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OK, let's get straight to the point, ignore our fears and get the jab done

Opinion

Now that the vaccine rollout has begun, it’s time to put aside our fears, roll up our sleeves and get the jab, writes Rebecca Levingston

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Roll up your sleeves. The jabs are coming.

The first vaccines will be administered in Australia on February 22.

Two of my best mates detest needles. Even discussing pricks makes them a bit wobbly. They’ll still get vaccinated, I hope.

I’m ready to roll. Billions of needles going into arms this year all over the world will hopefully help us get around the globe again. Some people will be nervous about getting the vaccine, most will be relieved.

Funny how fear and excitement can sit right alongside each other in life. How do you describe that stomach-churning thrill on a rollercoaster? Are you scared or happy? Are you happy because you’re scared? I remember interviewing an amazing young woman who once told me she gets scared when she feels happy, because she worries life is too good and something is going to go wrong.

Human brains are so weird.

Genuphobia is the fear of knees.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.
Philematophobia is the fear of kissing.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter.
Verminophobia is the fear of germs.

We can all relate to that last one can’t we?

About 10 per cent of people are needle phobic. Trypanophobia is the term used to describe the extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.

There are three main categories of phobias. 

Specific – which are the most common and focus on particular objects. Heights, clowns, dentists, dogs, spiders – pick a thing and you can find someone who’s freaked out by it. I used to think I was fine with snakes, but then a snake catcher brought a python into the studio and while we were talking on air, I felt like I might faint.  It was the snake’s tongue that really gave me the heebie-jeebies. Specific phobias are partly genetic so can be inherited.

Social – phobias that relate to social anxiety. A fear of situations where a person might be humiliated, embarrassed or judged by others. It includes everything from public speaking to using public restrooms.  Social phobias also seem to run in families.

Agoraphobia – a fear of being in public places where it would be difficult to make a quick exit. Movies, concerts and public transport might mean heart palpitations, trembling hands and sweaty palms.

I find all of these phobias relatable to some degree. I get a wave of fear every week when I write this column. I could pick attributes from all three of those phobia categories to describe how I feel. I’m conducting my own personal psychology experiment to see if I can overcome the temporary anxiety. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I remember when I first started on radio I would get incredibly nervous. My heart would beat so loudly, the sound would fill up my ears. It was like air and blood coursing through my chest and neck with so much intensity that if I was a cartoon character, steam would’ve come out of my ears. Fairly unsettling and unhelpful when your job is to listen to people but you’re straining to hear over your own pulse. I got better.

I once interviewed a guy who had a fear of flying and he solved that by becoming a pilot.

To get him back in the sky, we all need to get jabs. So try to overcome your trypanophobia or skip into the vaccination chair if that’s more your style. Let’s make this COVID-19 rollercoaster ride more about fun than fear.

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