Learn how I overcame my fear of needles and helped my husband to do the same. This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions are my own.
25% of adults have a fear of needles.
My husband is a big guy with tattoos all over his arms, and he is afraid of shots. When I accompany him to the doctor’s office, it’s kind of like taking a child who has a fear of needles. Although I’ve taught my own children how to overcome their fears, my husband flinches before a needle ever gets uncapped. I have a network of friends in the healthcare industry, and they see this happen frequently. In fact, when I was working at the hospital, I was surprised by the number of women who were afraid of injections, despite giving birth to a child that same day. It’s such a common fear! Luckily, there are some things we can do to get through that fear.
I used to make fun of my husband before, during, and after he got shots as a form of personal entertainment. You know, what’s a marriage without a little fun banter? Of course, that’s when I thought it was just him. I learned how common the fear of needles is, and life taught me a little lesson, too.
One day, I got a blood clot. After taking oral medication to treat it, I continued to form clots. That’s when I had to start giving myself daily injections, and I was terrified, at first. My husband appreciated the opportunity to make fun of me every time I screamed before I even uncapped the needle. I’m so glad he got to enjoy himself because, before long, I overcame my fear and demolished those clots!
Action is the enemy of anxiety.
I remember when the triplets were younger. One of them had a serious fear of heights. Even sitting on a coach scared him. Eventually, I taught him to climb! When we take action against our fears, we can overcome anxiety. Considering what’s been going on in the world, more people are confronting their fear of needles, especially now that we have the COVID-19 vaccine. So, how can you or someone you know overcome their needle fear? Hack the Vax is an initiative of the Meg Foundation and has tips that are helping people take action! Use this quick and simple tool to build a personalized plan for you!
Everyone can benefit from learning these techniques
Don’t like needles? Well, neither did I, but I learned some techniques to help me along the way because sometimes we just have to get a shot. If you’re not afraid of needles, remember that for some people this is a real fear that prevents them from getting their shot. Don’t make fun of people, not even your husband. I learned my lesson.
For people with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. They benefit a wide range of people—from anyone who doesn’t like needles to those where needles send fear into their heart.
Helping other people through their fears and getting everyone vaccinated is a step toward keeping the whole community safe. (Which kind of makes YOU a superhero. So thank you!) Here are a few of the things that can help:
- Speak up and let the provider know about your fears.
- Find something to focus on before your injection. It can be a person, or a picture, or anything within your immediate sight. Just focus on that one thing.
- Breathe through the process.
- Bring a friend or trusted person, if you can.
- Remember to reward yourself!
Think, plan, and go get your shot without fear, and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous. Together, we can take action and help others!