I had to make a couple of phone calls, both medical-related.  One to my psychiatrist try to resolve the question of where I can have my blood test at the moment because most hospitals are either not doing blood tests at all or are only doing urgent ones; the alternative is to travel to a hospital quite some way away.  The other call to the GP because I have a suspicious mole on my back that I’ve just noticed – itchy and I think new, although it’s hard to tell, as I have a lot of skin blemishes.  I’ve had two moles removed in the past and they were fine, but it’s more anxiety-provoking now with Mum being treated for cancer and with COVID disrupting everything, leading to autistic “new thing” anxiety.

I was experiencing very strong social anxiety before phoning.  I generally would experience that before phoning anyway, but it seemed worse than usual.  I really think lockdown has set me back regarding social anxiety.

I spoke to the psychiatrist’s secretary.  She went to speak to the psychiatrist and phoned me back to say I could have the blood test done in September, which was what the GP originally wanted.  Hopefully things will have changed a bit by then.

As for the GP, I was on hold for a long time and then was told that non-emergency appointments are only dealt with at 8.30am.  I suppose I could have known that, as that was sort-of the pre-COVID system (new appointments were only released at 8.30am and 6.30pm, which is a really awful system on so many levels, particularly when dealing with people who may not be keeping straightforward hours), but it wasn’t clear from the surgery website.

It feels like almost every interaction I have with GP reception staff ends with me feeling stupid.  That’s an exaggeration, but does it happen a lot.  I think a lot of the receptionists at the practice are just bad-tempered and I internalise their mood and turn it against myself.  I do dread contacting the surgery now, which is not good.  It took a huge effort to phone today; I can’t imagine how it will feel tomorrow.  The doctors are really nice there, so I don’t want to change practice, but getting past the “gatekeepers” can be a challenge.  They mess up prescriptions and the like a lot too.  Coincidentally, a friend posted on his blog to say that even pre-COVID, a lot of doctors’ receptionists seemed to be trying to stop anyone from seeing a doctor, which is sadly my experience too.

***

Aside from the hour or more that I spent doing that, it was a good day.  (It didn’t take me an hour to phone, but it took a long time to psyche myself up to doing it and to calm myself down afterwards.)

I worked on my novel for about an hour and three quarters.  The writing flowed easily for the first hour, but the second part was harder, and I ended up procrastinating online.  I think I should try to split my writing time into two chunks with a break in-between in the future.  I did write well over 1,000 words, which was good.  I did another fifteen minutes or so after dinner too, to get up to two full hours, which was also good.

I went for a walk after that.  I found I was ruminating on being single and the fact that my therapist said that I should widen my dating pool to include less religious women as otherwise I was likely to struggle to find someone kind and understanding enough to cope with all my issues.  This may be true, but I have noticed that, since breaking up with E., who was a lot less religious than me, some (not all) of my religious anxieties have reduced.  I feel a lot less of a sense of inner conflict about how religious I am/should be.  So I’m a bit wary of dating someone else less religious.   That said, frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) women seem not to like me at all, so maybe I’ll have to date non-frum women.

I found I was sinking into despair about this and quite consciously tried to change my thoughts to think about my devar Torah (Torah thought) for the week.  I wrote that when I got home, or at least I wrote a draft.  As is usually the case, I’m not brilliantly happy with it.  In particular, there was one Midrash (rabbinic expansion of the biblical text) that I think I interpreted correctly, but superficially; I felt there were depths to it that I could not reach.  Then I quoted the Medieval commentator Rashi, but couldn’t find his source; the references given didn’t seem to be correct.  It’s frustrating, but at 500 – 1000 words a week, my divrei Torah are never going to be exhaustive, so I shouldn’t feel too bad.

My partial regret for the day is only managing twenty minutes of Torah study, but that is in addition to spending an hour or so researching and writing my devar Torah, so that’s really not bad for one day.

12 thoughts on “Telephone Anxiety

  1. I’m sorry you dealt with a rude receptionist over the phone. I find that people are generally much less kind over the phone(or on-line) than they would be to our faces. The dating advice seems sound, but if it makes you feel less comfortable to date a non-frum woman, then it may not provide the secure and caring relationship that you’re seeking. A dilemma. My daughter also spotted a suspicious mole(thanks to a photograph that I took), and we’re waiting on the result of the biopsy. She has a new baby and lots of other stresses, so this is not needed at the moment. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I find these receptionists can be pretty blunt in person, to be honest. To be fair, I have so much social anxiety in these situations that maybe I interpret them as being ruder than they are.

      It’s not so much that dating a non-frum woman makes me less comfortable and more that I would be worried about maintaining my religious level and how we would fit in to a religious community.

      I hope your daughter is OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Something I did once which you may like is 4gs. Every night wrote 5 things grateful for that day, 5 good things I did, a couple glitches, a couple manageable goals.

    The GP system is nuts….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. I’ve been writing things I’m grateful for. I might add in good things I did and goals. I do have a habit of setting goals that are far too big for me, though, so I need to be careful with that.

      It is nuts!

      Like

      1. The goals is meant to be really feasible. Like if I chose 3 goals for today it would be 1. Get dressed. 2. Journal for 5 minutes (aim for 15 but make it doable) and 3 hmm…. hmm. Make brownies.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Re: GP — it’s important you have an appointment soon if you have a suspicious mole. And if they ask if it’s urgent you should say yes! What about writing your GP a note and posting it at the surgery — say you have not been able to get through on the phone and you would like an urgent telephone appointment for your suspicious mole. You might need to take a photo of it as well. I have often resorted to writing to my GP when they are particularly inaccessible (which they are at the moment).

    Re: rude receptionists — you’ll probably find you are not alone if you google your surgery feedback comments on NHS Choices. These can be quite an eye-opener!

    Re: dating someone less religious — of course it is important to find someone who shares your faith. However, it might be a good thing if she is a bit less “religious” than you, if that means more relaxed. You may have a tendency to become overly obsessive about religious observance and a more laid back outlook might help. (Out of interest — are your parents as observant as you are?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think when the said “urgent” they meant COVID or something else that might be immediately fatal – the receptionist explicitly said that a mole was not considered an emergency.

      I will see if my Dad can phone to get me an appointment tomorrow.

      My parents are not quite as observant as I am. That has led to tensions over the years, particularly when I was younger, which is why I have not been so keen to date women who are less religious.

      Liked by 1 person

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