Anxiety often magnifies anticipation into the feeling that there are ten scary issues - when really there is just one that needs to be controlled, and the rest will follow. The technique is actually very simple - it's all a matter of preparation.
Sit down a day or two before your appointment and make a list of everything you are feeling, with details about triggers and how your life is affected by each item. For example:
- I have to walk to the other end of Wal-Mart when babies are crying because I can't take the noise.
- I don't always believe people are who they say they are.
- I can get very angry, to the point of rage. (If there are patterns to things that trigger your anger, include them.) Several friends are angry at me because I have become inappropriately angry.
- I feel very lonely and an extreme need for support. As a result I spend a lot of time crying.
- I can only get a few hours of sleep a night - or - I am sleeping 18 hours a day - whatever your sleep habits are at present, always include this information in your list.
I really recommend you take the time to do this. In school I used this process every single day when my assigned patients said, "My doctor just isn't hearing me."
When you break down the feelings and how they are affecting your daily life, you paint a very clear picture for the doctor. You can't do that on the spot in a 25-minute visit when your brain is spinning and you don't know what to say first. So make the list. Then make three copies - two for yourself and one for the doctor. Leave one copy at home (it's just in case something happens to the copy you take for yourself) and take the other two with you. When you see the doctor, give him the list. You won't have to remember everything you wanted to tell him on the spot. You won't have to go away beating yourself up because you forgot to say something. You won't need to worry so much at all!