The Anxiety Of Seeing A Doctor
Resisting visiting a doctor is not an uncommon feeling. Even if we are physically suffering and showing visible symptoms, it takes quite a bit of courage to finally make the call.
Why are we so hesitant? Is it because we don't want to admit to ourselves that we need help? Are we afraid of being vulnerable and facing the psoriasis f-word - failure? I'm not sure if you guys have gone through this, but I have.
Where are these anxious feelings coming from?
Psoriasis already takes so much from us - it can be hard to face that once again, the condition is taking another layer of our freedom. We see and feel specific symptoms appearing on our skin, yet it feels hard to talk about it. This is especially true when it comes to connecting with a health professional.
We're nervous about not receiving the emotional and physical support we need and deserve.
How will I talk about it or explain it?
When those new dark purplish patches appeared and wouldn't go away, I delayed a doctor's visit. Why? Maybe because I was not ready to accept that there was nothing this doctor could do either. I found myself standing alone, overthinking the whole scenario.
What if this doctor does not understand what I am going through? But I still had to visit a dermatologist. My skin was very itching and quite painful.
So, I made the call.
I chose to prioritize my health over my pride. I would have to be brave and figure it out.
I was pretty anxious during the visit. When I entered the room, the dermatologist told me to sit on a chair next to him, and he asked me how I was doing. Of course, I said I was fine.
Time seemed to stop, and I showed him the dark spots on my skin and my swollen fingers. He examined them, and after he asked several questions.
Mostly related to skin symptoms, joint problems, family members with psoriasis, and any recent illness or stress.
A listening ear
After receiving my responses, which he listened to carefully, he asked my permission to perform a biopsy so that he could make a diagnosis. At this point, this was my 4th biopsy, so I knew what to expect. He removed a small piece of my skin and had it examined under a microscope.
With all the information he gathered from me, he told me that I had skin psoriasis, which I already knew.
The doctor then discussed treatment plans with me. He guided me about the products I could use to care for my skin. We talked further about identifying triggers and how I can avoid them. I was given a prescribed medication and told that apart from this treatment plan, the follow-up visits are very important.
The doctor was very supportive and understanding throughout my visits. Upon leaving, he kept motivating me and guiding me about psoriasis without making me uncomfortable or scared.
One more thing...
I had also mentioned to him about having swollen fingers. He recommended I visit a rheumatologist. This triggered my anxiety again - I was already going through a lot due to psoriasis! Upon seeing a rheumatologist, I was asked a series of questions and underwent an examination of some physical symptoms.
Unfortunately, he didn't find anything wrong and thought this was all in my head. That's a whole other story.
A journey of one of several doctor visits.
I shared this because I know many of us who live and manage life with psoriasis. I'm not blind to the physical and emotional toll this chronic condition can take. While we are not willing to visit a doctor despite worsening symptoms, I hope by sharing my experience, I can make you the slightest bit more comfortable and braver in scheduling a doctor's appointment.
From my experience, it's the anxiety holding us back. We might not get the answer we want, but we can choose bravery, my fellow psoriasis warriors. And guess what? We took the first steps.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?