Thursday, January 16, 2014

The fear and the physician.

Anxiety may subside, but I think it will always be with me.

Today I was driving to the rheumatologist's office for a consultation. Thankfully everything is good and there is no sign of any immune issues like my chiropractor thought. But it just made me realize how, even when things are good, my old "pal" anxiety never ceases to creep up.

This is because a lot of my anxiety occurred regarding the medical field. Even when I go to my doctors now, I always get nervous. But when it came time to go to a new doctor, in a new place...well, that was just kind of terrifying.

Xanax helped, and I'm not ashamed to say that I pop half a pill whenever I'm in a stressful situation. (Again, usually with doctors.) But there will still old voices in my head, like ghosts from the past that never lost their ground.

Funny things happen in doctors' offices though, so I kind of rolled with that. This doctor didn't know anything about my anxiety, but I recall many others who did yet kept me in the waiting room or on the exam table for too long. "Read the chart, moron," I'd always think to myself. This doctor was very nice, but the nurse was a real grump. I tell you, you know you're in a strange situation when the receptionist is nice and the nurse is a grouch.

So there I am, surrounded by charts with muscles and bones and organs. The room is sterile, "decorated" in brass-framed art from the 80s. The floors are 100% pure linoleum. There are latex gloves and models of body parts. And there's me, on the table. At one point, the wait got so long and I folded up my legs to sit "Indian style." Then, I started deep breathing. Might as well get some yoga in the doctor was taking so freaking long.

I looked down at my bracelets, each one is there to remind me of certain things. Like hte outside world, and all the good things in it. My husband gave me the Alex + Ani Patriots bangle for Christmas--that one reminded me that I'm strong and I'm a champion. (Just like my favorite boys from Boston!) Those little reminders somehow grounded me.


Years ago, just sitting there would have been so hard. Trust me, I've bolted from many a doctors' office leaving only a copay behind and no diagnosis ahead. I'm glad that I can get through these things now. Even though each "new thing" feels too new, so my mind tries to convince me that I can't possibly get through it.

I've grown so much, especially in the past few years. And one thing I reminded myself of was that I have to bring a little of the person I am when I'm not in a "scary" setting into those terrifying places. The bracelets were key in reminding me that I could do this. Then I remembered that I was in control, and if I left, that would be okay. I also remembered about this blog, and how I may sound like I'm so enlightened at times, and so healed. And I am, but not completely. I can't forget that--all my healing, all my strength--when I'm in a place that gives me anxiety.

You have to heal and taste the good, and bring it with you. Because "bad days" happen. You'll have to go into places that give you anxiety if you want to heal. The real test is to see if you can bring your coping skills along for the ride. Or if you can recall positive things when you're in a negative situation. Then, it's not so bad. It takes time and hard work to work up to this point, of course.

And if "the ride" sucks, which it may, go easy on yourself. Remember that we're healing little by little. And if you're not on some sort of path to get better, remember that by talking about your anxiety and learning about it, you're still getting somewhere.

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