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In a bad anxiety spot, need some advice!

Friday, May 03, 2013

I am in a BAD SPOT TODAY people. NO GOOD.

I had my doctor’s appointment Monday, and I knew she’d order blood work. It is how the thyroid process is done. I knew this, I know this, I will continue to know that blood work is how the way they learn what to do to make me feel better.

My BF’s first question that night was “When did you schedule your blood work?”

Me: “Um… I didn’t.”

BF: “Remember a few months ago when she gave you a form ‘to-go’ and you never did your test? You're never going to feel better if you don't get this test!”

Me: “Uh huh.” [in fact, the previous test order is still sitting in the same spot as when I brought it home, in the mail basket by the door. Oh god since before CHRISTMAS.]

BF: “So… when is the blood test?”

Me: “I’ll figure it out.”

And I sat on it. All week long. Yesterday my mom went to see the doctor, we use the same one, and she texts me something like “Saw Doc, Already got blood work done, picking up meds and back to work!” and I was like……………………… wait wait wait. I say this as lovingly as possible – but my dysfunctional mother managed to nail this process, and I couldn’t?! So I bit the bullet and went online to make my appointment and the first one I could get was for tomorrow. I have to do the whole fasting thing, so I can’t just “walk in anytime” unfortunately. For me – the quicker I find out I need this and get it done- the better. Totally surprise me, tie me down, don’t give me any time to think about it, because if you do…

Well, that is where I am today. Sick to my stomach, shaky, just absolutely terrified. I’m a wreck.

I suppose I should back up a bit – I have a BAD history with blood work. I have passed out before, several times. It started when I was about seven years old. I made it through just fine, sat down in the lobby to wait for my sister’s to be done, and hit the floor cold. Wisdom teeth at 15? Same thing. First round of thyroid testing at age 20? Same thing. It nearly happened during my root canal and the surgeon goes “YOU are ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE” to which I was like “Yes, I am very nervous” and he said “No – you were numbed, you had your eyes closed, you had no idea what I was doing. You have Vasovagal Synecdoche” which is fancy for “Your body hates needles, and it reacts by engaging your flight or fight response and your body just flights” – Oh.

Knowing I likely have this problem (the testing for it is horrific, they essentially try to get you to pass out in as many ways as possible, so I have avoided a formal diagnosis) makes me have insane anxiety about blood work.

My approach so far has been:
- Have someone else drive me. It is just a good idea. I’m not safe on the road full of anxiety on the way there, and I’m not safe when I’m at risk of passing out in delay after the test.
- Have that person get my mouth going. Last time I whined to my sister how my mom always hates our Christmas presents. My boyfriend usually asks me about dogs and I’ll blab about those. I ignore everything else that’s going on as much as possible. When they tie me up and start swabbing there is usually a lot of “oh my god, oh my gods” hahaha.
- I lay down. This is the BEST approach. Every time I have done seated has NOT ended well.
- I bring something to eat right away after I’m done. You know how when people donate blood, they give you juice and stuff? Well – I have to give so much for these tests that I have to eat right away. It is crazy.
- Bribery. This time my boyfriend said he’d take me to get a slurpee right after. Woo hoo!

I guess I thought that by typing this all out and releasing it, I’d figure something out and feel better, but so far… not so good.

I keep telling myself like “You’ll be fine, you’ve done this before, you’re a grown up, you just bought a car which is like a million times more difficult so what is your problem with this?!”

I know the worst case scenario is I pass out, BF takes me home, whatever. I kept telling him last night I was going to die and he goes “Okay, can I have your car?” (omg!)

Anyways, short of finding myself some black marketing anxiety meds – anyone have any advice? Besides grow a pair? Lol – I already know I need to do that. But how?!?!

Besides that, it is supposed to be a lovely weekend. I hope to get outside. If I survive this blood work tomorrow morning, that is.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I feel for you. I have major anxiety when going to the Dr for anything. I haven't had that severe of a reaction, but inside I feel like I am losing it. The only thing that gets me through it is knowing how great I'll feel when it's over and done. I need to schedule my gyn appt, and I keep putting it off. UGH
    1605 days ago
    What I did for the first 4-5 times was to have somebody to hold my other hand. Now I prefer to be alone, but I still can't see the needle.
    You have a great support system, your BF seems so sweet!

    1605 days ago
    You will do fine and ten get outside and enjoy the day. Good luck and just breathe!!
    1605 days ago
  • KELLY19770
    I'm so sorry to hear you have anxiety about needles and such. No one can understand until they are in your shoes. It's not as easy as: calm down and don't think about it. I have had panic attacks on interstates or bridges for a few years now, and most people think I am nuts and just get over it. So, I know where you are coming from. You can't just "get over it." Or you would, lol.
    Good luck to you, and I am glad to hear you are going forward with the testing knowing how it makes you feel. That is pure bravery!
    1605 days ago
    Yo- crazy- quit chyo complainin! Ha jk! SO I really have no advice better than what these loverly ladies had for you. but I wish i could be there to hold your lil hand while you're getting traumatized.

    In all honesty i really hope everything goes well and you don't have an awful time, nor let it ruin your day. You have a giant fear and some weird legit needle flight syndrome, accept it, let it happen and itll be over with you finding out some important info about your body! And boyfriend will be there to take care of you, no need to act all tough.

    lol you didn't even make an appointment yet by the sounds of it? If and when you do try to not think about it. Hard to do I know. Good luck- have a wonderful, stress free weekend you!!
    1605 days ago
    Don't look at what they're doing. Talk on the phone to your bf or mom or someone. Sing along to your favorite song. Pinch your leg while they're drawing the blood to distract you.

    Make sure you tell the doctor/nurse/phlebotomist about your anxiety and your history of fainting. They might know exactly what to do to keep you calm! Also, feel free to bring a honking huge snack/meal with you for right after the test. They always let me do that.
    1605 days ago
    hope it goes well! emoticon
    1606 days ago
    Oh my gosh, so sorry that you have such anxiety to needles. But, I can relate! I am really bad about them, too. I remember the first time I had to give blood & i told the nurse that I don't like needles, so she told me to look at picture (it was one of those, find what's different in these 2 pictures thing). So, as I was looking at the picture, I felt myself getting grey and clammy. I looked at the nurse, told her I was about to pass out, and then I woke up with 3 people hovering over me and me on the floor. emoticon

    I think the best thing you can do is try to destract yourself in any way you can. Have your BF have a set of questions and topics to talk to you about and just make sure he always has your attention. Oh, it also helps when your nurse is really gentle!

    1606 days ago
    One thing that might help just a little is to try to talk your own anxiety down. It sounds like you might be making it worse for yourself by imagining that you're going to die or that you're some kind of failure for not being eager to make this appointment for a procedure you know is going to be tough. Be kind to yourself, you really deserve it!

    Counter those extreme thoughts with a dose of kinder and more reasonable truth.

    You're not going to die. As you've said, the worst thing that's going to happen is that you'll pass out.

    You're not a failure. It is completely understandable that this is something you don't want to do very much. And you're still going to do it. That makes you brave!

    You've got a great plan already for how to handle it - the only addition I can think of is maybe you can ask them if you can just stay relaxed and lying down for a bit after they take your blood, until you regain your composure?

    As hard as this is, you'll make it through OK and you'll be one step closer to solving the underlying problem - so worth it!

    Good luck!!

    ps. I assume your boyfriend was just kidding about the car, he sounds like a great fella who has your back. That's pretty awesome.
    1606 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/3/2013 9:31:15 AM
    This is a tough one to come up with any advice for your situation. But it is apparent that you are the roadblock to the blood work and often we are our own worse critic but you NEED this to understand what it is to make you a healthier YOU. So visualize the happy healthy woman you are and strive to be and maybe this will get you through the test.
    1606 days ago
    OMG Stef!!! I completely hear you here. I have extreme DOCTOR anxiety and get the same way when I have to go to the doctor for just about anything. A cold? I'm shaking, crying, etc. It's terrible - you are not alone!!! However, as Jamie said - you need to get the test so that you can start to feel better. Just think about it like - okay by this time tomorrow, it will all be over...that is not going to rule your day, it's just something you are doing for a small amount of time and then it's over. Try to listen to some relaxing music or meditate or something before you go to try to calm yourself down. Maybe expressing your feelings to the tech would help too? That way they aren't jerks and try to make your experience as pleasant as possible. You can do it!
    1606 days ago
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