An Irrelevent Fear

For my entire adult life I’ve been saying that I don’t like needles. It’s a pretty common fear I think, but recently I’ve been wondering how relevant it is.

Going back through my history, I had blood drawn a week ago without issue. The pinprick was nothing a grown man should even acknowledge.

About 6 weeks ago I had my binary tattoo applied, and for those of you that are ink-free, I will explain the process. A needle goes in an out of your body between 250 and 500 times per second. They start with a small needle and trace an outline, then the artist moves to a bigger needle for a heavier outline, and finally the pattern is coloured with the largest of the three needles. I think it feels like a razor blade is being slowly pulled through your flesh, but I’m also melodramatic (and want the girls to think I’m tough).

Last year most of the team at The Frontier Group took a flu vacination. I knew I’d need to set an example, and even though I was a bit worried, I honestly didn’t feel the needle enter my arm.

Even further back is a few trips to the dentist, where I’ve had several injections. It reminds me of this really good Chattanooga dentist at Tennessee. Anyway, my close friend Emma, even with her skill and ability as a tooth fixer, can’t overcome my apparent mutation. According to her I have an unusual cluster of nerves in my bottom jaw. I had to learn more about this anomaly myself then – I’m an X-man (OK, I gave myself this title). This means that if she needs to numb me up she uses a few different needles and a few different anasthetics, and even then it’s the laughing gas that works best. More importantly though, none of the needles she gives me are really any concern.

And then we have the stitches I received in my head when I cut it open on the guttering as we hung decorations for our engagement party. The anesthetic the doctor gave me was supposed to sting, but I didn’t flinch. Maybe it was no problem because my mum was with me. If she was holding my hand, it was because she needed comfort, honest.

I guess my question is, how much evidence do I need before I reassess the situation and realise that in fact, I’m not scared of needles anymore? What else am I looking at with my life, and saying “that’s how I felt yesterday, so that’s how I will feel today”?

What do you take for granted, because that’s just how it is, even though you’re facing a mountain of recent evidence that suggests the opposite?

4 Replies to “An Irrelevent Fear”

  1. I had a very similar situation myself. When I was a kid, I had no problem with needles, none – then one day got my Hepatitis shot and within seconds my body was paralysed and I stopped breathing and went into anaphylactic shock. After that, I’ve been petrified of needles.

    About 6 months ago, my wife was nearly done with her pathology exams and was hoping to practice drawing blood on me! Geeze, I nearly fainted! Seriously, the idea turned me into a cowering dog.

    At this moment, I realised the same things you did – is this fear or dislike to needles, rational? and is it even still serving me? perhaps it’s time to get rid of it? – and the answer was, it’s time to get over this fear as it is holding me back (considering at some point I do want to start donating blood). Luckily, knowing some NLP I put on Chris Howard’s decision destroyer process, and then put on the strategic visioning process too. An hour later, my wife was drawing blood from me without problem.

    But yeah my conclusion was the same as yours – there are a ton of things in life, that we have drawn lessons from, but those lessons or beliefs may not be the best lesson or belief for where we are now. The trick is identifying these things!

    For identifying these, it’s also something I’m just starting to experiment with myself. So far what I’ve found to work best is whenever I think something can’t work, or I end up stuck, I always think – now is this just a problem with my imagination? Can I possibly imagine this working? If so, then what are the steps to make that happen.

  2. Side tracked comment but big ups to using NLP. I’ve been reading quite a bit about it over the last 6 or so months and have been practising some of their techniques. Good way to take charge of your mind and conquer everything. My cousin, Kirsty, wrote a book on it. It’s brilliant if you’re ever interested :-)

    Also, good work on smashing an irrelevant fear. I used to be scared of needles, but after a needlestick injury early 2007 and having to have my blood tested so much over the following 9 months it kind of became a non-issue after awhile. I think I just let my 5-year-old needle hating self rule my adult mind.

  3. It sounds like Ben and Kirstie would agree with me when I say that I think that we’re constantly in a process of self-creation, and that creation is shaped by the thoughts we allow ourselves to accept. You’re now defining yourself as someone who used to be scared of needles, not someone who is, and that’s made all the difference. Well done on conquering such a long-term fear: it’s not something most people are willing to do.

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