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Heading back to work today after having Covid. (New to the forum).

Allay
Community Member

Hi 👋

Heading back to work today after having had Covid.

It’s aggravated my decades long ‘phobias’ of saying I’m unwell in any way, interacting with medical personnel, taking sick leave, and potentially being the cause of harm to others. (I’ve have had intrusive ‘harm to others’ thoughts for decades). I would never knowingly act on them.

I wish I could reset my body’s stress/anxiety/shame reactions around all of these. I wish I could not doubt symptoms that don’t have very observable and unequivocal proof. (I’ll take sick leave for gastro, though even then I experience the weight of guilt. Stupid!)

I wish I could trust medical personnel to believe I am a truthful, genuine person who downplays any medical problem. I wish I didn’t come across as a neurotic mess when in the position of having to interact with medical personnel. I wish medical personnel didn’t leave me ‘quaking in my boots’. This has been a problem for over 30 years and I am so very worn down by it.

I hope everyone has periods of calm and contentment this week. Thanks for ‘listening’.

9 Replies 9

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Allay, welcome to the forums.

I'm not a doctor and can't qualify what I say, but I can suggest that these intrusive thoughts are harmful if you actually believe you could carry them out.

In regards to thinking that you do have any type of phobia and thoroughly believing this, then you need to speak to someone who is qualified to talk to you about OCD because this can cause much trauma thinking that certain feelings will happen.

Phobias are real and many people have them, as I do, so what you need to do is ask your doctor who can help you through this, coping with OCD, which is also real for many people, as I've also had this for about 60 years and while I still have obsessions and compulsions, I've learnt how to cope with intrusive thoughts.

There are counsellors that specialise with this illness and another way to find out is to ring around and ask that very question.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Beeee
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Allay,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing.

Seeing a doctor can be a daunting experience and I understand finding it hard to draw the line between actually being sick and experiencing anxiety. I often feel nauseous when anxious and find it hard to determine whether I'm feeling nauseous for any other reason.

As geoff has mentioned, speaking with a psychologist or counsellor is one of the best ways to overcome phobias and feelings of guilt. If you're hesitant to visit your GP, you might instead like to speak to someone here at Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Hope your first day back at work has gone well.

Beeee

Allay
Community Member

Thank you for your welcome Geoff.

I’m sorry you suffer OCD.

I do not act on intrusive thoughts. (Though I do a lot of mental ‘undoing’ and some physical checking, switching things off and on etc). They’re just highly unpleasant glitches that invade and provoke stress and anxiety. (Fluctuating in focus, frequency and intensity since childhood).

Glitches that exacerbate (and are set off by) the sleep deprivation of insomnia. And at present by the wretchedness of my reactions to having to interact with any form of medical personnel. Which I have not been able to avoid since testing positive on a PCR.

There are daily Covid Care-Pathway prompts to fill in your symptoms. And phone calls from them earlier in the illness. I understand and accept the guidelines are to provide medical care for the patient and make sure they are not becoming gravely Ill. It is sensible and cautious. (I know this logically). And they’ve not been unkind. But my nervous system is screaming, “Danger, danger, danger”.

I guess in posting I was just trying to get the ‘horrible’ out. Because I’m unlikely to follow any advice to go see a doctor, etc. That is guaranteed to have me in Adrenalin overload for weeks.

Kind regards

Allay

Allay
Community Member

Hello Beeee.

Thank you for your welcome. And for sharing that you can find it difficult to differentiate between physical illness and anxiety too.

In this instance my throat was scratchy and sorer than usual. (It’s somewhat sore every day due to gastric reflux). I tested with a RAT two days in a row and they both came up negative. So I didn’t retest a third time.

I was also losing my voice off and on. (As were other people at work). As the voice loss became worse I wondered if I should go home from work as I need to be able to speak in my job. And the answer would have been yes, but just the thought of asking made me very anxious. Then I started stressing that maybe I was just ‘putting on’ the voice loss. And that it was most likely just due to being run down from insomnia.

Anyway, other people at work have had negative RATs early in the illness and then a positive PCR. So I was asked to go get a PCR. It was positive. So people have been exposed to Covid partly due to the negative RATs and partly due to my anxiety over being believed (and trusting myself to know) when I’m ill. I know other people at work have been off with Covid and it is in all likelihood where I caught it. (I’m not exactly a social butterfly and wear a mask etc to the supermarket). But I still feel guilty.

The medical personnel phobia developed over a 13 year period when I developed an uncommon (and benign) tumour under my fingernail. I was accused at each doctor visit of a myriad of offences. (Attention seeking, drug seeking, lying).

After a few years it was visible through my fingernail and then came the additional accusations of deliberately hitting it with something before visiting the doctor. And of doctor shopping when I’d try a different doctor each visit in the hopes that the next one would believe me.

Eventually a doctor changed his mind as I was walking out of his office and ordered an x-ray of my finger. Most of the underlying bone had been worn away by the benign tumour.

A surgeon removed the tumour. She asked if she could keep it as it was the largest of its kind that she’d ever removed. Because I wasn’t believed for well over a decade!

The problem nowadays is twofold. I know I come across as neurotic and untrustworthy due to my ridiculously strong anxiety over doctor visits. It is infuriating frustrating. But I am unable to overcome it. And my medical records show a very long history of undesirable behaviour. (The unfounded accusations).

Sorry. Dump over.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Allay, thanks for getting back to us.

If I can say I believe this does have a name and it's called iatrophobia something I didn't know or had forgotten about it.

The tumour under your fingernail must have a definite worry for you and could make you hesitant in wanting to see a doctor.

Can I only suggest knowing how you feel and it's your own decision to make, is to scroll down to the bottom of the BB page and find 'find a professional', and I'm only saying this not necessarily do it, but perhaps may be have a look, because these doctors are aligned to mental illness, but totally understand your fear.

Another alternative and again, it's only a suggestion, is to go to your local community health centre where they do have people you can talk to, but realise this could be very difficult for you to do.

I'm not trying to push you at all, just offering something you might find acceptable, and it would be great for you to keep in contact with us and promise we won't try and push you, just want to talk with you.

Geoff.

Allay
Community Member
Thank you.

Beeee
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello again Allay,

I'm so sorry to read about how you were treated by those doctors in the past. Their assumptions about you were definitely unfair and their behaviour very unprofessional. I'm glad that someone did believe you in the end, but I can understand how this experience has made it hard for you to trust doctors.

When it comes to the guilt you feel, perhaps you could try journalling. Journalling can give you a chance to "talk to yourself" and work through your feelings. You could write down what you're feeling and why you're feeling it. Remind yourself that you have the right to look after yourself. Your needs are just as valuable as all your colleagues, so if they can take time off work when they are sick, so can you.

Warm regards

Beeee

Allay
Community Member

Thank you Beeee for your support, understanding and suggestions.

Allay
Community Member
Thank you Geoff for your support. I don’t have many words right now and need to leave for work.