“I’m calling to schedule an appointment,” I said to the woman on the phone. She took down my name, age, birthday, school ID, and told me to come in the following day at 2 o’clock. As soon as the call ended, I screamed.
Just kidding. But I seriously wish I would have.
A quick disclaimer: This is going to be the MOST childish story of anxiety ever.
A quick fact: I haven’t felt the weight of anxiety since August 20th, 2019.
(That’s why anxiety hit me full force when I made that phone call).
Anxiety is brutal. Anxiety suffocates. Anxiety makes you so sick, to the point you can’t even recognize yourself anymore.
I have an extreme fear of the doctor. There aren’t enough words in the Dictionary to correctly define the insidious fear I reserve for the doctor. This isn’t an exaggeration either. If it was, I wouldn’t have been teetering on the verge of a panic attack in the hours leading up to that dreaded appointment.
“I do have one question about the forms you sent me,” I said to the nurse.
“The consent for treatment. I need to be assured that I can still walk out of that room at any moment. I won’t sign it unless I know that I can refuse treatment.”
The nurse laughed. My face remained frozen as ice. Her smile melted into a frown when she noticed I was completely serious.
“Yes, you can walk out. We just need you to sign it because we can’t take your vitals unless you do,” she said slowly, almost like she was worried of phrasing it wrong.
I nodded. I signed the form, and waited. My name was called. A different nurse had me sit in a chair while she took my blood pressure. As the plastic squeezed my arm tightly, it finally hit me: I was here. I was actually doing this.
Most importantly: I was submitting myself to this.
I was allowing this.
My contact-dried eyes went from itchy to tear-stained in seconds, and my face went from ghostly pale to swollen with angry hives. One more minute, and I’d be hyperventilating. 10 more minutes and I’d be lightheaded. 15 minutes and there would be this morning’s Smoothie King splattered on the linoleum floor. 20 more minutes and I’d be covered in cold towels, breathing in pure oxygen from a ventilator.
Thank the Lord of High Heavens, I was wrong. It didn’t go this way. I had a very kind, empathetic doctor who could see that the pain and fear was all too real. The relief I felt when I heard her gentle voice reassure me that I could trust her was more appreciated than she will ever know.
But all that mattered was that it had gone that way in the past… My fear of the past created a thought. That thought created a mindset. That mindset created a disaster. And that disaster created a panic attack that didn’t even need to happen, because there was absolutely no reason to panic.
In my last post, we covered overthinking. I used Phillippians 4:8 as a reality-check for my overactive imagination. What I am starting to realize is that this verse applies to almost everything.
Was it true that I have an extreme fear of the doctor? Yes. Was it noble? No. Was it right? No. Was it pure? No, it was rooted in a fear of being violated. Definitely not pure. Was it lovely? Nope- it really wasn’t. Was it excellent? Far from it. Was it praiseworthy? I have yet to read a verse that says FEAR is praiseworthy.
In order to overcome this crippling anxiety and craven fear, I have to re-shift my focus.
What is true? The doctor will help me. They always have. People do not study and practice medicine without the intention of helping others.
What is noble? The fact I’m facing this fear head-on. I’m running at my Goliath with nothing but a prayer and willpower. And if I recall, that’s all I need.
What is right? Taking care of myself. This means going to the doctor.
What is pure? My desire to improve my health and well-being.
What is lovely? Me. I’m created in the image and likeness of God, and so are you! Whatever the doctor tells me is nothing God doesn’t already know and love. And that, my friend, is so beautiful and comforting a realization.
I urge you to do something this week that requires you to confront fear in the face. Not only will you be surprised at how well you handle the situation with God holding your hand, but also at how completely in control He truly is. The “woah, God’s got this” will hit you like a train. If it doesn’t, you’re not trying (or looking) hard enough.
All the Peace,