Really why? Haven’t you ever wondered this? Sure we may need them for medication, checkups, or therapy, but the real power to heal is withing US.
It took me almost 30 years of living with panic attacks, social anxiety and panic disorder to finally come to this conclusion.
I remember for years feeling very much at the mercy of whoever was treating me at the time. Here’s just one colorful example of a doctor playing God in my life…
20+ years ago I was riddled with high levels of anxiety and multiple panic attacks every day. I was almost completely housebound and I was 100% dependent on my medication to be able to go to work.
I was seeing a psychologist at the time who was confident she could help me with CBT. After all she was an expert in the field of anxiety disorders. And I was paying cash.
Part of her plan was to help me learn to be ok while expanding my comfort zone outside of the house. I lived in Manhattan at the time and she would give me homework assignments to walk so many blocks north of my apartment and then the same amount of blocks south of my apartment.
She also made me tapes to listen to on my headphones to help me with things that were really hard for me to do at the time, like using the elevator, standing in lines, and more.
The good doctor also was confident she could successfully wean me off my tranquilizers, which as I said I was completely dependent on at the time.
Her plan was to dole out what she felt I needed for the week starting with half my usual dosage, divided into 4 daily dosages, and then hide the bottle in her office. She said that way I would know the medicine was there in case I needed it, safely in her care.
Hello? It was Locked Up In Her Office. I had no access to this woman except for my weekly 45 minute session. I didn’t like this idea at all, but who was I to question this doctor? After all she was the expert.
It was awful.
I remember my panic attacks came on worse than ever during that time. I’m sure I was in full blown benzodiazepine withdrawal to have my meds halved so abruptly. Knowing what I know now about bendodiazepine withdrawal treatment guidelines, that was also dangerous to me. You have to decrease your meds very slowly over time, not just take a high dosage and cut it in half.
After a few weeks like this, I was pretty much reduced to living in a complete anxiety state. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t talk. I was scared to be in my apartment and scared to be outside my apartment.
At around this time in her freaky medieval game of “hiding my medicine” in her office, she told me she was going out on maternity leave and this would be our last session. She was going to be a stay at home mom going forward. (She always wore baggy dresses so I couldn’t tell she was pregnant and she never once disclosed this to me).
I burst out crying.
All those weeks of suffering and drug sickness came pouring out and I just felt so abandoned. Right on the spot, no more therapy. She assured me she would refer me to someone who she highly recommended and that he would be able to help me even more.
I don’t think she meant any harm with the medicine withdrawal hiding game, but her exit strategy with me was less than kind, in my opinion.
I did feel like she was treating me like some poor mental patient who couldn’t help herself and handing my life over to the next doctor at her whim.
That was just one in a long line of doctors I have seen over the years who said they could manage my anxiety and they could help me improve significantly.
Why do doctors keep us in the dark?
Why don’t they talk about the body’s wonderful, innate ability to heal itself, and that given the correct mindset (learning to relax and working on gentle exposure therapy) anxiety sufferers can certainly heal and go on to lead happy and productive lives of quality?
The only doctor who sent me that message loud and clear was the late Dr. Claire Weeks though her wonderful books.
I discovered- far too late in my life- that the only person I needed to be dependent on to get better… was me.
Seriously though, why don’t doctors tell people suffering with anxiety that we can get better? Do they have that little faith in us?
To be fair, maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it either, but I honesty cannot recall one doctor ever telling me once- Jill you really can get better. You have what it takes.
Maybe it’s not their job?
Do they want or like us to be dependent on them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
I wish you peace,