Friday, October 05, 2007


I’ve always known it’s hard for survivors of abuse to see doctors. Some of the exams may throw a survivor into flashbacks of abuse. Just being there is a loss of control and that can feel scary to many survivors. But I had another insight this week....

I had to see the doctor. Nothing wrong, just a regular check up. So why couldn’t I sleep the night before? Why this sense of panic even though I like this doctor? Even after the visit, I couldn’t figure it out though I was of course calmer.

Then it hit me. A flash of memory of picking up on my mother’s fears about what the doctor might find, might notice, might realize when he examined me. The sense of terrible consequences if he did notice something wrong. The pressure to act as if everything was wonderful.

Mind you, things are pretty good now and I am healthy. There isn’t anything to hide. Which is what made the emotions so odd. And what finally made me realize I was having an emotional flashback. Not a memory of the experience but rather feeling the emotions all over again.

I suspect this isn’t uncommon. If we were abused as kids, there would have been adults who were worried about what the doctor might notice or suspect. There would have been pressure to say that everything was wonderful. There might have been threats about what would happen if we didn’t. And we may have emotional flashbacks to those feelings when we have to see a doctor.

I’m not sure why I didn’t make the connection before. Maybe because I don’t go to the doctor all that often. Or maybe because other reasons for the anxiety in the past were more obvious. At any rate, once I recognized the cause, any residual emotional flashback disappeared and I suspect doctor’s visits in the future will be much easier. So I share this with all of you in case any of you might have similar emotional flashbacks when you have to see a doctor.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))),

PS Motherwintermoon, In her blog posted also about the issue of dealing with health care professionals.

Enola wrote about it, too.

Please check out both blogs.


motherwintermoon said...

Wow! I think it's amazing that we both thought to write about doctor's exams and the triggering connection to abuse on the same day!

Full realization kicked in when I had cancer and realized all aspects of it...powerlessness, nudity, exposure, extreme vulnerability, the barrage of authority figures, invasive treatments and exams...strongly triggered the trauma, feelings and emotions of abuse.

When I saw the articles I linked to on Dental Fear about sexual abuse survivors and dental treatment, it all fell into place.

Interconnections are zinging...I love it when that happens!! Thank U so much for writing this April, and pointing out this other aspect of doctor anxiety. I hopped over right away when I saw your comment at my place. We are definitely in sync. Sacred synergy.

I have to wonder what spiritual forces are at work for both of us to bring this topic into awareness on the same day. Amazing!

((((Abundant blessings and heart-hugs)))), MW

keepers said...

well here is another one we will remember!!! we have had problems seeing drs for a long time, it has gotten better though but we still liked the way your presented it here.

peace and blessings


Enola said...

I've had the same issues this week. Never thought about it from your point of view though. Thank you for sharing your connection.

Rising Rainbow said...

Yes, it all makes sense. There are so many reasons not be want to go to the doctor or the dentist.

I go, I just don't go alone. It helps to have support through the discomfort.

motherwintermoon said...

I wrote a note about your post with a link to it, at the end of my post.

jumpinginpuddles said...

im not scared of doctors if i dont know they are one hows that ;)

Karma said...

I especially struggle with the dentist and the gynecologist. For awhile, the dentist was such an issue that I'd take a Xanax before the exam.

April_optimist said...

Motherwintermoon, Amazing, isn't it? Thanks for adding that link.

Keepers and Enola, Thanks for posting. It's good to know you're here.

Rising Rainbow, I'm so glad you have someone to go with you!

Jumping In Puddles, LOL! Yes, if I could manage not to know, that would make it easier. Somehow, though, I haven't managed that trick.

Karma, You may want to go see what Motherwintermoon posted on her blog Romancing the Crone. She has a link to another site that might give some insight on that.