We all have to see a doctor at some point, whether for diagnosis, prescriptions, advice, a referral, or something else. However, having to talk with and be physically checked by a practitioner can be a stressful, anxiety-producing process for many people.
If you’re in this situation, there are some things you can do to make the interaction easier on yourself.
Consider Online Appointments
Keep in mind that you don’t have to see a physician in person if you don’t want to. These days, many practitioners offer virtual doctor appointments at various times throughout the day, and after hours, so you can select someone who is the best fit for your needs.
Many people find that they don’t feel as much anxiety by seeing a medical practitioner virtually rather than in person. This is because there’s more space between the two and the interactions seem less full-on as a result.
Bring a Support Person Along
Another way to help yourself feel more comfortable is to have a support person join you for the appointment, whether online or face to face. The benefit of having someone there who you trust and who knows you well is that they can soothe you with their presence and bring up topics or ask questions that you might forget otherwise due to your anxiety.
Just make sure that whomever you choose understands your medical history and ailments and so can ask the right questions, but at the same time won’t talk over you when you’re feeling comfortable enough to speak.
You might find that scheduling doctors’ appointments more carefully makes a difference in how much anxiety you feel about speaking with a physician, too. For instance, if you’re aware that you typically feel most stressed and vulnerable first thing in the morning, you’re better off requesting a lunchtime or afternoon slot.
You might also want to steer clear of times when you know you’re going to be flat out with work and find it hard to get away or when you know your children are due home for school soon, etc. Certain days of the week might work better or worse for you as well. Always consider the general ebbs and flows of your anxieties through the day and week when making appointments, so you don’t start a conversation already feeling out of sorts.
Mentally Prepare and Plan
You may find it helpful to spend some time mentally preparing and planning for your sessions with your physician. You could visualize the appointment and how you want to proceed in it and plan out some questions to ask. It may also calm your mind and body before conversations with your doctor if you engage in some mindfulness meditation and deep breathing. You could try thinking about some positive affirmations and mantras in the lead-up to and day of your doctor’s appointment and engage in some deep, calming breaths before you enter the room.
Some people find that self-hypnosis works, too, as does diverts the mind by listening to music, or a podcast, or otherwise switching off from the stress of the conversation ahead. Experts suggest listening to music is the best remedy to solve these issues quickly. Try different techniques to learn what aids you best, one way or the other you should get a solution for your problems.
Let Medical Professionals Know You Feel Anxious
Also, don’t be afraid to let medical professionals know you feel anxious. It’s good for them to understand this so they can be as helpful as possible and get to know you and your health (mental and physical) that much better.
Being upfront and honest with your vulnerabilities will help you build a better, stronger relationship with your physician, too, which in turn should help you feel less anxious about seeing them. Don’t hide anything and don’t lie to your physician at any cause. Being honest can save you a lot.
Try to Determine the Source of Your Anxiety
Wherever possible, determine the source of your anxiety around doctors’ appointments. If you can understand what it is about the process, person, place, or other factors that get your mind and body stressed out, you’ll have a better idea of which strategies might work to overcome these roadblocks.
For example, the cause might be the long wait in a room with sick people in it or the thought of what the doctor might find or say during the examination. There’s no right or wrong here; it’s just about acknowledging where you are now so you might move to a more positive place over time.
Seeing a doctor might be something that elevates your anxiety level, but it’s still a task you’ll have to incorporate into your life. Try following some or all of the tips above to determine what helps you break through in this area and keep your health on track.