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Fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, needles.. anything medical

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Old 11-02-2008, 01:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 2
Yamada1970 HB User
Fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, needles.. anything medical

I have this fear, phobia- thought I'd share it with you.
I absolutely dread going for any medical exam, it starts from booking the appointment. I might get as far as the clinic waiting room, then it starts. Kind of a panic attack, fear of pain, humiliation, violation. This obviously applies to ob-gyn visits more than anything (well, dentist is no easier.. neither is a visit to my general practitioner). I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year, two operations- thank God the cancer had not spread. I felt very uncomfortable in the hospital, but the op was done under general anesthesia, so I wasn't terribly worried. Since the cancer diagnosis I haven't seen my ob-gyn.
But now, I am supposed to see my ob-gyn in January for pelvic exam and pap smear and I am getting anxious two months before the appointment!
It's causing insomnia, anxiousness.. My previous ob-gyn visits have never been easy, last time I took Valium, but it didn't really relieve the tension and anxiousness. My doctor (male) is very kind and caring, I would not really like to see anyone else, but it would be nice if I could somehow make my doctor's and my life a bit easier during the appointments. I e-mailed him and told him I will be coming in January, but all he said was "Welcome"- no mention about sedatives, even though I specifically asked for them.

I fear the pain of the pap smear (they have always been painful for me), feeling of being violated (speculum exam is just something awful words can't describe), the whole situation makes me want to run away. If the doctor is late and I am stuck in the waiting room even for extra five minutes, it makes me want to run away. If I see the gynae instruments and other tools of trade, it makes me want to throw up. My previous pap smears have all been normal, so we have an agreement I would come for check-ups every three years. Not too much to ask for.. but.. I would probably go more often, every 1-2 years, but.. yes, you guessed why.
I also have failed to attend my cancer follow-up appointments- I have been to various scans, then just called the doc for results, but haven't seen the doctor for 6 months now. Scans are all clear, I know very well I need to see the doctors too, but being so worried about what other investigations they have in mind for me- well, I feel I just can't go.

Someone advised me to have a glass of cognac. Sedatives have been suggested too, as well as behavioral therapy ( I am going to try and discuss this with psychotherapist next week! And this time I am not scared, so this one will be easy for me, I hope).

How do I ever get over this? Or will it be like this for the rest of my life?
I have a boyfriend, no kids- again the fear of pain stops me from even thinking of giving birth.. My boyfriend won't be around in January, otherwise I'd have asked him to come to the clinic with me- but in the other hand I'm not sure I'd like him to see me when I get really scared.

If any of you suffer from the same, I'd love to hear from you. If you guys have any ideas how I could cope with this, please do write.

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Old 11-02-2008, 12:28 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 89
Bwarr005 HB User
Re: Fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, needles.. anything medical

I am sorry you are going through these fears of the medical field. First off, I do not experience what you do, however I am going to school to become a Nurse. I would like to help you and give you ideas to alleviate your fears or try to.
What I would like to say to you that is most important about your fears is it is IN YOUR HEAD. Not trying to sound rude or mean.. but these types of problems are psycological. If you tell your self and prepare yourself to have a positive outlook on your experiences going to doctors and so forth, you would make your visits much more pleasant than what they have been. I have taken MANY psyc. courses, I know that the way to get over a fear is to face it. You need to tell yourself that is appointment is going to better my life, these professionals are here to help me--not violate, hurt, or damage you whatsoever. Those instruments are there to check for abnormals that could hard your life that could put you through more pain if they are undetected. Sometimes its is better to go to these appointments to just make sure that everything is going good with your body then to hold it off and to find out you had another type of cancer that has spread but could have been detected if you didn't let your fears hold you back from getting medical help. Its all in your outlook on these visits. If you don't have a positive outlook on them, you will continue with your fears. You need to face them. So all in all, my advice to you is to start thinking in your head that you cannot be scared any more. When it comes to childbirth and that fear, just remember and imagine all of the women in this world--mustless, all of the people in this world. A woman had to GIVE BIRTH to put our entire population on this world. If you wanted to bring a child into this world, you could face your fear and see in your mind that the pain of giving birth would outweigh the joys and memories that would be in your life forever and your childs.
Hope this has helped!

Old 11-06-2008, 01:28 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
loralei HB User
Re: Fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, needles.. anything medical

Please go see the therapist. This fear is not as uncommon as you might think. Nothing we say will help you, you must seek professional help. Just because something is psychological does NOT mean it's not a real problem.

I have a terrible fear of flying and everyone says oh just get over it and be brave. Or they spout off safety statistics, as flying really is the safest way to go. Telling me things like that does not help.

Fears are primal flight or fight responses, sometimes they are appropriate and sometimes they are inappropriate. Some fear is good! This one clearly is not. It's almost impossible for someone to talk themselves out of their learned fear. There are techniques that can be taught. Hopefully the therapist will help. I should see one for my fears. Best of luck!

Last edited by loralei; 11-06-2008 at 01:29 PM.

Old 03-22-2010, 01:34 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: MISSOURI
Posts: 30
benneson HB User
Re: Fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses, needles.. anything medical

Yamada1970...well another comrade in the ocean of fears...I too have these same fears, 25 years of fear...Its better now...but Doctors are my worse, I shake, BP goes up, I get confused and forget my questions. I have prayed for the fears to go away, taken medication, avoided the fearful situations....lord I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy......God Bless you,......For me I have come to the point of cussing the fear out, I get mad as hell for the control of my life...I call the Fear every nasty name in the book, this does make me feel better...Now, I do the fearful things and just do them scared as hell....just keep on keeping on the best as you can

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