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I’m terrified to go for a medical checkup.

I have generalized anxiety, managed for years with medication and therapy. But after being harassed in the workplace, I suffered a complete breakdown. This coincided with some minor medical issues: mononucleosis and adult chicken pox. I was 39 at the time and ask for a referral to get a mamogram, since I’m large breasted and I was constantly afraid of breast cancer. The mammogram found two lumps, subsequent biopsy showed them to be perfectly normal, I was told women under 40 have naturally lumpy breast, especially larger. A year later, I was in a very deep depression while I was struggling to overcome my breakdown. I got the courage to go for another checkup and was reprimanded my gynecologist for not returning for another test six months later. I didn’t know I was supposed to. But with my anxiety, any kind of reprimand like that makes me run in the opposite direction. I was in such a bad place when she did that, there was no way I could ever go back to her. My psychiatrist agrees that one should never see a doctor who does not provide comfort. But the problem is, this was four years ago. I haven’t had a physical exam, and I’m now 45, I recognize the symptoms of peri-menopause, and I still have daily anxiety about having cancer, which could now be undiagnosed for years. My father died at 51, from a heart attack, I’m all to aware that I NEED to get a checkup, but the idea of finding a new doctor and someone who can be sensitive to my anxiety is bringing me to tears right now. I’m so scared of getting sick, but can’t imagine explaining why I haven’t been for a checkup in four years, knowing if I detect any judgement at all, I may never be able to go back. I don’t know how to deal with this. Any advice?
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Avatar universal
I've developed a similar problem in my old age, though not about regular docs.  This is what GAD does to us.  I didn't have this until stopping a medication gave it to me, so I've had a bad anxiety disorder that didn't include GAD and now doctors have given me one that does.  It really is no fun at all.  The only thing I can say is, it's not the particular events that are causing this, it's your way of thinking.  For example, I'm not sure mental breakdown is a medical term -- it's just a colloquial phrase.  Since you're not dead, you didn't have a complete breakdown.  Why I mention this is to demonstrate the insidious way the way we label our illness can make it worse and worse.  The advice is the same for all anxiety sufferers, at least those whose problem wasn't caused by medication, and that's to get the anxiety problem treated.  In your case, that will include therapy to see if you can fix it but with the severity of your problem you're going to need medication that actually works, and right now you don't have that if you're feeling this much fear.   A checkup is only scary in any real sense because eventually we're actually going to have something that will be traumatic to us -- none of us will go through life without some health problems and none of us will live forever.  But the checkup itself isn't scary at all.  As for your gynecologist, none of us here know what she told you or why at a time when routine mammograms are no longer being recommended for everyone you were recommended to get one.  If there was something there that concerned your doc and she told you to return regularly for more tests, that's on both of you -- you for not doing that and her for not reminding you.  But docs are very busy, very lazy in many ways because ironically of the sheer number of patients they see in order to make as much money as they believe they deserve for suffering through med school, and so they usually forget about you until they're reminded in your next appointment.  Many of them have bad bedside manner, and specialists pretty much all have bad bedside manner.  It's the human ego.  You just have to deal with it.  Doctors have to deal with it when they're patients.  They'll tell you about it if you ask them what it's like when they're patients.  The more you understand the more usually you can do the things you're afraid to do, but when you have an anxiety disorder thoughts get irrational and obsessive, and so you don't think it all out.  We avoid.  Which makes it worse.  Which leads us to want to avoid even more.  Which is why you need to fix the anxiety problem and right now that means medication that works better than what you have now.  Good luck.
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