How I Overcame My Fear of Needles With Paul McKenna
By Melissa Gettings, Legends Report Writer
Paul McKenna is the number one hypnotherapist in the world and is renowned for helping people treat the most difficult problems. Recognized by The Times of London as one of “the world’s most important modern self-help gurus,” Paul McKenna is the UK’s most successful non-fiction author. Here is an interview all about him...
What Is a Fear of Needles?
The official name is Trypanophobia combining the Greek term trypano meaning puncturing or piercing with phobia, meaning fear. It is an irrational, extreme fear or aversion to blood or needles affecting around 25% of people.
How Did My Fear of Needles Affect Me?
I will explain my experience with it the best I can but I can only use words unless you've experienced the feelings yourself it may be hard to understand. The phobia took me to places I would never wish to go again, it was like going to hell. I’m not sure exactly when it started, I imagine from childhood. The last reaction was from a blood test not long before I was cured of my phobia. I remember walking home as my GP is just up the road luckily- I probably wouldn't have been safe to drive! I thought I'm not sure any procedure is worth this reaction on my body. It was like my body had been through massive stress and I felt completely drained and emotionally down. Years ago I used to have reactions even before the procedure. I somehow managed to get rid of that and can be quite calm before but still got the reaction during and after. What happens is I almost faint. It's like this absolute terror and panic. I'm shaking and almost go unconscious. I have gone unconscious before but I learnt to stop myself as I got older, I would make sure I was lying down after a needle for example and not stand up till I felt able to. I used to almost faint in secondary school at vaccines and get sent to the nurse. People would tell me it doesn't hurt, I know this it wasn't about the pain, I was aware my reaction was completely irrational and I would do my best to ignore it, in fact, I never let it stop me as Paul McKenna would say;
“When you pursue your goals guided by your values in the context of your dreams, miracles happen!”
I even managed to work as a nurse which people often found funny!"How can you be a nurse with a needle phobia?!"
Well, it is possible although I actually left my nursing course when I was a student for about a week before my personal tutor convinced me I could still be a nurse with this issue. I decided I couldn't do the job after a girl came in and had to have her finger amputated after it had got caught in some machinery, she had a ginormous bandage on her finger and I had to leave the room when it was removed because I felt faint. I managed to overcome some challenges with the course but I did have to choose my areas of work a bit more carefully such as making sure I didn't work on surgical wards or trauma.
How Else Did This Fear Affect Me?
I was once on holiday and cut my toe on glass in the sea - it was about the only time I’d had to access any healthcare as I’ve always been in really good health. So I thought it was typical that I happened to be abroad and it cost me a lot more than it would with our lovely NHS! I hobbled to a pool to get it cleaned as my friend had advised there was a lot of blood, I remember everyone telling me to move from where I was sitting to get out of the sun. If I moved I would have fainted. It was not the sun that was the issue but trying to clean the sand out of my bleeding toe that I couldn’t deal with! A local doctor was called. I ended up speeding off on the back of his motorbike in my bikini to have my toe looked at! I had to have antibiotics and I remember apologising to him he said he could tell I was having real difficulty dealing with it but that I was very polite with it. This time I actually didn’t faint but physically vomited so I suppose there can be different reactions people can have. I know one friend who starts heaving like she is going to vomit at the sight of a spider.
My mother was at a dentist appointment with me once and I came back round not knowing what had happened and apparently I had been shaking/jerking after having an injection in my gum for having a tooth removed. I since had a filling without any injection which was much better. I used to do the same when as a child, I had fallen and cut my knee badly for example so it wasn't just needles. I used to almost faint in secondary school at vaccines and get sent to the nurse. You may laugh - I went to the desk in occupational health to make my next appointment after the hepatitis B vaccine we have as nurses. I thought I felt ok but ended up with a second problem when I banged my head on the stairs as I fainted! Years later I had an interest in Chinese medicine and thought it would be interesting/relaxing. I can definitely say I did not have this experience! During the acupuncture session, a load of needles were placed in my back and the acupuncturist went next door. I was fine for a few minutes then found I was having to try and use meditation techniques to keep myself calm but I couldn't face it any longer and had to call him back in to take the needles out. Then I ended up feeling so ill after I had to phone in sick from work.
Why I Decided To Overcome My Fear & How I Did It
What made me decide to try again and overcome this was when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't think that reaction would be good for the baby as negative hormones I would be producing with the phobia can get passed through the placenta. I knew pregnancy involved a few blood tests. So I decided to take responsibility which Paul McKenna says is;
"Taking control of those parts of your life that are within your control, while letting go of trying to control what is not.”
Solving this problem was so easy. I wish I had done this sooner back when I was a student nurse, I was only 17 then and I didn’t know much about these techniques. It might be for some people that cognitive behavioural therapy or emotional freedom technique (EFT) works for them where you tap parts of your body. When I was trying to find my solution this was the route I was going to do but it's not so easy to do on yourself and I didn’t manage to find anyone nearby who could help me. I found a YouTube video that I thought would help but repeating “ I have this fear” didn't feel right to me like I was going to make it even worse so I felt hypnosis was the best choice but everyone is different. Hypnosis is really just being in a relaxed receptacle place like almost asleep in the alpha brain waves where your mind takes on the suggestions you place in it by what you listen to.
The medical professionals are there to help us through complications in times like birth but I knew to have a more positive experience this was up to me to sort out.
“If you don’t take responsibility for programming yourself, then someone else will”
— Paul McKenna
I downloaded the Paul Mckenna app for 'phobia of needles'. I listened to it for at least two weeks twice a day before my next blood test in pregnancy. He guides you through using a technique involving visualisation as he says;
“Images that are bigger, brighter and bolder have greater emotional intensity than those that are duller, dimmer and farther away.”
So it's about making the negative images further away. The blood test happened and the only reaction I had was having a right laugh with the nurses about how the surprise of pregnancy isn't quite like a surprise where you get a box of chocolates!
"The way you feel from moment to moment is a direct result of the way you are using your body and the pictures and sounds you are making in your mind.”
— Paul McKenna
By reprogramming my mind for the two weeks before I had changed my subconscious beliefs and therefore experience.
So next I decided to have the Covid jab. I actually booked it for the next day after I'd decided and then thought really I should have done the hypnosis again before as it had been months since I had done it but I didn't get a chance. So I went along anyway and was pleasantly surprised with no reaction.
Now I plan on hypnobirthing - I've seen the amazing effects and plan to use hypnosis for giving birth. As Paul McKenna puts it;
“The key programs of human behaviour are habit and imagination, and they are far more powerful than logic and willpower will ever be.”
I wish he would make a hypnosis guide for giving birth but in the meantime, I've made my own recordings in my own voice of scripts read from books. I think your own voice can be powerful - Watch this space!
How Can You Apply This?
I want to encourage anyone with a fear or phobia that you can definitely overcome it whatever it is. I didn't think it was possible years ago and something I had to just deal with and it wasn't something I felt affected me very much as it’s not every day you have a jab so I didn't really bother trying to solve it. However, when I look back there’s been quite a few times it's affected me. It's shown me the power of the subconscious and how it can work for or against us. For years I've known about this but now I have solid proof from personal experience - it works - Massive thanks to Paul Mckenna!
Resources to help others - The Positivity Podcast is a new, half-hour, in-depth, non-journalistic interview programme hosted by Paul McKenna. Each week, he interviews some of the world's most interesting people in a deeply explorative style.
Paul McKenna App for phobias - Download the specific one you need which can help you with various problems, not just phobias but giving up smoking for example or losing weight. Most of our problems are from our mind and could be deep in our subconscious which is where hypnosis can help with most things...
The Legends Report offers a wide range of support through counselling, mastermind sessions, workshops and more to support you. We build a community that is supportive and encourages younger and older people to speak about their own experiences in a safe and comfortable environment. For more resources and information on supporting yourself please contact us in the form below.
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