Recently I’ve decided to stop bringing my partner to all my appointments. Partly because they keep getting rescheduled last minute, but also because it’s not fair on them. My partner has to take a lot of time off to come to my many appointnets. My fear of going somewhere new or even just going to a new ward at a hospital I’ve been to before, needs to be ignored.
I’ve suffered from agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder for almost two decades now. As a result, I’ve had a huge problem with going outside, especially in the earlier years of the manifestation of my anxiety disorders. But after living with them for so long and taking some extreme actions to treat myself, my anxiety disorders still spike when I have to go somewhere new.
The fear of going somewhere new isn’t entirely rational, but it feels like it’s due to the reduced control you have over the situation. If you don’t know the area, then how can you know you won’t get lost? What the best way to get away and back home is? Or where you can go to collect yourself if you have a panic attack. These are the kinds of thoughts that drive this fear.
My anxiety disorders are managable in areas I’m really familir with, like going to the shops near my place or going into town where I do my proper food shopping. However, with stuff like going somewhere new or going to an appointment my anxiety and fear spike.
The reason this is a problem is because my anxiety disorders can cause psychotic episodes. This is thanks to one unforutnate event involving a truck load of alcohol and drugs, and some well meaning friends, that changed my life forever: Drug Induced Psychosis And My Anxiety Disorders.
I’ve always known the only reason I asked them to come with me is to make my anxiety easier to handle, but that’s pretty selfish. I also don’t want my needs to damage my partners career due to taking too much time off just to come to my appointments.
More often than not, I’ve been to these hospitals so often that it’s not like I’m going to somewhere unfamiliar anymore. Yet, I still want my partner to come with me just to make my fear easier to handle.
Weirdly, I went to my second MRI (Quick Post About My MRI Trip) on my own without really thinking about it. I don’t know why I still prefered to take my partner to my other appointments when I didn’t feel the need to for MRI appointment.
Thus, I decided enough was enough, I would only ask my partner to come to the really important appointments. All my other appointments I’d go on my own.
So far I’ve done just that. My last few appointments I’ve gone on my own, even though my partner has offered to take the time off work to come with me. I went to My Short Synacthen Test (SST) on my own and to the follow up appointment with my endocrinologist to get the results.
I also went to My Gastrointestinal Appointmentest on my own, as well as to my PIP (Why I Hate Atos And Their Assessments) assessment. Although this was largly because I didn’t want to have to reschedule it due to having to ring them up on the phone. I hate talking on the phone, which is another fear I need to overcome.
I haven’t really used any tips or tricks to overcome my fear of going somewhere new. That work was done a long time ago when I found a way to massively reduce my psychotic episodes. It was just a matter of accepting the fact that it’ll only be a mild discomfort that’ll lessen the more I engage in these actions. Basically, classic graded exposure.
I do still have a few distraction and “busy” strategiess that I use to help manage my anxiety disorders when I leave my place. The one I find most useful is always having my headphones with me so I can listen to music. However, this can sometimes backfire with helping me with my anxiety.
If I’m listening to music but can’t see a display of stops on the train/tube/bus when traveling to a new place then it can vamp up my anxiety instead. This is due to the fear of missing my stop and looking like a fool if I have to travel back the way I just came. Thus, I normally I have it at a level I can enjoy my music distraction but still here the call out for the stops.
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Unwanted Life readers.