I believe I have exactly the same problem, but not as bad. I'm not afraid of blood or needles either, just veins. In 8th grade, in my hygeine class the textbook had a disgusting diagram of the human body with all the veins showing. I started thinking about it and felt weak. I raised my hand to get a pass to go to the water fountain, but the teacher kept talking on and on, so I just walked out of the classroom to get a drink. Before I made it to the water fountain, I fainted. Luckily I collapsed with my back againast the wall so I wasn't hurt. I was probably out for just a few seconds, and I was sweaty all over. They told me to prevent that to put my head down between my knees. I've only had to do that a few times since and haven't fainted again and I'm 48.
As far as blood being taken out for blood tests (I get my cholesterol checked every 3-4 months), I only have problems if I can feel the blood coming out of my veins. I turn my head so I don't see anything, but I don't think that matters either way. The nurses at my doctor's office must know what they're doing because I haven't had a problem in a number of years. There were a few times when I got all sweaty and had to lie down or sit for awhile until I recovered. One example is when I signed up for the bone marrow donor registry and they took a large tube of blood. If I'm ever a match for someone, I won't be concerned with the pain from sticking a needle in my spine to get my bown marrow - I'd be worried that they would have to put a needle in my vein to get a blood sample again. I also had this problem when I went for an eye test and the doctor pulled open my lower eyelids to put in eyedrops. It took me about 15 minutes sitting down and some sugar water to recover. There must be some connection between eyes and veins, at least for me.
I donated blood once in 1987, only because it was supposed to be for my best friend's grandmother and he couldn't get his other friends to donate. After getting about 1/2 ounce out of me, I threw up twice. They kept the needle in and after throwing up I felt better and they got the whole pint out without any further problems. I'd never do that again unless it was an emergency for a close family member.
Strangely, I've had IV's twice with no problem. I seem to be fine if stuff is going into my veins, it is only a problem when they are taking stuff out.
I am very lucky with my problem that I don't have too many veins showing. As I'm getting older I do see it a little more in my hands. Sometimes I'll push my hand up and that helps a little. I try to ignore it and not think about it. If I see other people with a lot of veins showing I try not to look. I like watching professional wrestling and unfortunately a lot of them have a lot of veins along with their muscles. The most upsetting thing to me is the people with veins on the side of their head or forehead. I would never date a woman that had anythng like that, even a little, no matter how beautiful she was otherwise. I don't know how I'd be able to live with myself if I ever had that problem.
I understand there is cosmetic surgery to take fat from your body and inject it into your hands so your veins don't show as much. You may want to look into this. I saw it on TV. The woman didn't have a vein problem, she just wanted to have younger looking hands. I might do it at some point, but I think I can hold off for another 5-10 years.
Based on my own experience, I think that even though the problem is mental, there must be a physical component to it also. I'm basing this on the fact that I only get sweaty and feel faint when getting blood drawn if I can feel it coming out of my veins. If it was purely mental I would have the problem all the time, I think. I think it is genetic also. No one else in my family has a fear of veins, but my 15 year old nephew has a fear of buttons. It is funny because I can't see how he can be bothered by inanimate pieces of plastic, and he can't understand how I can be bothered by a natural part of the human body that we need to live.
I think that with this or any other psychological problems, the goal is to work around your problems so that they don't interfere with your life or mess you up too much. I'm not sure how I can tell someone how to do this. I think it depends on the severity of the problem. If you can ignore it to a large extent and not dwell on it you can live with it better, but I don't know how you can get yourself to do that. I don't think that a therapist is capable of understanding this problem. I went to one (for other reasons) and I mentioned my problem to him, but I don't think he had any idea what to do. I don't think they have experience with this type of stuff because it is not a common phobia. Perhaps they can desensitize people with a fear of flying, but I don't think they can get people with our problem to stop finding veins horrifying and disgusting. I'm surprised that this isn't a common problem being that veins are just so disgusting - I can't understand how anyone can look at them without being bothered, but apparently we are a very tiny minority.
--- In email@example.com, "deadhead_chemistry" <deadhead_chemistry@...> wrote:
> Hi, I just joined this forum because my fear of veins has taken a turn
> for the worse and I was hoping to either seek guidance or maybe even
> get to the bottom of it myself. I never knew this fear of veins was
> legitimate, I always thought I was just being irrational. But today,
> I needed to figure this out, and I found numerous forums with threads
> about the exact same fear I have- all symptoms identical.
> It's a fear of the vein itself, not the blood it contains. It is not
> Hemaphobia. The thought or image of a vein is enough to completely
> skeeve (forgive me for the lack of actual definition, but I can't
> think of any other term to describe this feeling) a person out.
> Particular body parts it involves are the wrists, back of the hands,
> the underside of the elbow, and sometimes the neck but not as much
> because the veins there usually aren't close to the surface as many
> thin skinned areas of the body are. Anything from a needle puncturing
> one (a person's own or even just viewing or thinking of someone
> else's), and really any form of pressure on the vein more than
> immensely bothers you. Hyperventilation, often resulting in loss of
> consciousness during a blood test and you really don't want to fully
> stretch out your arm afterwards for like a week. (Wouldn't you rather
> get punched than push on a blood test wound for just a few minutes?)
> It's an entire body sickness whenever there is mention of a vein,
> sight of it and especially things being done to it. IT'S NOT A FEAR
> OF NEEDLES, IT'S NOT A FEAR OF BLOOD. My sincerest apologies to
> anyone reading this who is currently cringing, but I need to ask one
> thing of everyone who relates to this:
> Can anyone who has this fear please email me, if you're willing, and
> talk to me about why you think you have the fear? Maybe even an
> outline of what you're like as a person, maybe even your parents too.
> I want to figure out what this is, because I'm really beginning to
> think this is not some irrational fear that we're all being babies
> about. I want to find out what causes this, if it's genetic (though
> no one in my family, that I'm aware of, has this) or if it's learned.
> And if it's learned, I want to know from what. Because I want to
> find out how to fix this, and without other people's experiences to
> compare, I don't have much of a study. I want to find out and let all
> of you know how to fix it, because I truly empathize with you. We
> avoid blood tests, which can be hazardous to our health, we cannot
> participate in the medical field (which is something I unfortunately
> really want to do) and no one seems to understand when we retract in
> fear if they, for instance, grab our wrists. The only thing in my own
> life I can imagine that might have caused this is the fact that I have
> tiny veins. Not always, but occasionally they've had problems while
> taking blood and had to keep moving around to different spots on my
> arms. That was nothing short of traumatic... Any one else have tiny
> veins that might have caused frequent problems during blood tests?
> Please- anything will do. Anyone have any ideas? Let's collaborate
> and get to the bottom of this so we can all work on fixing it, because
> the reason my fear is getting worse is- well, I'll spare you the
> details, I don't want anyone with this phobia to have to even imagine
> this, so I'll just leave it at- this fear is now constantly on my
> mind, every minute of every day, and I feel like I can't even be in my
> own body. I've scheduled an appointment with a therapist, because if
> this continues, I'm literally going to go crazy. Any help would be
> grand :)
> (And btw, TAKE DOWN THAT DAMN VEINY PICTURE LINK ON THE OTHER SITE.
> That's really cruel.)