Friday, October 12, 2012

D is for Doctor

When all these problems with anxiety attacks hit me this summer, I went to see my usual doctor. Shannon is awesome. She listened to me, talked to me like a competent adult, and really seemed invested in helping me feel better. I tend to dread going to the doctor, but not with Shannon.

And then a couple of months ago I went for a follow-up with Shannon and learned that she was moving into the Urgent Care side of the clinic. She would no longer be taking appointments. I was so sad to hear that. I asked about Shawna, my second choice. Nope. Shawna is going to Urgent Care as well. That left me with Dr. Euser (who I like but he is always in high demand so it's hard to get appointment with him), Dr. Kilpatrick (jerk with rotten bedside manner who talked to me like I was a naughty 5-year-old), or Randa (who I'd never seen before). Obviously, of those choices I decided to see Randa when I needed a prescription refill (and the pharmacy said they couldn't refill without a doctor's visit).

So I went to see Randa. Randa not only wouldn't increase the dosage on my daily medication (as Shannon had indicated might be a good idea) but also told me she personally doesn't like one of the meds so wouldn't give me a refill on it - even though I have found it very helpful. So she then spent a good 20 minutes trying to talk to me about my emotional triggers and how I really just need to be reasonable when I'm having a panic attack. Because "panic" and "reasonable" just naturally go together, don't they?

When I start to get anxious, I should just think - "What's the worse thing that could happen?" and then reassure myself that the worst thing won't actually happen. And then everything should be okay. Yep. It's just that easy. I bet other people with anxiety disorders don't realize that it's this simple! We've all just been malingering, waiting for someone to explain to us that the bad things we worry about aren't going to happen! What a relief that is.

I tried to talk to her about it. I tried explaining that things are not that clear-cut. When she asked about upcoming stresses, I listed a pre-school home visit, family coming to visit, and a party I was planning. She immediately leapt to "So what's the worst thing that could happen? Your mother-in-law tells you that you are a bad housekeeper and a bad mother and criticizes everything?" (Since I hadn't told her that was an anxiety about the visit and she leapt to that conclusion, I wonder what kind of mother-in-law issues she has herself.)

I tried to explain that it's not anything like that, it's just a generalized anxiousness. I can't usually pinpoint any specific thing that triggers an attack. I'm not thinking that my mother-in-law is going to come in and criticize me or the preschool teacher is going to report me for having a dirty house or my friends aren't going to like me anymore if I have a boring party. I'm just anxious about everything and nothing all at once. But she kept on teaching me the technique of "think of the worst thing that could happen and then tell yourself it won't really happen."

Turns out the worst thing that could happen was my favorite doctors would move to Urgent Care and I would be left without real help. And I need a new doctor, because I'm not going back to Randa. I guess it's Dr. Euser for me until they add a couple of new docs to the practice (supposed to be happening soon) and I can give them a try. I miss Shannon.

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