Being comfortable is vital
Dear Annie: Please help me with a problem I’m having at home. I’m a 15-year-old girl still living at home, and my mother is insisting that I go to her OB-GYN doctor, who is a man. She has already made an appointment for a few months from now.
I am a very modest person and have never had an intimate exam by a male doctor, and the thought of it is causing me tremendous anxiety and turmoil. I am losing sleep over it.
She keeps telling me that I am being silly, but, Annie, all I’ve been seeing in the news lately are stories of how male doctors, who were thought of as “pillars of the community,” are being arrested for sexual abuse. The latest story of Andrew Yang’s wife coming forward with her story is just eating away at me. And there are all of these sports doctors at universities being suspended.
Annie, all men are naturally turned on visually, so how are we to believe that a doctor is able to “turn it off” once they’ve put their white coats on? In Googling the subject, you will find hundreds of cases where these doctors have been “caught,” which begs the question, are all of them like that and are only the “unlucky” ones caught? We just had a local male nurse at the hospital here charged for sexual abuse on a female patient.
My mother reads your column. Please give me some help on this! — Scared to Death
Dear Scared to Death: Discounting your feelings is not fair to you. If you are uncomfortable with a male doctor, then you should not have to see a male doctor. Tell your mom your concerns in no uncertain terms. You are entitled to your own feelings. And there have been some very alarming cases.
However, these cases are extremely rare. Though media attention focuses on the few rotten apples, people become doctors to help others. The vast majority of doctors are complete professionals, and it is grossly unfair to accuse all male doctors of being sexually aroused by their patients. Finally, be cautious about what you read on the internet. Instead, share your concerns with your medical professional as well. She will have more information and resources.
Dear Annie: As a therapist, I have found that helping patients focus on thoughts during therapy isn’t as helpful as looking at their feelings.
Feelings do not occur in your thoughts. They happen in your body. Please try to focus on feelings instead of focusing on thoughts.
One way you can do this is to notice how your body feels when you think about something. If someone says something hurtful to you, try not to think about it in your head, but notice what sensations it evokes in your body. Does it make your stomach churn? Does it make your chest feel tight?
Noticing sensations in your body will give you clues as to how things are really affecting you on a subconscious level, even though you might not be able to tell on an intellectual level. — Experienced Therapy Client
Dear Experienced: Your letter highlights a very important life skill; namely, the ability to listen to one’s body. The phrase, “trust your gut,” is popular for a reason.
It is asking you to pay attention to how you feel before making a big decision. Our unconscious minds have processed many thoughts and feelings long before we are able to untangle them with our conscious minds. But our bodies tell us instantly how we are feeling. The body carries wisdom in it and usually knows what is best for us. Thank you for your insights.
(Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)