I’m not just anxious, I’m frightened.

If you read the rest of my posts, you’ll know I use this as an outlet for my anxiety, and often to seek answers from people. Well, today I’m seeking answers, because I have something coming up that’s going to be extremely difficult during and after to deal with.

Before I go on, I’ll be discussing medical stuff, so if you’re not a fan click here and you’ll be redirected to somewhere magical.

So as I’ve spoken about before, we’re currently going through fertility treatment, and have up to now had 3 rounds of IUI. Although initially I thought it would be difficult, it was actually manageable and we got through it. Sadly it hasn’t worked and the next step for us is IVF.

We had a consultation a couple of weeks ago, and the specialist explained everything, the procedure, what we’ll need to do and answered any questions we had. He was brilliant, really helpful, didn’t rush us at all and was actually quite calming. He booked us in for the next step with the nurses to discuss consent forms which we’re due to do on the 18th.  He then uttered a sentence that brought on immediate panic and anxiety:

“You’ll both need to have blood tests to check for Hepatitis”.

Blood tests. Now, I know it’s quite common for people to hate blood tests, I know this, but for me it’s just more than hating it. I’m actually frightened. Not particularly frightened of the needle or whether it will hurt, but I’m absolutely terrified of passing out while I’m in there. Passing out was where my anxiety started in the first place, and although I have the negative thoughts under control, it’s still something that bothers me to this day. Which brings me to my next bit – I’m frightened that it will take me right back.

When anxiety was at it’s worst, I couldn’t think about injections, needles, hospitals or blood tests without having a panic attack. So much so, I stopped going to the gym, stopped driving on motorways and dual carriageways (because I couldn’t control the thoughts), I stopped going out, stopped going to the shops. I couldn’t even stand on my drive washing my car without needing the door open and fast access to my sofa just in case I felt faint or was going to pass out.

What frightens me now is going back to that. Will having the blood test bring everything back? What if I actually do pass out, will that bring everything flooding back to me? Will the physical feeling stick so vivid in my mind that I won’t be able to not think about it? I’ll actually feel it. Will that cause me problems? Will I stop driving on motorways again, stop washing my car, stop going to the shops?

I’m so scared that this tiny little 5 minute event could strip away 6 years of hard work dedication and getting some of my life back, because I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m strong enough to go through all of that again, and if it was to happen I don’t know that I’d survive it.

I explained to the specialist this was a big problem for me, and he couldn’t have been friendlier, assuring me that the nurses are all very skilled, and some people don’t even feel it (the last time I had one it fucking hurt and the absolute dick of a nurse couldn’t have been harsher about it). He suggested I speak to my GP about getting some diazepam to help relax me beforehand, which is alien as I don’t take any medication for my anxiety or panic disorder.

So I guess what I’m looking for is advice, help, support, anything really to get me through it. (If your support is ‘you’ll be fine it’s not that bad’ then honestly, don’t use your energy typing it because that will definitely not be of any use).

I’ll be requesting that I’m not left in the waiting room for an hour which usually happens, that I have a nurse that knows what she’s doing and none of this “I can’t find a vein” nonsense, they get one attempt and it has to be fast. I’m tempted to ask for diazepam but I’m not sure if it will help? The specialist suggested 2mg but unless it’s 10mg and I’m semi conscious I’m not sure it’s of any use. I’m going to ask if I can lay down just to make things a bit easier, I’m not sure if this will be possible but I can ask. Anything that makes the whole situation easier.

Whatever happens, I have to do this in order to get the family that I want, I just hope I’m strong enough to see it through. I also hope this doesn’t take me back, because in all honesty, I’m not sure I’m strong enough to fight it all again.

8 Comments

  1. Hey, I’m sorry that your treatment has been unsuccessful so far. Anxiety is crippling so I do understand why your worried. Is there perhaps another way that they could take the blood sample? Just a thought, could you perhaps take some earphones and play some music on your phone whilst their doing it? I always find this distracts me from what’s going on and it really helps. Before you decide to do anything, you need to address your concerns first because that’s important. Speak to your GP, explain your concerns and see what your options are. Wishing you all the best x

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    1. Thank you so much for the reply. I’m not sure they’re able to do it any other way. I think it’s just a case of let them get on with it as long as I’m comfortable. I just hope I can get in the room!

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  2. You are allowed to lie down! If you tell them you’ve had fainting episodes previously then they prefer you to lie down! I often find closing my eyes and tapping with my other hand works as a bit of a distraction for me.

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    1. Thank you! I’ll certainly tell them. I’ve only ever fainted once but always go light headed when I’ve had one before. I’m hoping my blood pressure will be so sky high it’ll be impossible to pass out!

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  3. Would it maybe help a bit to slather on a bunch of local anaesthetic beforehand? Benzocaine, the stuff that’s in Orajel for toothache, is really fast-acting.

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  4. Hey! So, blood tests is actually an exposure that I’ve been working on lately. I wanted to be able to donate blood, and now I have!!

    The biggest turning point was getting an as-needed prescription for benzos (I take lorazepam) from my doctor. I use them for blood tests, but I also use them when I’m going through a cluster of panic attacks, can’t sleep, or have to force myself to do something I feel like I can’t. There’s no shame in medication, as long as it’s helpful. I take 2mg most of the time, but 3-4mg is what I need for blood withdrawal.

    I also use numbing patches on my arm — here, you can buy them behind the pharmacy counter under the brand name Emla. It helps quiet my mind a little, but is not a magic numbing solution, you’ll still feel it a bit. But with the lorazepam, I don’t care at all.

    I take someone with me when I go — and they’re there to talk with me the entire time and keep me distracted. I bring along other distractions as backups too: my music, a book, games on my phone. I always explain to the nurse that I get panic attacks, and I should be fine, but it needs to be quick and I don’t want to see it or hear about it. I also ask for the smaller, children’s needle.

    Before I ever took lorazepam for anxiety, I wanted to test it to know how it would affect me, because unpredictability made me anxious. I took it, and I thought about needles and other things that scared me at regular intervals, and noticed how anxious I did or didn’t get. That’s how I know that 2mg is usually okay, but I need way more for needles.

    Feel free to send me a message if you want even more info or want to talk it out! Sorry this got so long…

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    1. Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it. If I do get some meds to help, I’ll definitely try beforehand. I may not like it so best to know and check first. I will definitely be speaking to them to explain my issue and what I want to happen. It’s my arm, my blood and I’m the one they’re prodding, so make it quick, painless and no messing about!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the important part in this is managing what happens before the blood tests & as you mentioned it’s the waiting for an hour which doesn’t help the anxiety. When you do book in explain to them about your anxiety & if it is possible not to keep you waiting as long. I would turn up maybe 5 minutes before the test so your not there too early giving extra time to worry.

    I’ve been lucky enough that the nurses that have done my bloods previously have been great by distracting me, keeping me talking & making it a pain free experience. My anxiety is the anticipation of the blood being taken, sitting there & being tense that it’s happening or going to happen. A diazepam would help ease this and keep you as relaxed as you can be.

    The chairs at the hospital are normally recliners so you can rest your head back and this can reduce the chance of fainting too. Tell them about your past experiences and with fainting and they’ll make sure your ok.

    Good luck for the next stage of your journey.

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