In the craze of motherhood, my mom offered to schedule me a vitamin B shot. I am always tired, so I immediately said, “Sure! I’ll try anything.” Unfortunately, I completely forgot about my blood-injury-injection phobia until right before the appointment. My mom had worked really hard to find me an appointment that worked with my schedule, and I didn’t want to cancel something she had been kind enough to set up.
I hop in the car and head to my appointment, where the anxiety continues to just ramp up. I walk through the door, fill out the paperwork, and take my seat. I notice I’m clutching my purse around my middle, and I’m completely silent. I’m normally a pretty gregarious person, making friends wherever I go, but I wasn’t making a peep. For me, this is a bad sign. Silence for me almost always means I’m a total hot mess on the inside, which can sometimes be hard for me to identify, since I’m an intellectualizer and an internalizer. This means I could be completely losing my mind, but I don’t recognize it and neither would you.
Once I realize I have a storm brewing inside of me, I also realize I need to tell the nurse about my tiny, little phobia that may result in me passing out or vomiting. She calls my name, and I follow her into the room. I sit in a very non-medical looking black chair. I’m not sure if this makes me more relaxed or more uncomfortable.
I explain to her my little situation, and she says not to worry. I try to maintain a conversation while she swabs my arm and sticks me. For those of you who also share this phobia, sometimes the alcohol cotton swab is the worst because you know what is coming. I start sweating profusely, and I tell her, “I’m starting to sweat a lot. This is isn’t good.” She finishes up and offers me water and an ice pack, which momentarily help, but it’s not enough. The nausea intensifies, and the darkness begins to creeps in. I’m about 5 seconds away from fainting or throwing up. In a desperate attempt to hold on to my consciousness, I ask if the very comfortable non-medical-chair lies flat. She responds, “Absolutely,” and pushes the chair into a horizontal position.
Once I’m lying back, I’m almost instantly ok. I let out a huge exhale and smile,”Woo! I think we’re ok.” We chit chat for a couple of minutes. She rights the chair, and I slowly, but successfully, stand up. “I think next time, we need to start with me lying down.” She says no problem, and I was on my way.
Once in the car, I reflected on my experience. After three kids and two c-sections, I thought I had conquered my phobia. I can pretty much give blood now, no problem, but I am always lying down for it. I didn’t realize how much that helped me accomplish the goal of not freaking out. I guess I’m not as far along on my journey of being phobia free, as I thought I was, but that’s ok. It’s ok to be a hot mess sometimes, and I can be kind to myself about it.
Do you have something in your life you thought you had overcome, only to realize there is actually quite a bit more room for growth?