I suppose the title of this post is a bit inaccurate. I do have a needle phobia, but it's not just needle phobia either? It goes way, way deeper than just needle phobia. If you follow my other blog, you may have seen my post about my recent tests for Glaucoma, in which I had to have eye drops. Two, tiny drops of liquid into my eyes. I had a panic attack and how I stayed conscious is beyond me. I kid you not. Eye drops.
To say I'm (medically) squeamish is an understatement. Although this hasn't ever impacted on my health before, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time. The blog title is a giveaway. 40 Before 40. How long before something goes wrong? How about potentially having to have eyedrops every day for the rest of my life? You may laugh, you may mock. But just imagine having to face one of your fears every day for the rest of your life? Maybe starting every day of the rest of your life looking down from a tall building or maybe, waking up and having to hold a spider, or a rat, or having to wear a snake necklace or anything that instills genuine fear in you? Oh yeah - and being guaranteed a panic attack every day to boot. Still sound funny? It doesn't to me.
Then the needle issue, specifically the needle issue. The last time I had a needle was the injection to speed up the delivery of my son's placenta. 2006. So I have managed to evade needles for nine and a half years. I have come some way where blood tests are concerned, thanks to my very wonderful midwife who looked after my care for my youngest three, in that I am actually able to have one when I am able to use EMLA cream. If I can look the other way and be distracted, the cream means you don't feel anything, it's almost bearable. I still don't like it, but it's bearable.
Trying to explain to people that don't have this phobia that - for example - if I became diabetic, I honestly didn't think that I would be able to inject myself, or - even be injected by someone else daily. They don't get it. 'You'd have to' - they say. 'I don't have to' - is my response. As ridiculous as that response might seem. I don't have to. I have a choice to, and a choice not to. Unfortunately, choices such as that, are life and death. Most people would choose life, right? I need to be in that bracket too.
So, potentially having to face something that is going to trigger off this phobia on a daily basis, I knew I would have to do something about it. One of my friends is a Psychiatric nurse, and so I sounded her out about it. I told her what had happened at the Optician, that this went way beyond just needles, and she promised that she would have a word with some colleagues of hers and see what they thought.
Long story short, obviously I haven't been assessed yet so it's a 'don't quote me' scenario, but one of her colleagues who is a Psychologist said that it sounded like I had a condition called 'Blood Injury Injection Disorder' rather than a needle phobia. Oh. Em. Gee. I've looked it up. It is an actual condition. It was me to a bloody TEE. Sufferers would refuse vital medical treatment, or refuse to seek help in the first instance, because of the needle issue. Inclusive of people with cancer, diabetes et al. I'm not cracking up. I'm not being silly. I'm not alone in this. And most importantly, it can be... don't want to say 'cured' but it can be treated? So, I have bitten the bullet and in January I am starting a course of CBT to hopefully help me deal with this disorder. I'm not one to shy away from things, if there's a problem, I will at least try and face it head on and deal with it. So, that's what I am doing. I'm really proud of myself, and really rather looking forward to it? I'm not one to be beaten by anything - once I decided that I'm strong enough to face it head on. And come January? BIID, if that is what you are, I'm coming for you. I am gunning for you.