If you inject insulin to control your diabetes, you might feel "needle anxiety." That is, you might be shy about medicating yourself in public. This feeling is completely normal, and many with diabetes have had these same feelings.
The truth is, there's no need for you to worry about what other people might think. You're taking care of a medical condition, so how you do it really comes down to your personal preference. But if you're uncomfortable with injecting insulin in public, remember these four pointers:
1. If you’re new to using insulin, you will get better and faster at self-injections. After a few months of practice under your belt, you'll be able to swiftly administer insulin without skipping a beat. Your skill level may help you feel more comfortable about injecting in public.
2. Excuse yourself from the restaurant table or public place and find the nearest bathroom to take your insulin. The safety and privacy of a bathroom stall may work best for you. Dressing rooms also work well.
3. Move to a less busy area, like a hallway in a restaurant, the corner of a grocery or retail store, or an unoccupied room in an office or home. While you may not have full privacy, you'll most likely avoid unwanted conversations or disruptions.
4. Switch your injection site. In a public setting, it may be more comfortable for you to inject yourself in the arm rather than the stomach. Talk with your doctor about the best injection sites.
When a public injection can't be avoided
Sometimes you won't be able to control your environment or your situation, and you will have to inject insulin in public. While this may cause you some anxiety, here are a four things to keep in mind:
1. You are doing nothing wrong. You need insulin! It's nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about.
2. You might have to do some educating. Whether you like it or not, injecting in public may cause people to ask you probing (and borderline inappropriate) questions. It's up to you how you handle these situations, but it may be worthwhile to consider these times as teachable moments.
3. Your health comes first. Feelings of anxiety aside, your health is more important than what people around you might think. And you may discover people don't care nearly as much as you think they will about your public injections.
4. As much as possible, choose a clean, secure place to take your insulin. This is a given.
How do you feel about injecting insulin in public? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.