Facing Dermatology Anxiety After A Long Break

As someone who deals with eczema and TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) daily, you’d think I’d be used to dermatologist visits quite often. But the truth is, since going through TSW, I hadn’t gone to a dermatologist in a while… until just recently.

First, I want to clarify I wasn’t going to the dermatologist for my eczema and TSW. I also want to clarify I’m in no way advocating not seeing a dermatologist regularly as someone with skin issues. I just personally see a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner and regular doctor for eczema and TSW. But unfortunately, I had a couple of common warts show up on my hand a year or so ago, so I finally got the courage to go and get it checked out.

Why haven't I seen a dermatologist in a while?

After a lifetime of dealing with eczema and about 9.5 years of TSW, dermatologists are a huge trigger for me. Well, any doctor really, but especially dermatologists. Due to other personal issues going on this past year, along with my PTSD and anxiety of going to doctors, I had rescheduled the appointment several times.

What was I nervous about?

Finally, last week, I mustered up enough courage and actually went through with the appointment. I was extremely nervous. How would I explain TSW to her if she didn’t know about it? Would she call me crazy? Would she judge me and just try to push more steroids? In fact, I had so much anxiety, I ended up showing up on the wrong day! I showed up an entire day early, 24 hours before my appointment. So in other words, I had double the time to be anxious and worried about the appointment.

Did my anxiety impact my appointment?

Thankfully, the majority of my worries and anxieties were quickly put to rest when I was in the office and finally met the nurse and doctor. They were both extremely kind, and listened to my story about eczema and TSW. The doctor focused on what I had originally come in for, while being completely respectful of not giving other advice or pressing with other treatments. I was left pleasantly surprised.

How did the she react to my photos?

I showed her my pictures and story and my skin now, and all she stated was “I’m just so glad you're doing so much better now.” I’m not going to lie, I was quite shocked that she was so supportive. She didn’t try to argue, call me crazy, or any of the things I had imagined and been anxious about beforehand. After all, that’s kind of what I had gotten used to, unfortunately. TSW is not exactly well known around the world. (Though, we’ve come a long way now).

Am I ready for another appointment?

I was instructed to come back in about a month for a check up after being given a topical treatment for the warts I had come in for. Thankfully, now, I don’t suspect next time to be nearly as anxiety-inducing. Now that I have met the doctor and overall felt heard and respected, I don’t expect any issues.

Just goes to show that oftentimes, it’s much worse in our head than in reality!

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