I accept it. I deal with it. I often use humor to try to defuse my anxiety.
One thing I get anxious about is doctor visits. I don’t like going. I definitely get a case of white coat syndrome. If you don’t know what that is, my blood pressure goes up because I am nervous. I usually have the nurses take it twice. Once at the beginning of the appointment and again at the end. The second reading is usually quite a bit lower. I am just very fortunate to not have serious health issues and access to good health care.
Regardless of my nerves, I will go to the doctor when needed. This is because I am an adult and that is what adults do. However, the responsible thing is not always exciting, fun, or sexy. Sometimes, it is the complete opposite.
For instance, the annual mammogram. So. Much. Fun. Ugh!
It is not great having a stranger manipulate your naked body in uncomfortable ways, squish it in a plastic vise, have you hold your breath, and not move. While I am sweating and in pain, the technician leisurely walks to the equipment panel to take the image. Sweating. Pain. Can’t breathe. Sweating. Pain. Can’t breathe. I am turning blue by this point and I am pretty sure it is my lung swished in the vise, but my position and the equipment don’t really allow me to check. After what is probably 10 seconds, but feels like 100 she tells me I can breathe again. Easy for her to say. Then, do it all over again. And again. And again.
This is what I was looking forward to when the reminder for my checkup came in the mail. I made my appointment for a morning to get it over and done with as soon as possible.
The morning of the appointment I am nervous. I go and wait in the reception area. The technician calls my name and I shakily stand up and walk to her. As I follow her down the darkened hallway I say to her in a falsely upbeat voice “Let’s get the party started”. She turns to look at me with a face that tells me she thinks I may have a few screws loose. I am not kidding. Her face was as contorted as my body was about to be. She turns back around without saying a word and leads me to the room where she gives me instructions on how to prepare for the x-ray. She completely ignores my outburst and beet-red face that is glowing with heat.
The rest of the appointment goes as it usually does. The technician was all business and there definitely was no party going on.
A few days later I got a clean bill of health. I did a little dance, let me husband know, and smiled. There indeed was a little party and I was in a great mood the whole rest of the day.
Next year, I will be just as nervous for the appointment. Some of the nerves will be about the embarrassment and pain, but truth be told, it is really about the fear that something could be wrong. So even though my comment was off-the-cuff to cover my anxiety, I was right. There is no better reason to celebrate than good health. So as my name is called to go into my next appointment, I will be thinking let’s get the party started. Though, I may just say it to myself.
I am probably not being fair to the technician. She was likely having a bad day. It was a real bummer, but I wasn’t in a place where I was able to cheer her up. Luckily, I was able to laugh about it later.
Do you dread going to the doctor like I do? Do you have any special tips or tricks to keep the anxiety at ease? Do you get the party started when you receive good news about your health?
Let me know in the comments.