Taking Time to Listen

Life has thrown up some challenges over the last few weeks, which have caused me to slide from an overall good patch into a ‘feeling-very-anxious-and-struggling-with-various-physical-symptoms’ phase.

The physical condition I have been diagnosed with is caused by stress and anxiety, and one medication which is used to treat it is the medication I was taking regularly in Switzerland. but which I had to stop taking shortly after I moved here. I started noticing the physical symptoms which eventually sent me to the doctor shortly after I came off my regular dose.

I’ve been struggling with how and when I can take my PRN of this anti-anxiety medication. Although I’ve had moments when I feel I really, really need it, I haven’t been taking it… because I’m scared that if I take it once, I won’t stop taking it.

So this morning found me at the doctors. Ostensibly, I was there to get the results of some blood tests. Inside, I was hoping and praying I could talk about some of the things which are bothering me.

Some of the doctors at my surgery are very much ‘you-have-a-ten-minute-appointment-to-deal-with-one-issue’… so much so that they will remind you of this at the start of your appointment. I was hoping the doctor I was seeing today would not fall into that category.

She was wonderful. She let me talk, and it all came out in a random mass of symptoms and fears and questions and concerns…

We couldn’t find many solutions. But it helped to talk. To talk through the things that are an issue, and why they are an issue, and why it’s not a situation I can easily leave.

She has also done what no-one else bothered to do, and taken the time to go through exactly why they took me off that medication… and to reassure me that I can still take my PRN, and that it is up to the medical staff to monitor my usage, not for me to second-guess it.

I had found information online that suggested that an antidepressant might help with my physical symptoms. She didn’t pooh-pooh this, didn’t tell me off for trying to do her job… but said yes, that could help, but it really needed to be okayed by my psychiatrist. Which is perfectly reasonable.

I’ve now taken a PRN, and although I don’t feel better in myself, I feel listened to, I feel reassured, and I feel hope that there is a way forward through this anxiety.

Doctors, take time to listen. It may well mean the world to your patient. And if, next time, I’m the patient sitting waiting long past my appointment time, I won’t mind… because another time it could be me.

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