Autistics have multiple phobias of doing things mainly brought forth by induced anxiety. Throughout childhood, this fear resonated deep within me and even today I have some unquenched fears before getting an injection or blood draw. However, I have slowly understood that these events are a necessary function of life that must be undertaken for my health.
As any child growing up, I had an immense fear of needles. Having unknown mental health conditions and unknown symptoms of autism made the issue more amplified. The need to have inoculations growing up which is usually followed by a long wait in the waiting room and later the exam room to only sometimes be given little notice that you were going to be inoculated or have blood drawn. It wasn’t always the best experience. One time, I ran away from the exam room into the waiting room and the doctor miraculously got me inoculated. It waned my fears of having needles by those that were of a caring and compassionate manner.
There were countless times even these days with the continual need for blood draws for the medication I have been taking for two decades. I have been lucky that it has been reduced to bi-annual intervals, along with the medication of the primary doctor, it has made it easier. Although I have been experiencing a great deal of being dehydrated recently which also at many times has made locating a vein to draw blood from difficult, Lately, it has been done using a “butterfly” needle which is thinner and quite awkward, yet the fear has sort of waned off.
In my adolescence with the multiple blood draws, I never wanted to do them before when times of good joy were expected, like the christmas. They always made me fearful for something bad happening as the result of a simple blood draw or inoculation. I didn’t want something as depressing as that to block what joy could be had other than going and getting something as simple as a blood draw.
In later years, I have added joy to the disappointing news that I would have to experience pain. As I typically have to have my blood drawn early in the morning before I take my medicine, once I do that, I bring my medicine along and usually grab breakfast before progressing on with my day. It isn’t much, but it means the world that sandwich and drink after all that fear of going to the lab for blood draws.
As many know, the flu vaccine is an annual standard for many. I was always afraid to get it because it was “one more jab” that I would draw a fear from. The changing to a new Primary Doctor and COVID-19 placed a big change in my thoughts on that. As I was living with my parents at this time last year, we all have the same primary doctor, and as such, we chose to all get the flu shot. My parents had been doing this for years and had suggested getting it on a Thursday, which is my day off and taking Friday off, “just in case” you get tired. That is kind of an incentive and as such my anxiety has waned that this year I almost forgot that I was to get it and that the specialist giving the jab did it so well I didn’t even feel the pain and didn’t bleed, so no bandage. However the pain was there and I was glad that I took off Friday as a precaution.
I am so blessed in my autistic journey to be able to do things such as blood draws and inoculations with such a breeze compared to the anxieties and other difficulties that I had in the past. To anyone who is struggling with it, please know it is really nothing and for your benefit so be brave.