Why Don’t Doctors Tell Us We Can Get Better?


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.

All this was useful. It was good exposure therapy. And listening to the audio tapes helped me retrain my negative self talk.

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?you can do it

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,

Jill G.

image source

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Why Don’t Doctors Tell Us We Can Get Better?

  1. maz says:

    Well just don’t get me started. I went to a so called CBT expert the guidelines were 16 x 2 hour sessions. She firstly told me i wasnt ill i thought hello i was a mess who couldnt function she managed maximum 15 minute sessions and told me off like a small child throughout and after 3 sessions with her I couldn’t go back to see her because I feared for my mental health in her hands. Then I went to the phichiatric nurse on the same team. He sent me for tests and said he would discuss my case at a team meeting At my next meeting 2 weeks later he didn’t even come into the room sending a trainee social worker. Through all of this I went backwards at a rapid rate of knots and just walked away. Now I work with my GP who is wonderful he was mortified

    I wrote a letter to their superiors saying basically they should all be digging holes in roads and should have nothing to do with vulnerable patients

    So I agree the best treatment come from within us and support of friends and family but most importantly from within

    Take care
    Maz x

    • JillG says:

      Hi Maz,

      I’m sorry you had to go through all that. We are in such vulnerable states when we finally seek help, to be treated poorly like your examples is to me unconscionable. Unfortunately this happens all to frequently. I have a few horror stories myself. It adds more trauma and suffering to us when we are already hurting so badly.

      The important thing is you have a doctor now that you trust and that works with you. And more importantly, that you’re finding your strength from within to help yourself heal.

      Thank you so much for the comment! x

  2. Zoe says:

    Wow. I have been lucky I guess. Both of your stories are terrible. It takes great courage to ask for help – I’m so sorry you guys had to deal with those stupid people! I think you have both been dealing with this panic crap for longer than me and my heart goes out to you. It is so miserable! I hope you have both found a good support system now!
    I researched everything on the internet before I talked to my doctor, so I kind of knew what I wanted to try before I walked in there. My doctor was wonderfully supportive. I honestly don’t think she had much experience dealing with anxiety/panic attacks but she listened to me. She heard me out and then did some of her own research before prescribing anything. She actually told me she was going to look into it more and then call me at home. And she did :)

    I think many doctors don’t know better. Hopefully that will change soon! And it seems to me that a lot of doctors have that “I am God. I can heal you” thing going on. Sounds like that’s what that mind-playing medicine-hiding doctor was doing! How awful! She obviously had no understanding of how this really works! I bet that was pure hell Jill!
    I agree that my recovery is up to me. BUT I am so grateful that I do not have to go it alone. I have a great doctor. My books are my friends. And I have YOU GUYS!
    :)

  3. maz says:

    I’m so glad you have a good doctor Zoe it really is the most important thing to know your doctor is batting in your corner

    I always think no infact I know the only ones who truly understand anxiety and panic are those who have walked a day in our shoes. In saying that I would gladly throw these shoes out anytime and wouldn’t wish this on anyone

    You take care

    Maz xxx

  4. JillG says:

    Maz cracks me up. Time for new shoes! Your doctor sounds amazing Zoe. You know, I don’t mean to come off sounding like I’m bashing all doctors or anything. I know there are good ones, my current GP is very nice. There are just a lot of weirdos out there.

  5. maz says:

    Yey news shoes girls I like that idea

    Maz xxx

  6. maz says:

    Supposed to say new not news oh well I am a year older

    Maz xx

  7. Robbie says:

    Thanks for your post. It must have been horrible not having your medication. Doctors do keep us in the dark about a lot of things, but I believe they actually don’t know. But they can’t tell us or we would lose confidence in them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>