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Author Topic: Why Can't I Just Believe The Doctor? Overcoming Repeat Testing Compulsions  (Read 219 times)

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Offline VeryScary

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I read lots about hypochondria/health anxiety and the different causes, etc. But I never read much about this constant inability to trust doctors - all while seeking them out incessantly. Does anyone have anything they say to themselves when they just can't believe the doctor?

Since March, I've had a biopsy, pap smear, ultrasound and now my latest, a trip to the dermatologist to evaluate something I thought looked frightening on my hand. I didn't believe any of them until some magical time period passed; after I got today's verdict (either normal skin or at worst, a small wart. Definitely not a mole or cancer.) I still felt myself questioning.

The worst part is that I used to be better than this: At age 19, when I had the first of my approximately 3,000 C-word scares, all a doctor had to do was push on my stomach and say "no ma'am, I don't think so" and that worked. As the years went by, it became "well if one doc says it ok, but if TWO say it...". And that has brought me to where I am now - where I just don't trust any type of evaluation, done by any number of doctors.

I also find that the staying power of my reassurances (I already know reassurances don't work!) has gotten more and more brief. I recently went through this "my period won't come and it will be c-word!" thing; it started that the worrying would begin a week after the cycle ended. Now the worrying begins about the new cycle on day two of the current one.

WOW.

I guess I'm just needing a different type of support today. I need to hear how someone overcame retesting and retesting and retesting (I know we all test, but I think there's a special group of us who do the repeats)
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Offline samandthecity

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Hi, I do the same thing. I can totally relate about the reassurance disappearing quickly. I used to go to the doctor and he'd say I was fine and that would be the end of it, until next time. Now I leave the doctors and I feel better for two seconds and then I'm like, "but maybe I didn't explain this properly, or I forgot to mention this symptom, or Google says otherwise" or whatever. It's very frustrating. I have a CT in two days to check out some headaches and dizziness I've been having....funny though, when I get side tracked, the headache goes away, and when I remember about it, it comes back. Funny how that works huh?
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Offline VeryScary

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I'm actually trying to regress to that time when all it took was that one visit...because honestly you reach a point where there are no answers.

Then what.
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Offline kcg13

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I think it begins with finding one doctor you can trust - one primary care physician or ob/gyn that you took the time to pick out and trust.  Most likely you find this dr through referrals from people you trust.  And then you have to see this dr a few times to build the trust - so this is no quick thing.  Then you don't go to urgent cares or hospitals - you take the issues to your dr so they know what is totally going on with you.  Then - the hard part - you really have to let the dr be the dr.  If the dr orders tests, you get the tests done and that is that.  If the dr doesn't order tests because he/she feels you don't need it, then you don't get those tests done - no special requests and no playing dr yourself!  That is no easy thing to do and it takes alot of mental stamina and determination - trusting your dr has your best interest in mind.  No googling any stories. You have to accept what the dr says and move on.  It is very hard to do.  I have been there before - I had to accept and move on.  I did it.  But I needed to really decide to be strong about it, and I had to really push through all of my anxiety fighting techniques to help me through this - exercise, diet, sleep, distraction, distraction, distraction, and positive self talk - that's a big one for me.  By not giving in to the feelings (of seeking another dr's opinion), you will break the habit - it takes time, and you can't give in.  You can do it.  Hope this helped a little.
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Our thoughts dictate our emotions .... in other words, how you think is what you will feel.

Offline patmob

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The problem with doc visits is that after we leave our minds "re-create" the visit and insert stuff that wasn't actually there and remove stuff that was but doesn't fit into our preconceived notions.

One of the best doc visits I had was last month - before the visit I told my wife (very supportive) that I wanted her at the visit so she came - once at the doc I told him "I'm at the point where I can't tell if my anxiety is causing my symptoms or my symptoms are causing my anxiety and I can't discern what is a real, problematic symptom and what is all in my mind."

It was actually very freeing to have said that to the both of them.

He asked me a bunch of questions and adjusted my meds.  I felt significantly better within a couple of days.  He also offered me some additional testing, I asked him if he thought I needed those tests or if he was offering them to me for my reassurance.  He said they would be for my reassurance.  I said then I don't want the tests.

That was several weeks ago and I have had a pretty good couple of weeks.  When my anxiety starts to act up, my wife who was at the visit and took notes, is able to remind me of what actually happened at the doc visit, not what I think happened. 
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Offline smmaho

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I can totally relate. This is where I was a year ago but since then I have really worked on my anxiety and I'm still not perfect but I don't need reassurances anywhere near as much and I 80% of the time I believe the doctors and accept it which is great for me. Find a dr you can trust (mine is a long term family GP) who is aware of you anxiety and can work alongside you. Wishing you all the best :)
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Offline marc

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A psychologist client of mine told me that tests reassurance value have the
half life of a bed of lettuce. When symptoms continue, it is difficult to believe that
nothing is actually wrong.
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If you're going through hell, keep going.
Never, Never, Never, give up.

Offline Rob783

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I can relate to you guys.  I was having mild chest pain and swore I was having some heart problems.  I went to the docs and my h/r was elevated, so he sent me next door to a cardiologist that did and ecg.  It was a neat experience literally seeing your heat beating.  Anyway he found nothing and my fears were unfounded.  Short of something drastic like exploratory surgery there's no more test that can be done.  I just excepted the fact my anxiety was causing it.


   One theory is that we're raised from birth in western medicine to believe if your sick you take a pill to fix it.  Obviously with anxiety a pill doesn't always work, and also mental illness is still somewhat taboo.  I DONT HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS! It must be a brain tumor, MS, stomach cancer, or blood disease causing my problems.  THE MIND CANT DO THIS, CAN IT?  We say that to ourselves till we exhaust our medical testing and see a therapist.  Then the therapist must deprogram a lifetime of learning nervous habits.   
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