I booked a doctor’s appointment today for a number of reasons. The first reason being that a couple of weeks ago I was prescribed some tablets to help with my anxiety. These tablets are designed to slow your heart rate and thus relieve you of a number of symptoms associated with anxiety. This was all a fantastic idea, however they made me feel incredibly sick. For an emetophobia sufferer taking anti-anxiety tablets that make you feel sick is incredibly counter productive. I wanted to ask the doctors whether there was an alternative type of medication which perhaps had less chance of nausea as a side effect. In addition to this I have been looking into to getting some financial support. My freelance work is slow and some of it that I am forced to take on to pay the bills has a really negative impact on my mental health. I filled in a form online and they informed me that I also needed a note from my doctor. I made the appointment thinking brilliant I can discuss both issues and if I’m lucky I might even come away with something more helpful. I myself, feel guilty about asking for financial help but I also know plenty of other people do and I’m entitled to. I have to start making decisions that are in my mental health’s best interest.
I went through a lot of anxiety sat in the waiting room, until I was called in for my appointment, but I stuck with it. I need help. I’ve been to multiple appointments now about my anxiety, I’ve tried referring myself for CBT, however every time I call I’m told their mailbox is full and to try again another time (I informed the doctor of this). I called another provider who told me their list for counselling was so long they couldn’t even put me on it. They did suggest I sign up for a course in September. I did this but if I’ve not made any improvements over the next few months, I cannot see how I can attend an hour and a half group meeting to discuss my anxiety. Despite all of these pointless leads I haven’t given up yet.
I can honestly tell you that this appointment was the worst experience of my life.
The doctor chose to address the note I needed for my application first. She told me she couldn’t write one as anxiety is not an illness, I am therefore not ill. This immediately made me feel terrible. Anxiety ruins every day of my life and makes every day of my life a struggle. I’ve felt suicidal from it at points and still often wonder if there’s any point to my life. She clearly didn’t care about any of this though and unfortunately, this was not where the Doctor decided to stop.
I explained to the Doctor that I don’t want to consider medication as a long-term solution. She basically told me that I was not helping myself and my only options were long-term medication or the tablets that make me feel sick. At this point I began crying because everyday I wake up to fight my mental health and it takes so much out of me. To then be told that I’m not helping myself because I won’t take medication. In addition to this I have made countless phone calls trying to refer myself for counselling, all of which lead to dead ends. I explained to the Doctor that I have suffered with my anxiety and phobia for most of my life and that I was concerned about taking medication long-term because I feel that once I stop taking it I will be back at square one again. When I explained this to a different Doctor a couple of weeks ago he agreed with me and then tried to find an alternative option for me. Today’s Doctor didn’t even bother to ask any questions about how my anxiety affects me, how it makes me feel and yet here she was telling me if I’m not taking medication then I’m not seen to be helping myself.
I was then told that plenty of people take medication for their anxiety and are able to work. I wonder if I had gone in with a physical disability if she would have told me that plenty of people with a disability are able to work with so-and-so medication – or perhaps she would view a physical problem as a ‘real’ illness?
I was sat there sobbing and this woman didn’t even offer me a tissue. I know this is a silly little thing but I think it tells you a lot about someone. I know Doctors have a very important job but they do need to have some level of humanity and compassion, especially when confronting mental health problems. As we all know anxiety and depression are very closely linked but she didn’t even take the time to ask if I was also suffering from depression. I felt thoroughly judged and looked down upon because I suffer from a mental health problem. It was like she was already counting the minutes until the next person came into the room, hopefully one with a physical health problem.
I’ve never been made to feel so terrible about myself or my mental health. It was a truly horrible experience that I would not wish on another person. I’ve been sat crying for over an hour now and wanted to vent on my blog. It’s also made me realise that there must be others out there who have had similar experiences and for that I am so sorry.
I now feel like I don’t want to reach out for help again because what if I get another person like her? I’m also scared if other people feel the same as she does, what if everyone around me is secretly thinking this? Do they all just thinking I’m milking a non-existent ailment for sympathy?
This isn’t something I say lightly but I hope one day she gets a first hand experience of mental health problems.