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 Post subject: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:06 am 
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I've always been dreadful around needles and that sort of thing but I think I'm getting worse not better. Yesterday I had an appointment with a consultant about permanent birth control options and just his not very technical description of the procedure had me hot, sweaty and then I clean fainted on the floor. I was so embarrassed in the middle of a hospital full of seriously sick people going through all sorts. Last year I went to a work thing that included a discussion of careers in the health service and I had to make an excuse to leave the room as I was feeling queasy. I can look away if there's something on television but in a situation like yesterday when I needed to concentrate I need some help keeping calm. Does anyone have any tips or tricks to help me? I'm too old for this behavior.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:29 am 
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I don't know if there is an easy way but when I was 14 or so, I was going through a lot of medical tests which means that I was getting blood drawn a lot. I would tense up so bad that they couldn't take it from my arm so the nurse threatened me and told me if I didn't relax that they were going to take blood from behind my knee. I don't know why but I somehow thought that would be a horrible thing and since then, I've been fine and even have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum where I can watch minor medical procedures done on myself and what not. I think I used to just concentrate on my breathing and it'd relax me. I think taking deep breaths and thinking about your breathing can help when you are in a situation like that but I can only speak for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:28 am 
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heh, I went from crying to being able to watch/converse as the needle goes in over a short span of time. it was similar to linanil in that I had a bunch of tests in a short timeframe, so I didn't have much choice.

the deep breathing thing helped me, and changing my attitude to be "this will suck more if I'm not positive", so I decided to own it the best I could. baby steps each time, of course, but I had enough work done that over a month I'd made full strides.

keep at it, stay positive, and remember to breathe :)

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:31 am 
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Efcliz wrote:
I've always been dreadful around needles and that sort of thing but I think I'm getting worse not better. Yesterday I had an appointment with a consultant about permanent birth control options and just his not very technical description of the procedure had me hot, sweaty and then I clean fainted on the floor. I was so embarrassed in the middle of a hospital full of seriously sick people going through all sorts. Last year I went to a work thing that included a discussion of careers in the health service and I had to make an excuse to leave the room as I was feeling queasy. I can look away if there's something on television but in a situation like yesterday when I needed to concentrate I need some help keeping calm. Does anyone have any tips or tricks to help me? I'm too old for this behavior.


One thing would be distraction. I don't know if that would be possible in this situation. I get squeamish too around certain things. It was many years ago, but I fainted once when someone told me about their knee operation and since then I'm worried in such situation that I'll do that again. I don't feel squeamish often because the things that make me feel like this are not in my life anymore. Although I used to have a job where part of the job was showing people around a cancer hospital and one of the rooms we visited had organs with tumors on the table. I was lucky I didn't have to talk about it too much and there were doctors doing that, I always just sat in the back and distracted myself with anything and got through it like that. I can understand your embarrassment, but you're not alone. At the meetings I was at there often was another person or two who felt like I did, but a lot of people act tougher and they might not faint, just feel a bit unwell.

Another thing would be to call it out to the consultant and say it makes you feel unwell sometimes to even discuss it. Maybe there are other ways or other options that are more suitable for you as well.

If it's not a constant at your work I wouldn't even address it. I don't believe in the need to solve complicated things that you hardly come into contact with in your life.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:54 pm 
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O, ugh, you poor thing.

I'm not queasy about needles but I have low blood pressure and sometimes feel a bit like a fainting goat. What has helped me is to focus on my breathing - in four counts, hold four counts, out four counts, hold four counts, repeat until my ears stop ringing. It helped to practice outside of the actual fainting goat situation so it didn't feel weird or forced in the moment, but rather helped me ground myself. That sort of thing might be helpful!

(Huh, looks like other people have suggested deep breathing stuffs. I third it!)


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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:35 pm 
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Efcliz wrote:
I've always been dreadful around needles and that sort of thing but I think I'm getting worse not better. Yesterday I had an appointment with a consultant about permanent birth control options and just his not very technical description of the procedure had me hot, sweaty and then I clean fainted on the floor. I was so embarrassed in the middle of a hospital full of seriously sick people going through all sorts. Last year I went to a work thing that included a discussion of careers in the health service and I had to make an excuse to leave the room as I was feeling queasy. I can look away if there's something on television but in a situation like yesterday when I needed to concentrate I need some help keeping calm. Does anyone have any tips or tricks to help me? I'm too old for this behavior.

I am exactly the same. I have never actually fainted but I recognize the signs that I'm going to faint & lay on the floor or ask to lay on the couch/bed because I am feeling faint so I don't hurt myself if I do faint! It has happened to me at the Dr's, Dentist, Opticians & once in a restaurant!

I think it is due to hyperventilation. If it isn't, it is the same sort symptoms that you get from hyperventilation. There are lots of people who are the same so I try not to get too embarrassed about it. However I do hate that this happens.

Things that help me: I tell the Dr, Dentist etc I am a wuss & that I go faint & woozy very easily. If I feel the sweaty hands, dry mouth starting I sometimes ask the person who is given me all the details to write it down & I check details on line later or take someone with me so they can talk to me about it later. I lay down when I have a blood test, don't look at the needle & stay laid down afterwards for at least 10 minutes. I do yoga breathing, take rescue remedy &, for a distraction, I sometimes go through the Tai Chi form moves in my head.
Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:24 pm 
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Getting insulin-dependent diabetes is a great way to get over a fear of needles. But I don't really recommend it.

I'm squeamish about blood and blood pumping through my body and my pulse and blood pressure and anything where a doctor or nurse is scrutinizing my bodily systems at work. I could elaborate but it might make me feel faint.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:54 pm 
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Efcliz, I'm lacking in the helpful advice department but I just want you to know that you are not alone and I understand completely. When I was a kid, I had to have my blood drawn and my mom told me to sing the ABC's out loud to distract myself. She was quite mortified to discover I continued to use that method the handful of times I've let my blood get drawn since. I also sing the ABC's when I'm getting my blood pressure taken because it freaks me out so much. I am super squeamish about anything related to my internal organs which has vastly limited my birth control options, let alone the permanent ones. I fainted during a working interview at an abortion clinic because I watched someone get their thumb poked for a blood type screen. To echo the wise people that posted before me, repeated exposure seems to be key to overcoming squeamishness. I can say for sure that is the case with overcoming my phobia of dental work, I've had to have so many things done that I just lay back and relax now. I've also been working as a nursing assistant since October, so the daily exposure to bodily fluids and functions has made me more confident than I ever imagined I could be with medical stuff. Anyway, forgive the rambling of this post, but this is something I've struggled with for a long time and have given a great deal of thought to.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:20 pm 
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Jay is the same and first of all, don't feel bad about it or that you are "too old." That's ridiculous. I think just avoid it all as much as possible (no sense in playing the hero when you don't need to) and just accepting that you know you have this (very common!) reaction to squeamish things and communicating that with health professionals when it is necessary. It's not a rarity and they see it all the time! From watching Jay for years I'm really not sure there is a "cure," and when he needs blood drawn or to be around people with IVs and invasive health aids he just needs to mentally prepare for it and accept that he is probably going to feel gross or need to distance himself/remove himself from the situation. When he had to see his dad post-surgery with all sorts of nauseating factors he just left the room when he needed to, sat down, and let everyone around know he might faint even though that was hard for him (but necessary as a 6'4" man falling over cold is something people need to be prepared for).

I get squeamish and panicky about breathing, so the deep breathing cure for anything is utter bullshiitake for me. A focus on breathing when I am panicking leads to an epic self-inquiry into if my breathing is EVER right, and as soon as people start to talk about breathing I am convinced that breathing is absolutely not involuntary and that I will probably die because my breathing is wrong and I'm doing it all wrong. I can't hear people talk about the respiratory system without needing to run away.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:53 pm 
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I'm sure a therapist would have some ideas, CBT or something, maybe.

I have gotten used to shots after getting allergy shots and then reaping the benefits (ZOMG puppies! Not making me sick!), but I go back and forth on blood donation. I guess that is minor, considering its totally a volunteer type thing, but I had been fine with it for a long time and then it totally wasn't. Obviously this is NOT the thread to talk about what clocked me over the edge, but anyway. Eventually I tried again and it has gotten easier, but I still get faintly panicy. Then I get faint, but that is another issue. Anyway, I look away, breathe deep, think about other things and think brave thoughts.

Anyway, good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:33 am 
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I had a lot of medical issues during a certain point in my life and I had lots of needles and IVs. For some reason now, anything involving needles and veins makes me faint. I tell doctors this and I usually ask to look away or lay down if possible when they draw blood. I breath through my nose and out my mouth during the procedures and talk or think about something else. It's weird how it gets worse for some people over time, but I get it! I would tell the doctors and nurses so they know what to expect even in seemingly small situations. Hugs!


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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:12 am 
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Thanks all for your advice and sympathy. I guess during most of these situations (injections, blood taking etc) I can work on finding distractions. I had a blood test last year and told the nurse to keep talking to me, and I was fine, so I think I'd fooled myself into thinking I was reacting better. This was hopefully an unusual situation because I did have to listen carefully because there's a very important decision to be made at the end of it, and I had questions to ask. I think now I now it happens so easily I will definitely tell the professional in advance so at least I feel a bit more in control of the situation.

It's just nice to know there are others who feel similar. My mum and sister are both nurses and I've always felt extra stupid knowing what they deal with all the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:58 pm 
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I am terrified of needles, and pretty bad about blood and ickiness in general. I don't pass out, but I get so panicky that I start hyperventilating and crying. It's embarrassing, but I've never been able to get completely over it. So if I absolutely have to get blood drawn, or a shot or something, I tell the doctor or nurse beforehand that I have a phobia of needles. They usually immediately go get a nurse to hold my hand and talk to me to distract me. They've always been so nice about it. And yeah, having an anxiety attack or passing out is totally no big deal to the medical staff. They have people shitting and screaming and throwing things at them, and a million things worse than crying or fainting. I felt so much better when I figured out that they weren't judging me at all for being scared.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me become less squeamish
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:32 pm 
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haha! You big wuss!!! haha!

Kidding..... I'm seriously wussy too. Yeah I'm a nurse and I don't even blink twice giving a person an injection but if I am at the opposite end of that needle then it is a whole other matter. I used to be so bad that I couldn't give injections. I would seriously avoid even being present in the room when one was being given. Luckily some nurses I worked with picked up on my avoiding the injections and wanted to help me get over it. They took me under their wings and helped me over a matter of months to get over the fear through gradual exposure..... me being in the room, to me giving the injections with them beside me, to them slowly getting further away and out of the room. Now what I love doing is teaching other people how to do them which is massive progress since I used to get incredibly lightheaded and nauseous when there was a mention of someone being due an injection. Now saying that, I had fantastic patients who love being the one that people are taught on.

Now I know that is totally no use for getting over having them done to you and that is a slower process because opportunities for getting needles stuck in you is usually fairly limited if you are in good health. Anytime I have to get bloods or get an injection I am completely honest with them that I don't feel comfortable and generally feel very woozy. Usually admitting it out loud is enough to relax me and if they are any good they will listen to you and do what they can do to make you feel comfortable. If they keep you talking through the whole process it generally makes it easier, mostly because it will distract you. When you are distracted you will relax which will make it go quicker.

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