by Asher GiOtis, Patient Support Center Manager
You never forget the excitement of getting that first injection. Getting to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for many trans and non-binary folx feels like Christmas morning. But for those of us that have chosen a form of hormone therapy that requires an injection, that excitement is sometimes quickly followed by a great deal of anxiety. You’ve dreamed of the day you can start HRT, and now the time has finally come – but needles!
So, you go to pick up your script and needles and set up your appointment to come in for injection training. The training makes it seem simple, but a week later, it’s time for your next shot. You’re not at the doctor’s office anymore, and no one is there to walk you through the steps. You start to feel a little panicked.
If you’re like me, you grab your phone and start searching YouTube for “How to do intramuscular testosterone injections” tutorial videos. You find a video. The instructor looks like a nurse (they’re at least wearing scrubs), so it seems more legit than that other video you passed with the guy sitting on his toilet trying to tell you how to inject your shot. You play the video and the memory of your training starts to come back. But at the same time, there’s no one there to reassure you that the location you’ve selected is the right place to inject. You stick the needle, making sure you didn’t hit a vein. Ugh these hurt. You press in the medicine and take the needle out.
You’re done! Dang, that was like 45 minutes of freaking out.
The scenario above is totally normal. So many trans and non-binary folx feel a massive amount of anxiety during injections. I have a transmasculine friend, who used to literally freak out about his shot the day before it was due. Then, the day of, sometimes his injection anxiety would get so bad, he would put it off for another day.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone! It’s totally okay to watch that training video online every week until you feel comfortable. Nervousness paired with needles is not a fun combination.
Here are a few tips to help you ease that injection anxiety:
- Set aside a specific time for your injection so you don’t feel rushed. Make it part of your routine. This helps with compliance, making sure you get your shot each week at the same time.
- Get all your injection materials together and set them up on a flat surface. Make sure you’re in a well-lit area.
- Watch a training video as a refresher. If you don’t have a go-to training video to watch, check out Planned Parenthood’s videos in English and Spanish.
- Take a couple of long deep breaths or do a quick meditation before starting.
- Remind yourself of your goals for doing HRT. Having a positive focus point can help reduce anxiety and stress surrounding injection anxiety.
Kind Clinic’s Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injection Brochures!
If you’d rather follow along step-by-step instead of watching a video, check out our Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injection brochures! Download your copy and keep it handy when injection time comes around. Put that anxiety at ease – we’ve got you covered!
Remember, if something happens, and you’re concerned you didn’t do it right, you can always contact your medical provider. They’re there to help you through this!
With TeleKind, you can schedule a gender care follow up visit by video conference to refresh your injection training. You should never feel lost in our care. We’re here for you if you need us!