Under Pressure


My heart has been racing for days. I don’t get sweaty palms, but this would be the perfect time for it. I’ve been pacing the halls of my home. I have trying to read non-stop – an exhausting and impossible goal. Constantly I find myself breathing deeply, slowly in an effort to slow things down.

The Pressure. It is unnecessary pressure, albeit. Self-imposed, unnecessary, useless, futile. exhausting, cumbersome.

English: An anxious person

Under Pressure!

My mind races through imaginary scenes. I play out scenarios of ‘what if’, in an attempt to change the presumed ending to this story. My Pressure.

I am creating pressure by acknowledging this. My pressure to appear cool, calm, collected. I am none of these. I am anxious, and the anxiety is building by the hour. If you live with an anxiety disorder, perhaps this sounds familiar. However, I am alien to such feelings, such emotions like this.

The question, then, is why? I’ve rolled with most of the punches pretty well. I am doing sort-of okay, not really so much, I’ve been better I’ve been worse, hunky dory, fine thank you very much, not well at all.

It all stems from a doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow.

For perspective on my life, a typical week usually includes anywhere from one to five appointments at a medical facility. I try to limit it to five because, well, that is my limit. No one has my attention after the fifth visit in a week. I have not been feeling well, as noted in a previous post. Frankly, I had to cancel two appointments last week because I felt like poop. There, I said it. I am blessed with very gracious physicians, and one who was particularly merciful prescribed antibiotics over the phone. None of this has led to the anxiety over my overly dramatic moment.

So why do I feel so much pressure? Isn’t this second-nature to spend my time this way, at an appointment?

The pressure isn’t about the medical condition. It isn’t about the physician. I have never met them, in fact. The pressure is simply fear. Specifically, fear of the unknown. Fear of ‘what if’? When I begin repeating my list of ‘what if’ scenarios, my heart rate surges even higher. Apparently I am not alone in this. It has a name: White Coat Hypertension. That should make me feel better. Perhaps I’m halfway normal!

I only recall one other time in the past fifteen years where I experienced this. One year after my initial diagnosis of MS, our family moved several states away. I wasn’t very integrated into the healthcare system, but I had immense trust in my neurologist. He was such a kind soul. He was knowledgeable. He was funny. He loved Hoosier Hysteria and Indiana University basketball. I really can’t much more from a person. A new state, a new city, a new home, and a new neurologist. In case you are wondering, my heart rate is escalating again as I pen this.

Fast-forward fourteen years with me. I had a very good relationship with my newer, younger neurologist. He likes sports, and yes, he is the consummate physician.  I would write what happened next, but that is his story rather than mine. My story is one of – dare I say it? – abandonment. Yes, I feel lost. I feel scared. I feel overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed because I won’t stop playing the ‘what if’ game in my head.

Whether I like it or not, my neurologist moved on to other career opportunities. I am happy for him; truly, I am. That leaves me with a new physician. Tomorrow is my first appointment.

In 24 hours, I will be laughing at such nonsense. Today, I ate a lot of oatmeal with brown sugar. Since I’m confessing everything else, I will admit that is my comfort food. In 24 hours, I will be past that ‘first day of school’ fear. In 24 hours, I will have begun a relationship with a new physician. It will be okay. I know it will because I keep telling myself that it will.

As if on cue, my husband just walked in the door. Yes, he is amazing. He arrived with a Heath Bar. A Heath Bar and a bowl of oatmeal, and I am ready to take on the world. Or at least a new physician.

Face the fear



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16 thoughts on “Under Pressure

  1. literary lew August 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm Reply

    Glad u dropped by today. Hope you come back.


  2. Irene Tron - Joyful in Christ August 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm Reply

    Praying that the Lord will fill you with His peace.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy August 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm Reply

      Thank you. I think one of the best things I did for myself was to put that into writing. Everyone else just caught a glimpse into a hopefully very brief moment in my life. Believing tomorrow will work out great!


  3. thewallacegroupkw August 30, 2012 at 11:19 am Reply

    Can’t even begin to relate to your challenges. Your attitude is your best friend and I’m amazed at how strong you are! Keep the faith!


  4. Ralph August 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I know exactly what you are going through and my heart and thoughts go with you. Take care. Ralph


  5. Wendy Brooks August 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm Reply

    As a nurse and a most recently I was on the patient side of the equation with having major abdominal surgery, I can totally understand where you are coming from. I used to suffer from major anxiety until I refused one day to allow anxiety to control my life. I turned to God and turned everything over to him completely. I replaced the anxiety with prayer, and I Jesus met me right in the midst of my struggle. My heart goes out to you, as well as my prayers. I had to venture out of state where I had the surgery that literally gave me my life back. I had only met the surgeon once, but he turned out to be absolutely fabulous. He was a Christian and prayed with me before my surgery. Held my hand in the OR before I fell off to sleep. Called me and emailed me during my post op period to check on my progress. Having worked in healthcare for almost 14 years, I have never come across a surgeon with such an awesome bedside manner, and such genuine care and compassion for his patients. If all doctors could be like this we would never have anything to be anxious over right. I will keep you in my prayers. Blessings.


  6. rebeccafletcher9 August 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm Reply

    I won’t try to elaborate past the wonderful job you’ve already done. Suffice it to say, going to a new doctor is horrifying. I pray that your anxiety will drop and your relationship with your new doctor will grow.


  7. Overwhelmed By Joy August 31, 2012 at 8:35 am Reply

    Thank you so much for your encouragement and your prayers. The visit went much better than I anticipated or really could have asked for. That fear of the unknown gripped me for a day, but I expect a good relationship for the future. I really don’t like change. 🙂 Off to another appointment today, and no anxiety issues!


  8. Sharmishtha Basu September 1, 2012 at 7:28 am Reply

    hope stress was relieved after meeting the doctor. i know what you are talking about. i used to feel like that before every exam and results.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 1, 2012 at 9:00 am Reply

      Thank you for asking about the appointment. Yes, I was overreacting completely. The change in physicians after 14 years was quite disconcerting, but I think the new PA is going to be a great asset to their medical team. The comparison to test-taking is a very apt description!


  9. pam2paige September 1, 2012 at 11:39 am Reply

    Wow! What you have written laid down what I truly felt too when I need to go for my MRI last two weeks ago. Few months ago, I had a tumor removed, and since then, I have to attend check ups and MRI scans time to time again. It’s the fear of regrowth, my heart raced wildly at the thought of entering the tunnel. But love conquers fear, and welcome life with joy. I’m very much inspired by your writing and your attitude to life.


  10. fruitonthefrontline September 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I pray you are finding love, comfort and peace since you wrote this. Are you happy with your new physician?


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm Reply

      Thank you so much. I met with a new PA they hired recently, and was very impressed. I feel much more confident about the change in doctors, She will also be treating my mom for her Alzheimer’s, so I felt a lot of additional responsibility for overseeing her neurological needs as well.


  11. monicles September 3, 2012 at 9:11 am Reply

    Best wishes going forward with your new doctor. I’ve had the recent good fortune in finding new two new medical specialists who are genuinely good people in addition to being superb clinicians.


  12. shyle lu September 18, 2012 at 6:43 am Reply

    You are a woman of unfathomable courage and strength…my salute and respect goes to you no questions asked. I wish you well.


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