'll send a needle into my skin, but at least I only have to deal with being anxious once every three days compared to twelve times in three days. ;)

    Thanks for blogging about this! Makes me feel SO much better about my little diabetic-related fears. I just thought I was weird for having needle anxiety.

  2. So glad to be a part of the DOC! And I'm really glad to learn I'm not alone in my needle anxiety. IT has gotten so bad my CDE has suggested therapy...and for the record, I can't watch ANYONE get a shot - even on TV. I know I have to work on this. Until then, I'll keep letting my boyfriend help me. :) Thanks again for sharing!