I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. It was not until I began seeing a therapist in my late 20s that I realized that what I experienced as anxiety and panic on a regular basis was not the norm for all people. At the time I started therapy, I had trouble breathing most of the time and could not seem to get through the day without weeping.
With a wonderful therapist, I learned several techniques for how to cope with my anxiety. Eventually, I went on medication to help temper the effects and to give myself a little chemically induced boost in the direction of grounding. My intention has been and continues to be to create a routine of natural practices that bring my anxiety to a more manageable level that will allow me to stop using medication as an aid.
To those who do not suffer from extreme anxiety, this may seem like a non-issue. I mean, it is just anxiety, right? Life is stressful. It’s all in my head. Chill out.
For me, anxiety manifests and is triggered in many ways, and it is not an easy condition to live with. It is not also an easy condition to communicate to peers, colleagues, or even to medical professionals. It feels somehow shameful to me to explain why I take certain medications, as if I have somehow failed as a human specimen because I have trouble with the most basic of human functions without medication.
An even greater frustration is that I recognize on a cognitive level that I should be able to breathe and function without anxiety. I live a wonderful existence and am loved and supported by many people. Why the anxiety? And why can’t I just get over it.
I recently called to a doctor, who had been recommended to me by a friend, to see if they were accepting new patients. The secretary asked me to answer a survey that the doctor would then review. I finally received a call back four days later and was told that the doctor would not see me because she did not feel qualified to help with my needs. When I asked what that meant, I was told she did not feel comfortable filling a prescription for my panic and anxiety. The prescription medication I take is quite common and one prescribed by my previous therapist. I asked the secretary if it would help for the doctor to connect with my therapist. She told me that the doctor would see me if another health professional would prescribe my medication.
It occurred to me that this was a dance with the universe I was not going to finish, so I ended the call.
I reflected in the silence for a while, wondering why I felt so shocked by the rejection and realized that I had been rejected without ever even being considered. I was being discriminated against for a condition I could not help and for which I was seeking medical assistance.
I have been under the impression all of these years that medical professionals were both professional and in the healthcare realm for help and to care for people who reached out to them. Isn’t there a Hippocratic oath that doctors proscribe to? More and more, I am finding that healthcare for any being in this country has become an industry and a business and more about the ego of the medical professional than about the wellbeing and regard for those in need.