Do You Put Off Doctors’ Appointments Due to Anxiety?

Do You Put Off Doctors’ Appointments Due to Anxiety?

Scheduling my own doctors’ appointments was one of the biggest indications I was getting older. I remember how I felt when I first did it about age 18. I hung up the phone feeling so grown.

From then on, I had no problem scheduling all my appointments. It gave me a sense of independence that I had been craving. But earlier this year, I realized that medical appointments were making me anxious. I think it has to do with my diagnosis of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) four years ago.

Before I was diagnosed, I couldn’t explain why my legs weren’t working. I would tell my friends I had been drinking, or that “for some reason, my legs are not listening to my brain.” I would awkwardly laugh it off. I always knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put it together.

I remember telling my mom repeatedly that something didn’t feel right. I felt off. And scared. I was terrified not knowing what was going on inside my body. As my family and I set out on my diagnostic journey, our biggest fears became reality when FA was introduced into our lives.

That was the last time I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for myself.

Although I kept up with a neurologist, Susan Perlman, for clinical trial appointments, I stopped making an effort with my other doctors. I felt an immense wave of fear whenever I was asked about my next appointment, and I didn’t understand why.

A few months ago, I spoke to friends about procrastinating when it comes to making doctors’ appointments. They understood right away. One friend said she has a hard time making appointments. “It seems silly, but it’s a huge trigger. I have like four appointments I need to schedule but I just keep putting it off. Are you ever like that?”

I was shocked by her question because it perfectly described what I was going through at that moment. I told her I was doing the same thing. “I’m scared to see a doctor before I leave for Italy in case something else is wrong,” I said. “Last time I got examined after I felt something wrong, I was diagnosed with FA, so I know exactly what you mean.”

It was as if my emotions were justified by others confirming they felt the same way. Self-reflection with anxiety is stressful enough. I know that contributed to the negative thoughts I was having about myself.

Writing this column led me to make a doctor’s appointment. I asked my mom to come with me for extra motivation and support — and to make sure I don’t bail. I hope to write another column soon with an update that I have seen all the doctors on my list.

Have you ever experienced this? Do you have any tips? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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