Going to the doctors is a nerve-racking experience; even booking the appointment to go is stressful and anxiety-triggering. Who else puts it off for weeks, even months, at a time because you just can’t face the thought of going? Once you’ve been though – isn’t it a humongous weight off your chest? Don’t you feel so much lighter?
It’s just getting there though, isn’t it? It’s the initial ‘getting yourself in the right mind-frame to go’. I get it. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, I’ve been there and I want to help. So here’s some suggestions for approaching your doctor when you just can’t face yourself to ‘talk’ about what’s going on in your head – or if you’re too worried or shy to tell the doctor what’s wrong.
Write it down: In life, with many things, you know what you want to say in your head. You plan it all out. And when the moment comes to spill the beans you freeze and nothing comes out. It happens to us all. Especially when we take a trip to the doctors. We don’t want to start rhyming off all of our elements, we don’t want to be a burden, we think we need to be in and out of there as quick as a flash without causing too much of an uproar. Wrong. The doctor is there to help you. He or She is paid to help you. Let them. Before you go, why not write down everything you want to cover or say when you get to your appointment? That way you don’t let it slip your mind, you can’t brush it away, and more importantly you can’t beat yourself up when you get home and need to wait months for another appointment. Write it all down. Don’t hold back. When you get there, read it to your doctor, or simply hand it over to them. They won’t mind. Whatever works for you. They just need to know what’s wrong, what’s troubling you, and whatever way you find that easiest to express then they will be perfectly ok with that. Remember, they are there to help you.
Take someone with you: Your mum, your partner, a friend, a colleague – take someone with you. Again, the doctor won’t mind. If it makes you feel more comfortable – then do it. That way, they can chip in, and help explain what’s been troubling you. Sometimes they can explain it better than you (because as humans we always try to cover up our vulnerabilities) and in this moment we will inevitably attempt to do this. Having someone there to speak for you, hold your hand, keep you company – it can really help and make the world of a difference. Even take someone with you to keep you company in the waiting room before the appointment, so you don’t over-think, and so you’ve got someone there for you when you come out.
Speak to the doctor over the phone: Don’t quote me on this one, as I understand doctors are very busy people, but I’m sure you can chat to your doctor over the phone. If need be. In severe circumstances. When you call for an ’emergency’ appointment, the last thing you want is a nosey receptionist poking her nose in asking what’s wrong etc. – simply ask to speak to your doctor. They may have to call you back when they are available. But that way you can familiarize yourself with the doctor, maybe tell him or her what’s bothering you over the phone, and you can mentally prepare yourself properly before you go to the actual appointment.
Record yourself: That sounds daft, doesn’t it? But honestly, recording yourself can really help to express the depth of pain or discomfort you’re feeling (obviously I’m not talking about a serious case of the shits or a urinary tract infection here guys, do not record yourself on the bog and then proceed to show your doctor it). Basically, what I mean is, if you’re maybe depressed or anxious or suffering from something along those lines, maybe take a recording (video/sound) and speak your mind when you’re having a ‘bad day’ or at a ‘vulnerable moment’ where you can explain what’s going on in your head in that moment. Sometimes, we have ‘bad days’, really bad days, and we book a doctor’s appointment because we are so desperate for help but then a week or two later when the appointment comes, we feel fine again, happy as a pig amongst shit. And we tell the doctor we are doing fine. La dee da. Then it’s the vicious circle and the bad day sneaks out from round the corner again and we are back at square one. So, if you can show or tell the doctor firsthand what’s going on, it’ll be much easier for him or her to help you.
Seek help online: Nowadays, there are loads of online facilities, to help you in your time of need. Obviously, if it’s something very troubling or concerning make sure you see a doctor, and most certainly do not self-diagnose. But, if you just need someone to talk to, or someone to listen – you can find this online in seconds. You can even conceal your identity. You can talk via an online chat, you can have a phone call with someone, or text them; whatever suits you best. And these resources are available 24/7. For example, The Samaritans (116 123 (UK), email@example.com), Mind (0300 123 3393 or text 86463), or check the NHS website and you’ll find an abundance of options for you to seek help and also great advice, recommendations etc.
You’re not alone in feeling the way you do. You’re not the only person who puts off going to the doctors (even though it feels like it when you go there and there’s about twenty people waiting to be seen first before you). It isn’t a pleasant experience. It’s not something anyone enjoys doing but we are so lucky to have this facility and should be utilising it more than we do. If something is troubling you – go to see the doctor – please. I beseech you. Take my advice/tips in to consideration and get that appointment booked. <3
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