Four Ways to Be Your Own Health advocate

Going to the doctor can be overwhelming, and frustrating at times. You might feel like you’re not being heard, or worried you’ll be seen as pushy or annoying by asking a lot of questions.

Sometimes you just get out of their office more confused than when you went in.

Let’s say you go to the doctor because you’ve been having for months or even years, symptoms like feelings of panic, fear or danger, sleep problems; shortness of breath; dizziness; thinking about a problem over and over again and unable to stop (rumination) and you are done with it, and want to find a solution.

Talking to some healthcare providers can be just a quick chat, we all know. We share our symptoms, they give you a diagnosis that almost feels like a life sentence “You have anxiety”.

They blame all the symptoms you have on anxiety, and the solution they give you is in a pill form to tame those symptoms.

Voila! All problems fixed right?

A pill will only take you so far. It will just mask all your symptoms. It’s a temporary relief with an enormous cascade of side effects (which you are better off not reading them, otherwise you might reconsider taking it) and it’s really not addressing the real, deep problem. Why are you having anxiety in the first place?

Why are you having these symptoms? What is affecting your sleep? Are you nourishing your body with good nutrition and plenty of water? How is your stress levels? Are you active? How is your self-esteem? Your home environment? Your financial situation? Your relationships?

Do you get where I’m going to?

You know YOU, better than anyone else. You know what is going on in your life.

A quick fix, it’s not going to solve your life problems.

It’s like quieting down your body’s alarm system that it’s yelling at you STOP and LISTEN.

Medication and its side effects is never a quick fix, it appears momentarily as one, until months or years later you start having other symptoms low blood pressure, decreased sex drive/libido, nausea, lack of coordination, depression, mood swings, memory loss, difficulty thinking. You go to the doctor again, another pill is prescribed on top of the previous one, and we can go on and on like this for the rest of our life or we can be patient, and find the root cause of the problem.

You know where to start making some changes in your life.

Finding the root cause of the problem requires detective work, time, and patience.
Whether its anxiety, having low energy, mood swings, sleep deprivation, foggy mind, or feeling irritable.

I get it! The way we live in this modern world, it’s not easy, we are constantly on the go. Looking for the “quick fix” so we can keep going with our busyness.

We are just blindly trusting, and putting ourselves on healthcare practitioner’s hands, without questioning anything. I’ll say it again.

“You know YOU, better than anyone else”

One in five women say they’ve felt that a health care provider has ignored or dismissed their symptoms. Advocating for yourself in these situations can get you the care you’re looking for and, most importantly, the care you deserve.

These five things are foundational to advocate for your well-being, in a doctor’s office or any other setting where your health is paramount.

Four Ways to Advocate for Your Health

1. Learn how to tune in to what your body is telling you.

Your body speaks to you every day…Are you listening? Your body will tell you if something is wrong. This means paying attention to what your body is showing or feeling at any given time, such as feeling tired all the time or experiencing headaches after using a certain product or eating a certain food. Your doctor may have gone through years of medical school, but that doesn’t mean they know you. If something feels off, wrong, or different, it probably is.

2. Be an active role during your appointment

Bring notes and take notes during your appointment. Although you’re dealing with symptoms on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to forget or overlook things when relaying your experience. Try keeping a symptoms journal; include what symptoms you’re experiencing, when, and how often they occur, and how they affect your life. You can also keep track of what you’re eating; this may be especially helpful if you’re dealing with diagnosed or suspected digestive issues.

During your appointment, consider taking notes on what’s discussed. Some of what you talk about may be confusing and overwhelming, and notes can help you keep track of it all. These may be especially helpful when seeking a second opinion or doing your own research.

3. Do your own research

In some cases, it’s up to you to figure out what’s wrong. Formal diagnoses can be made only by medical professionals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your own research on your symptoms. We live in a world where options are endless and information is plentiful; there’s no shortage of tips, hacks, and products promising to optimize our health and happiness. It’s just a matter of finding quality information!

4. Find an appropriate support system.

During times of stress (especially those involving your health), leaning on your friends and family can seem like second nature. And while they may mean well, they might not have the experience or ability to give you actionable advice that will give you the results you need. Health Coaches can positively impact your health in a variety of ways, one of which is helping you determine when you should see a doctor for a specific concern. Health Coaches also create safe spaces to explore your health concerns, and they can be a great support system during stressful times.

The Bottom Line

Whatever your health goals are, you deserve them. Feeling unheard and misunderstood at the doctor’s office is frustrating and overwhelming, but this doesn’t have to end up there.
Remember, you know yourself best; trust your intuition to lead you to what you need in order to live a healthier, happier life.



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