Wednesday, June 8, 2016

White Coats and Small Steps

I suffer from white coat syndrome.  Really though, I feel anxiety handing over my body to anyone who I percieve feels they are entitled to touch it.  Anyone with authority.  This is not just a childhood trauma thing, I have experienced and witnessed caregivers do horrid and disrespectful things to people's bodies through out my adult life.  I have seen coercion.

My last ultrasound I tried to go it alone.  I did okay, but I think I can make it easier on myself.  I deserve that. So I called the hospital social worker.  When I talk about my past and my emotional needs, I hate feeling vulnerable.  I hate the sound of compassion in the voice of the counsellor/caregiver, it reminds me that what has happened is awful and it makes me feel weak and weepy.  So I make sure that I approach it in a very formal way.  In other words I talk "shop".  I've read the books, I know the terms professionals use and I use them.  I told her I was looking for a trauma informed caregiver to talk to the ultrasound staff before my appointment.
"I disassociate." I tell her in a frank manner. "It's my coping technique, however I realize that can be hard to be around someone doing that.  So if you could please explain to them, that when I go blank, I am not in a bad place.  I'm simply not there.  If you could ask them not to try to pull me back with small talk or tell me to breath, that would be very beneficial as those things bring me back to the current moment which I find to be very uncomfortable."  She explains that she would be happy to talk to the staff for me ahead of time.  She asks if I want her to come in and sit to be there to remind the staff to not talk to me unless necessary.  I feel instant rejection to that offer. I know why: Firstly, she is sounding sympathetic and compassionate, can't she tell I need this conversation to be emotionaless? No, I tell myself.  She's not recognizing your formality and that's okay. Secondly, I didn't want to impose.  Ugh.  I roll my eyes at myself.
"Yes. That would be very helpful. Thank you."
I told her I would make the appointment for when she is working at the hospital and call her back and
let her know... But I tell myself I'll do that tomorrow because by the end of the conversation my hands are shaking and I just don't have it in me to do anything else requiring emotional strength on this particular subject today.  So I compartmentalize and begin to write my blog about it in my head as this gives me the feeling of control and purpose over the situation.  Then I throw on my sexy leather jacket and walk to my favourite coffee shop, and happily put aside that which can be dealt with tomorrow.