An Introvert's Guide To Sticking Up For Yourself At The Doctor's Office (So You Don't Feel Intimidated)

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An Introvert's Guide On How To Advocate For Yourself At The Doctor's Office When You're Feeling Intimidated during your doctor's appointment

Going to the doctor’s office is stressful enough without the claustrophobic feeling all introverts get at some point when they’re out in public. Being around people is hard and draining, and your doctor has to ask A LOT of personal questions that can make anyone uncomfortable, let alone an introverted person.

If you’re not familiar with your doctor or you're nervous about your next doctor's appointment, focusing on your medical history instead of the situation at hand or environment can be a challenging task.

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As an introvert myself, I know that going to the doctor can be overwhelming. Even though you typically talk to one person at a time — since the receptionist, the nurse and the doctor never seem to cross paths — visiting your physician is intimidating. He/she supposedly knows all, and they often get the final say.

I usually try to get out of the doctor’s office as fast as possible. When I’m sick, I just say I don’t feel well and let the doctor discover my issues on their own. I don’t advise doing this. Because I don’t like giving long answers to their questions, I stay quiet about medical concerns I may have. I worry that I’ll be asked to stay longer or that the problems I’m having aren’t actually concerning.

However, if your problems during a doctor's visit are concerning, consider mentioning them at your appointment.

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You shouldn’t let your introverted nature interfere with your health care. If you relate to any of this, please keep reading to learn how you can advocate for better care at the doctor’s office. Everyone deserves to voice their concerns, and introverts are no exception.

1. Bring a list of your questions and concerns regarding your health.

Making a list that you can print out and hold during your appointment can help you stay focused on what you need to say. It’s empowering to have a speech prepared, in a sense.

I’ve even handed the list to my doctor when I felt too shy to talk about my concerns directly. Your doctor should understand that you may be a bit nervous and be willing to review the document.

I would try to include questions about your prescribed medications, your treatment plan, new health issues (e.g., a really bad migraine) and recommended tests or screenings. I tend to use Google as a second doctor and need to verify my findings or suspicions with my real doctor.

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2. Phrase problems you might be experiencing as questions.

The hardest thing for me to do is to state, with absolute certainty, that I am having a problem. Instead, I phrase everything as a question. To me, questions sound less forceful and let the doctor know I’m open to any advice they might have.

For instance, I would ask “Can headaches get worse at night?” rather than saying “My headaches are worse at night.” Your problems are typically implied through the question, but you are encouraged to state the problem clearly to your doctor if it is really serious to avoid confusion.

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3. When in doubt, ask a friend for support.

Bringing a friend or family member with you to your doctor’s appointment does not make you any less self-sufficient. It makes you smart.

Bring someone who you know will press an issue that needs to be pressed. Also, having someone else in the room with you who you know very well makes you feel more confident and secure about the situation. Therefore, even if you don’t use them as your health advocate, use them to make yourself more comfortable in an otherwise uncomfortable environment.

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Meaghan Summers is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.