In this last year and a bit I've realised that I couldn't go on avoiding needles forever. It would be nice if that was the case but it's not very realistic. We've all seen people like The Speakmans on the television helping people overcome these debilitating phobias and really improving these peoples lives, but I didn't have hundreds of pounds to spend on getting better and as a last straw kind of move, I even applied to be part of the show they've recorded this year. I didn't end up participating - I didn't get chosen for the pilot show and by the time I got asked to apply again for the commissioned series I was already exploring other avenues but for anyone who knows me, this was a really out of character thing for me to do, perhaps demonstrating just how desperate I was.
In October last year, something happened which made me hit breaking point with it all and I found the number of a service in the area that I'd seen advertised my my workplace. 'Talking Matters' is a place where you can be referred by your Dr or you can do what I did and self-refer. They deal with phobias, OCD, stress, anxiety and depression issues, and you can read about their services on the link. I nervously dialled the number and the lady who picked up the phone was amazingly understanding when I laid my cards on the table and asked if they could help. They said they'd ring me the following week for an assessment of my needs and they were very punctual and sensitive when I had this appointment. Long story short, I was paired with a lovely chap I've since called Phobia Phil. We've worked through lots of Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to try to teach me how to get a handle on all of this and whilst there have been tears and emotional conversations, I cannot believe how much of a difference this course of action has made to my life.
One of the reasons I wanted to get treatments for my phobia was because my husband and I wanted to have a family and as you know I'm now very pregnant. 'Talking Matters' has enabled me to do one of the things I never thought possible and that was to have blood taken, albeit from my hand, for the first time in 23 years. I'm still working hard to get the courage and discipline to have blood taken from the bend of my arm but it's not something I see as impossible anymore which is half the battle. I'm due some more tests in the next week and I won't lie, I'm still very frightened but the fact that I'm talking about it and getting it done is incredible. I feel like someone has waved a magic wand over me.
Please, please seek help with your phobia or anxiety problem if you have one. Talking Matters is my local service on Teesside but there should be similar provision around the country so ask your GP or Google it to find yours. You don't have to suffer and be like that for the rest of your life. I wish someone had given me the information to sort this out for myself sooner and I'll never look back. Who knows, it might just save your life.