Getting over my dread of calling the doctor
March 9, 2013 6:35 AM Subscribe
I am filled with dread when I think about calling to make a doctor's appointment. I need to get over it so I can get help for depression. Help?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I am enormously fortunate to have insurance and a doctor, but I am scared of calling to go see him. I have only ever been a handful of times, and it was only when things became physically intolerable. He and his staff have always been super nice and helpful, but making those appointments filled me with incredible dread. Even when I am indisputably sick and clearly not getting better on my own, I will punch the numbers in my phone and then erase them for hours. There is no rhyme or reason to my fear, but it's there and it's real. So that's the back story.
For the past ten or so years I have felt depressed on and off. I am suicidal a couple of times a year. I'm not suicidal now, but I think I'm getting depressed again. A few years ago I started keeping a diary to keep track of when I felt my most depressed, to see if it coincided with anything (time of year, menstrual cycle) and it has no pattern that I can see. I used to cut myself, which is embarrassing to admit, but it felt good because it gave me a clear, calm thing to focus on without any outside thoughts troubling me. I haven't done it for years, but nothing else gave me comfort and relief like that. Sometimes I am not depressed at all, and the whole thing seems like a bad dream that I'm waking up from.
When I'm depressed is when I can least stomach the idea of picking up the phone and making an appointment and sharing my problem with the super nice lady in the office. At least for my other appointments I was clearly sick and had physical symptoms, and even then I found it extremely hard to call. Here is what I tell myself to try to convince myself to do it: I need help. They've heard and seen it all. The conversation will be an unremarkable part of their day. Millions of other people talk on the phone with no problems. Millions of other people are depressed. Despite the sensible self-talk, I have managed to avoid taking this step for years. Less constructively, I also tell myself that if I somehow screwed up my courage and just made the damn appointment already, I would be so embarrassed that I'd downplay everything and slink away after wasting everyone's time. Or there won't be an opening for six months, so why bother? Or he'll want me to see a therapist and then I can go through the phone thing again, with the added terror of talking to strangers and going to a new place. When I am not depressed, I think I actually could man up and make an appointment and get help like an adult, but I always just put it off because hey, I feel great, what was I so upset about?
So, this was a lot of awful personal details, but mainly I am looking for advice in just getting through the phone call to make an appointment. Give me a phone script. A story about how you got over your fear of the phone. Anything to help me take this step.