Way back when my gynae was trying to convince me I needed a c-section, and before I realised that it was all a big joke, I set about trying to get past my phobia of needles. It seemed like the wise thing to do considering that there was surgery on the horizon.
I wasn't always needle phobic. I believe it began when I was about ten years old. I was quite ill and needed tests. Lots of tests because the doctors had no idea what was wrong with me. They never quite worked it out either but that's neither here nor there. So there were tests. And I was young and I was scared. And there were some nurses who didn't stop to think that maybe, just maybe, a scared ten year old might need a bit more patience. Instead, I was told to stop acting like a baby and that if I didn't cooperate they'd call in many big men to hold me down while they took my blood.
I can almost see the look on your face as you read that. I've seen it often enough. Who tells a ten year old that? Well, a couple nurses did and over the years the memory has grown and grown in my mind until it got to a point where I couldn't even think of a needle without having a panic attack, and where I was physically unable to outstretch my arms completely because the crook of my elbow would be open and that area of my arm freaks me out. I was unable to touch it at all, let alone allow anyone else to. That is the extent to which it affected me over the years.
Needless to say, pregnancy with a phobia of needles isn't easy either. I somehow dealt with the anxiety to have my first set of bloods done each time but I was never able to have my 20-week tests done in either pregnancy.
But then there was the probability of a c-section and a great big epidural needle. Not to mention pre-op bloods etc etc. Holy cow. I panicked for weeks. I had no idea how I was going to get myself out of this one.
Then, a pregnant friend on twitter mentioned that Dawn had helped her deal with labour pain and other issues through Hypnotherapy. I had never tweeted Dawn before but I did that day and we got chatting. Then we scheduled a Skype appointment to try and help me deal with my needle phobia. Dawn was sure she could help me.
Now I'm a huge believer in the power of the mind. I wasn't going into this a cynic. But my needle phobia was a huge thing, and a part of me wasn't sure I'd get very far. But I figured that if it made even a slight dent in the phobia, it would be worth it.
So we got chatting. Dawn is very easy to talk to, she's friendly and helpful and I'd say it's impossible not to relax in her presence (even if virtual). She ran me through a few mental exercises and explained the power of my sub-conscious and the way it was causing and controlling the phobia, and half an hour later we said our goodbyes and we ended the call.
I wondered whether it had made any difference and I also wondered how and whether I'd have an opportunity to test it out before the c-section.
A few days later, I was watching One Born Every Minute and being the birthing show it is, someone was being given an epidural. As per usual, my hand flew up to cover my eyes - I can never normally watch anything like that. But I was distracted and too slow to react, and I realised (with my eyes covered) that I'd actually seen the needle that time. And yet I was fine.
I realised that I could outstretch my arms.
And I could talk about the issue with friends and not have to calm a racing heart afterwards.
Or be flushed as I spoke.
Friends couldn't help but notice the difference too.
The change was big.
Now we know of course that I didn't actually need the c-section in the end, but I did need two injections during Adam's birth. Both were optional, and yet I had no issue with them. I even watched them give me the shots. I watched that needle go into my thigh both times. I accompanied Adam for his jabs with no nerves whatsoever. And I plan to have the flu jab next winter.
Even David is slightly dumbfounded at the change in me.
I'm not about to go running to get pricked to test it out, and I suspect that if I knew I needed any bloods taken, I might ask Dawn for a refresher session - but my point is, it made a difference. To whatever extent, it worked. A simple half hour of mental exercises helped shift a huge obstacle for me. There's no reason it couldn't work for other things too.
Dawn's website is Think It Change It