Injection time stress

I have a newly diagnosed, three weeks today, eleven year old daughter who is getting increasingly more stressed out at injection time. She counts down from three to one, one being the “go” for the injection. It may take numerous times before she actually says one as we hover above her skin needle ready. She cries, she apologizes, she squeezes her fists and eyes closed in frustration and anger, it literally is worse for everyone, herself included then the actual injection. I think that we need to take more control, but with all the loss of control she has recently suffered, I am worried about taking the bull by the horns on this and taking more power away from her and insisting that we drive the injection time. I vacillate between heartbreak, panic and annoyance that this is such a huge family wide stress fest. I know that we have let this happen, please give me suggestions on how to make this unpleasant task more tolerable for my daughter.
Thank you

Hi @carladpk … To be honest its really very difficult to inject oneself in the starting … I’m ur example,I’m using a pen which is completely painless and its 2 months now from my diagnoses and I still need someone to inject me …

hello @CarladpK, I think you didn’t let anything happen. I think it is completely unnatural to purposefully stab yourself with a sharp. I have been doing this myself since the late 1970’s and I still get anxiety.

tips: sometimes the needle hurts, sometimes it doesn’t. it all depends on how close to a nerve that darn thing hits. this builds anxiety. icing the area my help by reducing the number of times the needle actually pinches.

some areas of the body are more sensitive, rotate injection sites, she will find more favorite areas, but try to avoid using 1 area too much.

there is nothing thing worse for anxiety than a “countdown”. I actually cringed when I read that. no countdowns. thinking is the seed for anxiety. if I think about it, I can’t even push the button on mt blood sugar lance. best not to think. best is to exhale while slightly distracted and just do it.

muscles have memories. making the motion over and over will help. after some time, the motion or push button part of the injection can be done without thinking. you can practice with an old syringe or an old pen needle and an orange.

one other thought;

short needles, very very short. I don’t know what she’s using in terms of gauge and length, but the smaller the better.

I too still have a bit of anxiety sticking myself even after being on insulin for 59 years. And @carladpk is the anxiety all your daughter’s or is it shared? I suspect that you, like I have been, are anxious giving anyone a shot.

As @Joe says, please just do it without the countdown; try to relax yourself, gently rub the intended site a bit [that helps me], pinch up a bit of skin and do it! Try to be somewhat relaxed and give the shots as a matter of routine.

First- you are in the very worst season of this hellish diagnosis. It. will. get. better. Don’t think about doing it the rest of her life -or even tomorrow. For right now, this meal or snack; you are in control. She is old enough that your not going to be able to trick her. This sucks. But you got her back. Your not going anywhere and you know that she is a fighter. Let her know that. Even if she protests, you’ll plant a seed. Right now how you handle this thing is a huge reflection to her of how this is going to impact her life. Keep reminding yourself that you’ve got this. My daughter was six when diagnosed and she too hated the shots. Lost her voice at the hospital. Screamed and had to hold her down to eat. When we came home, I reminded myself that I am her Mom. I’m here for her to have a good life. That means making sure she gets the insulin she needs to stay healthy. I told her she didn’t have to like it - neither did I. But it was going to happen and she will cooperate and help us to keep her healthy. I was stern about it, then cried alone. I initiated ‘childhood stories.’ It was a game we played when she knew she was going to get a shot. (btw, we use a pen and it is SO MUCH LESS intimidating and less pain then the syringe - when they’re young - worth it!!)
Anyway, she would give me a que word, or her Daddy one; and while we prepped the pen and (gently) slapped the area where she was going to get the injection - it helps! - we would tell a childhood story from our own past based on the word she gave us. I would start the story and while keeping my voice calm and even, give her the shot without missing a beat. I also found it helps to gently press on the injection site immediately after pulling the needle out. I made sure we were using the smallest needles that were available. It was one more thing to do. One more thought to process when your mind is already overwhelmed with counting the carbs and sugar numbers ect…but it worked. It soothed her anxiety and strangely enough she almost came to look forward to those moments just for the stories. I will tell you when I ran out I started making them up and she would guess when they got crazy and call me out. :slight_smile: When we were around other people, they became used to me calling their name and saying, “Tyler! Childhood story please!” Eventually we have phased out of that - it’ll be a year this weekend. Keep your chin up. Your a rockstar.

I don’t have much time to respond, but I wanted to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your understanding, your support,your suggestions and your insight. I am sitting her with tears in my eyes, so thankful that all of you have taken the time to respond. I hope to chat more with you all soon. Getting ready for Delia to come home from ballet to injections and dinner and family time. It will be better tonight thanks to all of you. I wish I could hug you guys.
Thank you

She’s old enough to start injecting herself now, which will give her a feeling of control. I can’t imagine the massive anxiety that would come from doing countdowns. I did multiple daily injections for 19 years before changing to a pump, and I never truly got used to it. But I managed to psych myself out that it wasn’t really a needle, and it helps that they are rarely uncomfortable. I still have a needle phobia for other shots, oddly enough. They taught me how to do it by practicing on an orange, which is about the closest you can get to the texture of human skin and fat.

Hi there! I know you posted a few weeks ago but I thought I would give you an idea. My son is 16 (today) and has had T1 for 6 years. He has done injections the majority of the time as he likes the control. I still give him shots,when he asks but when he does his own he says it hurts much less. Lantus burns and is a larger amount so he likes for me to give him that one at nigh . He puts on his ipod or distracts himself with a video on his phone so he’s not concentrating on the shot. It works for him. So maybe a distraction would help.

Hi, I know you posted awhile ago, but I haven’t been on in a bit. Until I just had a question to post.
My daughter just turned 11 in June and was diagnosed in December. She has been an amazing trooper with the shots thank goodness. Does your daughter have anyone to talk to? Does she want a T1D friend? Maybe they can support each other? Maybe my daughter can help her too with ideas if she’s still struggling, but I certainly hope it’s gotten better for ALL of you.



Just saw this post. My daughter and I were scared at first with the shots. We had to find something to keep her mind off of it. We used stickers the first week in the hospital, every shot got a sticker in a book. Then we switches to playing a game on our cell phone to keep her mind off it. She always likes to hold a stuff animal. It’s now three years since my daughter was diagnosed, and when I do her pump set change, she plays a game on her phone and holds a pillow pet. We also let her learn how to do her own shots so she was more confident in the idea it doesn’t hurt so much.

Hope it’s going better for you both.

My 11 year old daughter was just diagnosed with T1D two weeks ago today. She’s been a trooper and I’m glad I read this article. We do a countdown too and she starting to not want to get to 1 for she knows what is coming up. Thank you for all the tips and I will try them for pre-dinner injection. For those two moms who also have 11 year olds who was recently diagnosed, I would love to connect with you and hopefully connect our children if even in email and/or Skype so they have someone to relate to in their new situation.

Hi ssvensson. My 11 year old was diagnosed 12/29/15 - just 8 months ago. We actually did a pump start today. We live in Long Island, NY. Where are you? She would love to email with your daughter. is her email.

I’m Joyce, my daughter is Shari. Good luck! This is tough, but there is so much support and help available.

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for providing your daughter’s email. Kaiya isn’t very good about email (checking and writing that is) but maybe we can skype/facetime sometime during the weekend? Sorry it took me so long to respond. For some reason, the email that came through went into my spam folder.

My name is Sharon and my daughter is Kaiya. What is your email address? My email is Please shoot me off an email so we can connect directly. We are in Houston, TX. We just relocated from San Francisco to Houston two months ago. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting journey.

Looking forward to hearing from you.