Project preparation: If you’re planning to start an exercise routine, especially if you haven’t been active in a while or if you have health issues, it’s best to check with your doctor first. Join me preparing for my upcoming exercise routines!
Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Have you ever put off medical appointments because you were afraid that something could actually be wrong? Because I have. Except for two compulsory work-related examinations, I haven’t seen a doctor in years! Fear of doctors is so common that they even have a name for it: Iatrophobia.
I’ve always been happiest when I was in good shape, so I decided that I want to be more active again. I am planning to start running and to do some HIT (High intensity interval training), and I hope to motivate some of you to follow my lead by blogging about it. Since I’m in my thirties and there is a history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and thyroid issues in my family, now is the time to get checked out and cleared for exercise!
This is my approach to overcome my fear of doctors and to take care of my physical health, hoping it can help some of you do the same:
1. Make a list of doctors you need to see, e.g.:
- GP appointment (routine check-up and referrals)
- cardiologist (EKG and ultrasound of the heart)
- dermatologist (mole on my thigh)
- dentist appointment (routine check-up)
- gynecologist (routine check-up)
2. Take a deep breath…
…and feel gratitude to live in a country where all these options to take care of our health exist.
3. Ask for recommendations
Friends and family can help you to find doctors that are competent and trustworthy. If you don’t have a doctor, or need to find a specialist, ask around for recommendations for each doctor on your list. Write down the names on your list, and get their phone numbers.
4. Take a deep breath…
…and remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself. By taking these steps, you are taking great care of yourself!
5. Make appointments
For me this has always been one of the trickier parts, because I have a strong dislike for phone calls with strangers. In some countries, they have online scheduling platforms where you can just book your appointment. If this is not an option and the phone calls are stressing you out, ask a friend to be there when you go through the list an make each appointment. If you feel that making the appointments is absolutely overwhelming, ask a friend to do it for you.
6. Take a deep breath…
…this is a milestone! Congratulate yourself for coming this far, you’ve actually taken action! Remember to do something nice today to celebrate your success!
7. Go to the appointments
You’ve committed to seeing a doctor (or more than one in my case), the only thing that is left to do is to go to the appointment and get it over with! If you’re afraid, ask a friend or family member to come with you, or at least pick you up when you’re done, so you have a familiar face around for comfort. Take something nice to read to the waiting room, and while you’re there, concentrate on the fact that you are taking care of yourself in this moment, rather than dwelling on fears of a bad diagnosis.
If you can, plan to do anything that you truly enjoy after the appointment (a nice meal, a bath, a walk in the park), so you have something to look forward to. You did it, you were brave, and you did something wonderful for yourself!
Do you have any thoughts or stories that you’d like to share about your fear of doctors? Leave a comment!