The doctor had a very personable manner and he most definitely has had a lot more training in developing social skills than I have had, despite my being the youngest of eight children. He explained everything thoroughly—his hunch as to why I’m having the pain that I am and the best course of action to treat my symptoms. Unfortunately, to make me feel better, I need to lay on a table and let this man turn my neck in such a way that I think he’s going to break it and paralyze me for life.
I know my fear of chiropractic care is irrational. My brain reasons the logic quickly and easily. But my instinct to protect my head and neck, to survive, are much stronger than my brain cells. I’ve always known I had a good intuitive sense but I think I’ve underestimated its depth, until this week.
The first appointment went well. It was Discovery. He asked a few questions about who I am and what I do for enjoyment in life while he fingered my sore neck and shoulders. I learned he was a trusted person, respected in his field, and easy to talk to. Then without any warning, my head was twisted and the deafening crack was heard all the way out in the waiting room. Yes, I felt better physically. But the same action of adjusting my neck flipped my anxiety switch to ON.
Three days later I went for my second appointment. We reviewed x-rays and talked more in depth about bodies when they don’t perform as they should and by the way, how is your book coming? CRACK! It was a surprise attack and I tensed. Big mistake.
Another three days later I found myself sitting in a treatment room, alone, staring at the table, waiting for the doctor to come in. And when he did, he asked me to lay, facing down, and I said, “No, I can’t do it.” He went silent and looked at me. I explained that I know it is a completely irrational fear, but I just cannot move past it. He was so kind and understanding, even told me my feelings are pretty common. “We’ll try something different,” he said. “I have many methods I can use.”
Irrational fear. It’s strikes in the oddest ways. I can deal with spiders, but my daughters will scream like an axe murderer is after them if they see one. I’ve killed mice with a broom, while my daughters have stood on chairs. I’ve flown in many airplanes, although alcohol has often been consumed on afternoon and evening flights to make that a little more tolerable. I regularly use elevators and escalators without any trouble at all. I go to the dentist and a medical doctor for regular checkups and physicals. But ask me to let someone make horrific noises with my bones and I completely fall apart. It was the nightmare after the third appointment that did me in.
I won’t be going back.
Now, tell me, how do I turn off that anxiety switch?