Put needle phobia into the past and forget it

The rollout of the new vaccine to the whole country is wonderful news.  But if the very thought of an injection fills you with terror, not such good news for you. Of course, you want to be protected, you want and need to be safe from catching Covid. But if you can’t face the jab, what a terrible dilemma. The anxiety of believing you just can’t do something, even though you must, is going to make anyone start worrying.  And that is what I am finding. With months to go before they get invited for vaccination, some people have started to work with me, to get this dreadful fear sorted.

None of us likes injections. It’s not surprising. Sharp things cause pain, so it's right to be cautious. Needle phobia may seem irrational, but the fear is very real. Try out these tips and suggestions, and if you want a bit more support, get in touch with me. Online therapy is confidential, effective and safe.

About 10% of the adult population has a serious fear of injections, so medics find it helpful if you let them know. They have helpful ideas so you can get done and out in no time. Here are some tried and tested approaches. If you want a bit more support, then contact me. Research shows that hypnosis speeds therapy along. Hypnosis also permits very creative solutions, allowing you to transform your experience of inoculation in ways that seem more like "dream logic", where you take control by, for example, temporarily switching off awareness of the arm.

Some people do faint at the sight of blood or when they think about an injection. For these people their heart rate and blood pressure increase but then blood pressure suddenly falls, which causes fainting.  Keeping your blood pressure up is what is needed. Watch this video from the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service for some tips. Make sure you tell one of the staff, so that they can help you. Try this video from How Stuff Works.

One of my clients fainted when he thought of injections or blood. He had struggled with needle phobia for over 30 years. He wrote "I learned various calming, relaxation and breathing methods which I applied when I had to start my medical treatment and still continue to use. A few months on and I have had 5 venesections and countless number of blood tests. I've made more progress in the last 6 months than I have in over 30 years. That is no exaggeration. Caroline Brown's methods (especially the relaxation audio recordings) made such a massive difference to the way I applied myself in medical situations". He learned to control his blood pressure to avoid fainting, learned how to calm himself and practiced self-hypnosis with the recording I made for him.

Anxiety and panic
Other people can become acutely anxious and fear they might faint, but fortunately don’t. In this case, the sensations that anxiety causes -  palpitations, feeling sweaty, dizzy, light-headed, tight chest – are the problem to be resolved.  These cognitive behavioural techniques will help you to regain the control you are looking for.  You may already have spotted that your breathing changes when you get distressed. Daily practice of specific breathing techniques gets you well prepared in good time for your injection, so that you can become calm and quiet whenever you need to.

The way we think about things powerfully affects our feelings. You may already have experienced anxiety before an event. Sometimes even weeks before we can get ourselves stressed out – scaring ourselves with images of the catastrophes awaiting us. We all do this some of the time. For most of us, reality is much less dramatic. When we take a different perspective, we feel differently.

Imagine a different scene.... It is a year from now. You have had the injection and you are now safe from infection. Not just you, because millions of people have been getting jags. Build a picture in your mind of all the helpful changes that you are looking forward to a year from now.  What will you be doing? Who with? Get some real detail about the way things will be so different for you, as things get back to normal. This is why we are getting the jab. This is the real story. With regular re-imagining, this story becomes the one you use whenever you think about the jab.

Coping statements can help too. Maybe something like  “I don’t have to like it, but I can still do it.” “I am strong enough to get this done, I have done tough things before”. “These feelings are uncomfortable but they will go soon.” And get yourself back to the here and now by holding onto some furniture or rubbing your hands together. You might be surprised how quickly such simple actions help you focus once more on the importance of ordinary things in life.

If you want a bit more support, then contact me. Research shows that hypnosis speeds therapy along. Hypnosis also permits very creative solutions, allowing you can transform your experience of inoculation in ways that seem more like "dream logic", such as temporarily switching off awareness of the arm.

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