What helped when I had a phobia

I no longer have a phobia. I still have a fear of the thing I used to have a phobia of (needles), but I’ve brought it down to a level that is manageable. I challenge myself with it every few months by donating blood, just to remind myself that I can do it now.

It used to be that needles would make me throw up, pass out, and cry. Not necessarily in that order. At its worst, I often refused medical treatment and made decisions on what activities I wanted to do because of the fear. I refused to get treatment for dehydration from a stomach bug because it would involve a needle. I refused treatment for a broken bone because it would involve needles. I had dentistry done without anesthetic because anesthetic would require needles (having a cavity filled without anesthetic is not something I would recommend). I didn’t go rock climbing even though I love to climb because I was worried that if I fell, I’d need a needle. I couldn’t watch needles even on TV, and if I was surprised by a photo on a newspaper during flu season (y’know, the seemingly-obligatory restrained screaming toddler  getting their immunization), it usually would induce a panic attack.

Just to give perspective. It was all-encompassing.

The reasons for the phobia are immaterial to what I want to talk about. Which is fear. And what worked for me in overcoming it. Snagglebox has a good post up on the topic from a professional/parenting point of view. Here’s my take:

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