7 Things My Anxious Mind Tells Me When I Have a Doctor's Appointment
Going to the doctor isn’t easy for anyone. It’s not the most fun place to be. No one really says, “Yes! I get to have blood drawn today!” The doctor’s office is a place we have to go, and a lot of us with anxiety don’t go when we need to. Here’s what my mind tells me when I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, and here’s why I sometimes cancel my appointments over and over again.
- I am going to be told I am dying. Even though a part of me knows this isn’t true, my mind just doesn’t believe it. My anxiety takes over and all of a sudden I am dying.
- They will judge me. I constantly fear I will be judged. I am afraid a doctor will tell me my choices made me sick, or that if I didn’t sleep so much I would feel better. That it’s basically all my fault.
- They won’t believe me. I am so scared a doctor will tell me that I am not really feeling what I’m feeling, or that it’s all because I have a bad diet or because I just need to will it away.
- They won’t listen to me. I’ve been to doctors that don’t listen to me at all. They don’t take me seriously, they assume I am overreacting and they send me off with no changes, no solutions and no suggestions.
- I will never get better or feel better. I am afraid they will tell me I am forever sick. I will never get better. I am a lost cause.
- I will be sent to the hospital for telling the truth. While suicidal thoughts should always be taken seriously, for someone who has them daily as a part of my mental illness, many doctors don’t understand this it seems. I am afraid I will tell them how I feel so we can come up with a solution for change, and they will immediately put me away when I really need a change in meds or therapy.
- They will overmedicate me. I am afraid they will think more medication is the key. While medication is important (I take medication), I don’t want to be overmedicated. I want help, not a band-aid. I want them to listen to me to find out if my medication needs to be changed, if I need therapy or counseling, if I need a support system and what solutions can help me on a daily basis. I don’t want sedation.
These are my fears. I know they won’t necessarily happen, but these fears keep me from taking care of myself. In order to help me keep my doctor’s appointments, here are some tips I turn to and wanted to share:
- Ask someone you trust to be your advocate. Take someone with you. A friend, a parent, a mentor. You can even call your local medical services to have a professional accompany you to make sure you are being taken seriously and that you are heard. Also, every reputable medical office has a patient advocate. Meet with them before your appointment, tell them your fears and what you are hoping to get accomplished. Tell them you would like them to accompany you in your visit. It’s their job to solve any issues and open lines of communication between a patient and the staff.
- Make a list of questions. If you are like me, you forget everything you want to discuss. Make a list and tell the doctor you have questions beforehand. Then, take those questions out and ask. Check them off as they answered.
- Tell the doctor your fears and/or past experiences. If you had bad experiences in the past, tell the doctor beforehand. Tell him or her how scared you are and why. They can’t help you if they don’t know how you feel.
- Talk to the nurse or medical tech. While getting your vitals taken, you are most likely only seeing a nurse or medical technician. Tell them how you feel, your fears, your concerns and you may even ask them to stay with you during your visit. Your nurse is the main line between you and your doctor. They are providing notes, vitals and taking your history, so don’t be afraid to tell them what you are worried about. They will relay this to the doctor and should be more than happy to help you in anyway they can.
- Trust your medical team. Don’t go in assuming you won’t get help, won’t be believed and can’t trust anyone. Most of the time, the medical team is there to help you. They want to help you, and they need to know what’s going on with you so that they can help you.
Would you add any helpful suggestions to this list? Tell us in the comments.
Photo credit: noipornpan/Getty Images