20899328 tn?1596332780

haven't been to a doctor in 10 years due to anxiety.

so let me be the first to say hello. i am new to this community but glad to have found it.

37 year old female here with some anxiety about certain things. i was diagnosed with panic disorder about nine years ago after having my first panic attack. and while i haven't had a panic attack in well over a year, i still struggle with one thing that terrifies more than anything in this world - going to see a doctor.

i am currently in therapy for everyday struggles and i have brought this up with my therapist a few times. to be honest, it's never been brought up by me in a serious fashion; i mainly say it then continue talking about the next thing. but my anxiety about going to a doctor is so bad that i haven't been to one in a decade now.

i am terrified of medications. so much so that i haven't taken so much as a vitamin or even tylenol in the past ten years. not one thing. no herbal remedies, no herbal teas - nothing.

i have a weird fear of drug allergies, so i have no doubt that this plays into the lack of me taking medications, even over the counter ones... but my fear of going to the doctor is hearing them tell me something is wrong with me. i am deathly afraid of death or sickness. in my 37 years of lifel i have never had the flu. i get sick with a common cold maybe once evert 3-5 years if that. i do get seasonal allergies but again...only happens every few years. it's not every single year like most.

but there is a huge part of me that is pushing me to go, but another part of me that is telling me not to. especially with COVID-19 going around. i am just terrified and trying to see if there's anyone else out there that has been in this spot where they're afraid to go to the doctor AND DON'T or actually haven't.

i should add that my same fear goes toward the dentist as well. i have not been to one in about 12 years, luckily, i have good teeth that cost my parents thousands i am sure back in the day -- but i just cannot pull myself to go there or the doctor.

anyone else? or has anyone else gone this long without going to a doctor and then did? how did it go for you?
6 Responses
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Avatar universal
I am the exact same as you! Wow, I really thought I was the only one that felt like you just described, I mean precisely.  So be what did you do? Did you finally go?
Helpful - 0
Thread is 3 years old, so you won't get an answer. If you are also afraid of seeing a dentist, you will be really afraid if minor cavities develop due to not being treated because they can cause serious health problems. I suggest you see a therapist soon about this phobia, because they might be able to save you a lot of regret down the road.
Hello, welcome. You are definitely NOT alone. Health anxiety is a real thing. I think I'd probably avoid the doctor if our insurance wasn't set up to force me. We get a surcharge if we do not get an annual physical. It got me back to the doctor when I'd avoided it. And then to get that doctor to calm down, I started doing some of the things they told me. I now see my gp every year for a physical, see my ob/gyn every year for a pelvic exam, I get a mammo probably every two or three years, etc. My sister? Has not been to a doctor in years.

There is like a dread and fear that is there that causes us to not make the appointment. I found that if I MAKE the appointment, I'll go. So, I wait until it's a 'good day' and say yes, I can do it and set up the appointment. Once that's done, I feel better. Then I get super nervous day of. But I know that I will which helps me deal with the emotions/fear. I don't know why some of us suffer this. But we do.  Sigh

And it helps to talk to the doctor about anxiety when there. Cause it's all part of the general anxiety disorder we may have. I don't take anything for anxiety but it's in my chart. They are aware, I'm aware. I then get to decide how it impacts me.

Start by getting the doctor's numbers ready to go and where you can easily find it. They probably have a bit of a wait list to get in or appointments down the road. So, it may be a bit before you actually go. But just find out who you want to see and then get the number ready and then set up the appointment in steps. Let me know if you think you can!  I'm pulling for you. hugs
Avatar universal
I thought I wrote the this.  I understood every word.  Also have severe anxiety myself, am also 37, and also had my first major panic attack 9 years ago.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
There is no answer.  I also fear going to doctors. I make myself go, but it ruins my life.  In general, I have no other phobias.  The reason is logical-- doctors can give you the worse kind of bad news. No oneelse can do that.  
Helpful - 0
I hear ya, nictjenny.  I'm terrible about doctors and dentists.  I sit and stare at my to do list with "make this doctor's appointment" on it for a long time before I can actually force myself to do it.  I often just have to take the plunge.  And once I do, I usually feel a little better.  To day, I've thought I have had some very serious health issues and really haven't when I saw the doctor.  So, MOST of the time, doctors do not give us bad news. When they do . . . they also often offer treatment to recover from the ailment. Avoiding that can make whatever health concern you have even better. But this is all logical thinking that health anxiety doesn't like.  https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/always-worried-about-your-health-you-may-be-dealing-with-health-anxiety-disorder
1353681 tn?1387083733
Hi there.. I have not been to a dentist in probably ten years now, or maybe 11 or 12. That is a rough estimate. For me it is because I have jaw pain a few days a week, from TMJ. I fear it will ache too much getting a cleaning, and it can REALLY hurt all through the temple area , and jaw. I guess I could simply ask the dentist, can we take a break every minute or two? To rest my jaw? But I still fear it , that it'll hurt so much. I do go to doctors, BUT, I get REALLY anxious when having my blood pressure taken. EVERY time. For years. It's like the fear you have, that something will be 'wrong'.  That it'll be serious. EVEN though my BP has never been too high, I still wonder, what IF it's high this year? And what happens is I'll get so nervous in the office that from BEING nervous about it, MAKES it go high. ughhhh. But my doc can typically get an accurate reading at the end of the session and she'll check it while I'm talking/not paying attention. Just know that you'll live LONGER the more you know about your cholesterol readings, blood pressure etc. There are simple pill s to take if they are high. *huggg* I didn't know many adults DO have anxiety going to the doctor, so just say, "I'm nervous about the visit." (when you see the doc) It will be OK, it truly will friend. Remember, going only helps you overall- you are NOT going to die, or have something be terribly wrong- that statistically is VERY low... Ok ???? :)  Remember it is your fear talking, NOT TRUTH.  Did you ever have a time in an office that made you fear death more, or it's just a general fear of death overall? One of my fave quotes (I Have a lot of anxiety in daily life) is from Eckhart Tolle..he's AMAZING. 'We are timeless, deathless creatures.' So remember there really may be No such thing AS death. You'll be JUST fine if you make that physical appointment.  :)
Helpful - 0
Well, dentists who specialize in TMJ can treat that.  Some other professionals have had some success as well.  But a good dental cleaning often leaves teeth and gums tender whether you have TMJ or not.  The BP thing is one of the weird things in medicine.  Fear of having it taken is one of the most common fears in doctor's offices, yet it's one of the easiest and pain free things they do.  So it's also common for people to test higher than their normal levels because of this common anxiety.  And I just want to say, those pills aren't so simple.  They are way overprescribed and any medication can have unwanted harmful effects.  I don't say this to frighten anyone, but I tend to always put an alert out when anyone talks about any medication being simple or harmless, because none of them are.  They are either necessary or they are not.  If not, you try something else first.  BP for most people can be handled without meds.  If you do measure high, get retested to make sure it wasn't an anomaly and explore with your doctor how to deal with it without medication if it's not an immediate problem.  Fixing it through exercise and diet actually cures the problem, while medication just medicates it.  Save the meds for those with serious problems.  Again, not trying to scare anyone.  The opposite, actually, things that seem bad are quite often not when looked at more closely.  Peace, all.
Look, I don't think this say what I wanted it to say, which is what I said above, that if you do like me and avoid dentists and doctors things get worse and that makes anxiety worse, not better.  Don't think I said it very well!  
i understood your comment and appreciate that you took the time to respond. i think my anxiety regarding doctors/health stems from a long history of mistreatment by doctors in the past. i have been told a time or two that i could write a novel. outside of that, i just wish it were that easy where i could pick up the phone and make an appointment. but with COVID going around right now? it makes it even harder for me to make that move/call.
Thanks so much Paxiled
Avatar universal
Avoiding makes anxiety worse.  I'm the poster boy for that.  I've had agoraphobia for many years, but I was never afraid of going to dentists and doctors.  I got there when a medication I decided to stop taking under the care of a psychiatrist destroyed my emotional and neurological system and over the years I have become terrified of making decisions, especially about seeing doctors.  And I need to see them about several things that won't fix themselves.  Now, for me, this resulted from just a lot of plain bad luck with medical professionals.  Until my fifties I had no major problems with doctors or dentists.  Things went as they were supposed to.  After the drug situation was completely mishandled by my psychiatrist, it set off a baffling set of years of just awful medicine and dentistry being performed on me.  Just ask my wife -- she just can't believe that this keeps happening to me.  But you know what, it's not going to happen to you or anyone else on here.  Bad luck runs just happen sometimes, but I had more good years before that than bad ones.  So here' s the thing:  you don't actually need medication right now, and Tylenol is one of the most liver destructive drugs we have, and if you don't have a need for herbal remedies you don't need them.  But one thing you have no idea of is the health of your teeth, and waiting a long time to see a dentist will just make it worse for you.  The same is true for the hidden things that build up when we get older.  Now, do keep on your toes -- don't get pollyannish about it, keep your sense of skepticism about medicine and dentistry.  It will come in handy.  But avoiding things don't make them go away.  As you age, life will get you.  It gets everyone.  Keeping up with your preventative care pushes the point where it gets you off into the distance, which is a very good thing.   Listen to Mom above and see a dentist and get a physical.  You always get to decide whether something gets done and who does it.  Peace.
Helpful - 0
thanks for your response, it is much appreciated.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  I am so glad you found this forum and I completely relate.  I have some fear around this myself.  Basically, I worry something is wrong with me and I don't want to hear it.  Weird as that would be the worst thing for me IF there was something wrong, right?  Like shooting myself in the foot.  I also had a very bad experience with my first mammogram.  I went from a routine mammogram to a breast surgeon immediately for biopsy.  I did not have cancer as it turned out and was on a strict schedule for a year and a half of mammograms.  (every 6 months).  Then, bam.  I had so much anxiety about the whole thing that I didn't get another mammogram.  Then it built and built.  What I finally did was have an excellent doctor who got what I was going through.  She didn't judge or shame. She explained that for her, it's a pit of snakes that sends her over the edge.  The thought of getting into that would be almost too much for her. And that the mammogram was the pit of snakes.  She gave me a xanax to get the job done.  Ha.  I didn't actually take it but it helped to know I could and that I wasn't just being stupid to be afraid.  The fear was real.  And someone who understands really helps!  She had me make the appointment while in her office, I left with the xanax for the appointment (again, didn't actually take it) and had the mammogram, everything was fine.  I also understand about the dentist!  Easy to get behind schedule in that too and we build the fear there as well.  

So, do you have anyone supportive in your life?  Can they help you with this?  Do you have a doctor and dentist to call?  My dentist retired a while ago and I didn't get a referral to anyone else so I had to start from scratch finding someone.  That was hard.  So, hopefully you have both a doctor and a dentist.  If not, ask for recommendations.  I think telling them that you have anxiety really helps.  They understand these things.  

I have a specialist that I really need to see as well.  I have put it off and off and off.  Now, I'm worried I will be sorry for doing so.  I get myself talked into calling for the appointment and then I don't.  I say "next month".  I think we should encourage each other to bite the bullet and just set up the appointment. Once we do that, it's done.  Then if we need the xanax or the non xanax but mental comfort that we get however we get it to go?  So be it. The appointment is set and it will be alright.  

I will tell you that I was on cloud 9 after I went for my mammogram I'd put off.  I called a friend who nailed it . . . she said it must feel so good to not have that on my list of worries.  And it did!  

So, let's make an appointment today.  I will if you will.  :>)))  
Helpful - 0
I sure hope you come back and connect with me.  :>)
hello - for some reason i never got notifications from this post. i apologize that i never got back to you, but i promise that i am still here. it is just so much easier said than done, especially with covid going around right now. as if i wasn't terrified of doctors' offices before - now i am x200!
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