Shots! Blood! Pain! Many people are afraid to go to a doctor's office. Fears! Emotions! Trauma! No one knows the secrets you hold inside, that is no one, but God. "Pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6 NKJV). God knows your secrets. Still it can be frightening to reveal your abuse and trauma to another, even a doctor or therapist.
Usually when you go to a family physician you are physically ill. You
wait bored-stiff and staring at stacks of old magazine and, if you are lucky, the waiting room has a television
tucked nicely in the corner on a station you normally don't watch. As the minutes tick away you listen up when the inner office door swings open anticipating your name being called. When you hear your name you get ushered to the room you will be
sitting in for the next thirty to forty minutes.
As you settled in a chair you give the symptoms pestering you to the nurse. You eagerly answer all the
questions and throw in a few extra concerns. Why are we so forthcoming with our
symptoms, even those we have yet to experience? Isn't it obvious, we want the
doctor to be able to make a proper diagnosis. If we hope to get
better, we need the doctor to figure out what illness we have so he can
prescribe the best treatment.
Going to a doctor of mental health
is totally different experience.You sit in the waiting room wondering
what brought the other people in for a visit. "She looks normal." "He's so young. How could he have problems?" Nobody is twitching, rocking, or sitting catatonic in the corner, so you figure you must be in the right place...just a few average people with problems effecting their life.
You sometimes wish the
doctor had private waiting room stalls. It is not like you want to run
into a neighbor, church member, or co-worker in this environment. They
may get the idea that something is wrong with you...like you are off
your rocker. So this room is basically quiet, no television here, just some elevator music and a
stack of old magazines. The people who come through this waiting room have more on their mind then complaining about stale magazines.
In this office, the doctor comes to the waiting room and
invites you into her office. The room is often decorated like a small living room
or den. A psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor, frequently sits behind a office desk, but not always. Generally, she attempts to make you feel as comfortable as possible. A Christian therapist has often prayed for you before the appointment or she may even begin the session with prayer. God is needed to help you. Jesus was sent to "heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isaiah 61:1). God wants to work in and through this doctor to heal you.
You will not have to speak first to a nurse. You will only speak directly with the doctor. She will ask questions to get you talking while she works to determine the reasons you came. She understand that just making an appointment and keeping it took great courage. Open-ended
question such as "How
was your week?" or "How have you been doing?" help start the conversation and can be answered in so many ways and on so many levels. Lean on God to lead you to share the facts or feelings you are ready to discuss. Trust God knowing, your "help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth" (Psalms 121:2 NKJV).
people worry about their first few visits to a
psychiatrist or counselor. The fear is that the doctor may be able to look at them and see deep into their soul, as if the doctor could tell that they are an absolute nut-case that needs to be ushered away to the nearest mental institution.
Fortunately, very few patients ever get admitted into a mental hospital, so don't go down that road of panic. Others fear that a doctor might be able to
diagnosis a mental disease. Being physically sick is no fun, but being mental ill is scary. It is not like you will be able to take an aspirin and call the doctor back in the morning if you still have symptoms.
You know, all too well, that you have symptoms you wish could stop, thoughts and behaviors that make you feel vulnerable and out of control. Even worse, you may feel like it is your fault since you keep doing things that hurt yourself and others. "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9 NKJV). Going to the doctor is a great step toward hope and healing for women who have experience abuse and trauma. Break away from fear, and allow God to help you. Make and keep your doctor appointments.