I recently moved in with a roommate I met through mutual friends. We attend different graduate programs at the same university. Things have generally been fine. I have a chronic autoimmune disease that requires me to inject myself with medication every two weeks. My roommate has a severe needle phobia. This isn’t usually a problem because I get up around 5:30 a.m. every day, and I’ll take my medication out of the fridge and do my injection before my roommate is awake. I usually do this in the kitchen, as that’s where we keep the first aid supplies and sharps container. The other day my roommate came out of her room while I was injecting my medication. I was surprised and didn’t say anything before she saw the needle. I figured she would turn around and go back in her room until I was done, but instead she yelled, “Oh, my God!” and ran to the toilet, holding her hands over her mouth. She is now angry at me and says that I should never have had the needle out anywhere except for my room, regardless of whether she was awake or in the house at all. I do have sympathy for those who have a needle phobia—it took me a while to get used to injecting myself. But this is something that I have to do to stay alive! I’m going to do it in my room from now on, but I’m hurt that my roommate would react with so much disgust to something that barely impacts her and affects my life quite a lot. Am I justified in thinking that this is an overreaction? Should I bring this up with her at all?
—Roommate’s Needle Phobia