Tackling new health appointments // how to stay cool when the heat is on.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
I just wrote that title and I already feel under-qualified. Honestly, I have to say something. It doesn't really get much easier as time goes on. Sometimes health professionals can help you when you are chronically ill, and sometimes they can't. Sometimes they will actually say the perfectly wrong thing, and you will spend the rest of the day (/week/month) feeling a little bit out of sorts and frustrated.

Sometimes health professionals let you down. Hey, they are human, too. Yes, there is the expectation that they will know more about the human body than you do, but sometimes your body does something that makes no sense and they react to your symptoms in one of a few different ways: they see it as a challenge, and order all kinds of tests; they feel that they have reached the end of their usefulness to you, but hopefully still want to help if they can, so they offer to help you with the stuff they actually understand and to send you to specialists for everything else; they react in the complete wrong way and end up making you feel like you are the problem, not the way your body is acting. That last one really sucks. In my experience, most health professionals are trying to help people, but they sometimes get caught up in reacting from a place of fear - as in, 'I can't fix that and, rather than acknowledging that, I am going to do something different so you can't see how human I am'. That is kind of okay, because they want to save their jobs and livelihoods, and kind of really not okay, because you end up feeling like a big old lump of problem instead of a human being.

All of this sort of thing can go through my head sometimes when I am trying out a new health professional, or a new treatment. Will the person be nice? Will they be able to help me? What happens if it gets worse? Or... what happens if it gets better? All of these are actually really scary things to confront. I just saw a new health professional today and I have to say, I am exhausted.

So, what do you do? Ultimately, there is one main lesson I want you to remember when you are coming up for a new appointment and all of this stuff is swirling in your head: BE NICE TO YOURSELF. That is possibly the best thing you can do. Show yourself some self-love, remind yourself not to stew on things that you don't know the answers to yet, and break the cycle of worrying, because that is just going to make you feel worse. Get yourself a favourite snack or something after the appointment is over - celebrate the fact that you did the thing and just rest for a while before you consider the next step (testing, treatment, repeat appointments, whatever). Being nice to yourself can mean the difference between a good appointment and a really awful one where you are so stressed over everything that you can barely talk about what you need, or connect with the person you are sitting across from.

Be nice to yourself, and chill, and sometimes things just flow a lot smoother.

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