Preventing Panic

Garden of the Body

I have several health care appointments over the next two weeks. Most are for annual or quarterly exams and one is my therapist. 

I was very anxious about today’s appointment because it was with a new doctor. New people, places, and things are, at times, anxiety provoking for me and since I have bouts of “white coat” anxiety a new doctor ups the freak-out-factor. 

A few things that help me manage anxiety when I have a new person, place, or thing to deal with:

  • Plan ahead and be sure to allow plenty of time to get dressed, travel, park and have food and drink before, etc. to limit anxiety related to feeling rushed or having a blood sugar issue
  • Call ahead and ask questions (if possible) about the new place – especially questions that are raising concerns that are provoking anxiety. If a phone call is too much, try email, looking at their webpage, etc.
  • As necessary, take my anxiety medication about an hour before the new experience
  • Arrange for a moral support person to go with me. 

Here’s how I applied and slacked on these strategies today:

I didn’t plan ahead in order to eat at home before my appointment, so we had to grab drive through on the way…not my best preparedness, but I didn’t enter the appointment hungry or thirsty. I took care of a basic need and completed that self-care task to ensure that the anxiety was kept to a minimum. 

I had a few questions and concerns on the drive to the new doctor, so while my husband drove, I called the office and asked those questions and got comforting answers. Anxiety gague is lowering steadily!

Having my husband go to the appointment with me and even sit in on my visit with the doctor was a great support.  Sometimes the 30 minutes waiting (sometimes under a paper gown) for the doctor to come into the exam room is the worst part of the exam, so having him there today to talk to me and even make me laugh while waiting helped ease the tension so much. 
I took my anxiety meds about an hour before the appointment – another great reason for husband to come with – to drive.

A huge part of self-care is keeping yourself healthy and while regular doctor check ups are not as much fun as other more pampering self-care techniques such as getting a spa treatment, they are a necessary part of a holistic approach to self-care. 

Thankfully, my appointment went much better than I expected (imagine that!) and my husband and I enjoyed the rest of the sunny spring afternoon together.