1 - worry about the needle for days before my blood test;
2 - work myself into a frenzy the day of the test;
3 - silently freak out in the waiting room at the lab;
4 - break out in a cold, clammy sweat while the blood is being drawn; and
5 - after it's over (and hopefully not before) - pass out, throw up, or both
(I have always been a treat for the lab technicians, let me tell you. )
My mom likes to tell the story of how, when I was eight or so, she and I were sitting in the waiting room while my brother was having dental surgery and I passed out just from listening to a nurse talk to a patient about needles and blood. I slumped in my chair, my head fell onto my mother's arm, she thought I was kidding around and flipped up her arm and my head along with it and I bumped my melon on the arm of her chair. My mom panicked, the receptionist was unhelpful, and then I came to and puked all over the floor. Fun times.
As an adult, I learned to cope by only using labs that had a place for me to lie down while I was having blood work done, which helped immensely. Sometimes it seemed like a technician was questioning whether or not it was really necessary for me to lie down, but once they got started, all doubt was abolished. My symptoms are glaringly obvious. ("Excuse me, Ms. Broadfoot, but are your eyes rolling into the back of your head for a reason?")
I did some research and discovered that I have what is known as blood-injury phobia, and it is unique because, unlike other phobias, it causes your heart rate to slow down rather than speed up as a protection mechanism. It's kind of like your body sees the blood and thinks, "whoa, let's just slow things down a bit so we don't run out, alright folks?"
I once did a face plant on a sidewalk and when the ambulance arrived my blood was blood everywhere. The paramedics put a blood pressure monitor on my finger and they could barely get a reading. Afterward one of them joked that they thought they'd "lost me." Hmmm...
Now though, wonder of wonders, all this is changing. I have had some health issues over the last year that have required a LOT of blood tests, and finally, though I almost can't believe it, I seem to have overcome my fear. I guess my brain had a chat with my senses and told them to cool it when it comes to blood because it was embarrassed or something. I now see that there is only minor discomfort in a blood test, and I can sit up like a big girl while I'm having one done.
I guess the moral of my story is that practice makes perfect. Or maybe it's face the fear and do it anyway. I'm not sure, so take your pick. Either way, be assured that if you or someone you know has a blood phobia, it can be overcome. Personally I am over the moon excited to know that now when I need a blood test, I won't be lying on the floor staring up at the ceiling when it's over.