Anxiety causes a number of awful, unfavourable symptoms; some of which are so severe, they inhibit you from living a “normal” life. Throughout your lifetime, those symptoms may present differently.
I’d never struggled with severe nausea until one day, I was on a flight back home and suddenly, I felt really, really sick. A lot of people had been ill so I assumed that I had caught the bug too. What I’d forgotten after not travelling for so long is that I’d always succumbed to travel sickness. Anyway, after that anxiety attack, I started experiencing nausea more frequently. It became really bad once I’d finished university. I couldn’t eat anything, I could barely get up and I’d lost a lot of wait. Doctors were quick to say it was anxiety, nevertheless, they sent me to get a blood test and an endoscopy.
The word endoscopy sounds nasty anyway, but being an anxious person, I looked it up and what I saw terrified me. They put a camera down your throat, all the way into your stomach and have a look around. The process itself only lasts a few minutes, but if you struggle with anxiety, then you know a few minutes can seem like a lifetime. A lot of people posted about their experience online as well as a few doctors showing how the procedure is done. What got under my skin is how many people said it was horrific. It’s an age old rule not to look things up online, but I wanted to be prepared. The waiting time for the appointment was months and the entire time, thoughts were whirling around my head.
One point to consider was the possibility of sedation. A lot of people do it and it’s something that I thought I wanted. But, there are two major downsides. The first is that the appointment will last a lot longer. With sedation, you have to stay a few hours to make sure you are alright after the appointment. The second is that apparently, you are aware of everything that is going on at the time, it’s just you forget about it afterwards. Those two reasons were enough for me to opt for no sedation.
Now for the actual experience. You can’t eat or drink for a number of hours before which I thought would be difficult as sipping water is my go-to when anxious. I got to the hospital before my appointment and signed in with reception. The receptionist then pointed out where I needed to go. That part was more confusing than I had anticipated. It’s a hospital I’ve known my whole life but honestly, it was a lot bigger with a lot more corridors. Anyway, then I got to the waiting room which felt a bit too intimate for my liking. There were four rows of chairs quite close together and an awkward silence whilst we were all waiting.
Firstly, there was a room where they call you in to check that your vitals are alright and to get your consent because of the risk. Once that’s complete, then you go back out. I think that’s the moment where you can ask for sedation too.
I was called in about half an hour later than my appointment was scheduled for but that’s normal with doctors. When I walked into the room, I immediately became overwhelmed. There were the surgical lights attached to the ceiling and it felt like everything in the room was made out of metal. They sat me down on a hospital bed and explained the process. There was the doctor and two nurses. I then lay down when they told me to and then the camera went down my throat. There’s gagging which I think is everyone’s most feared bit. I mean, it’s a bit gross but I just shut my eyes. You haven’t eaten so you can’t throw up. One of the nurses held my hand which was comforting and it was all over pretty quick.
They wouldn’t let me get up straight away because my heart rate had shot up, but I actually felt fine. They took me to a recovery room because of that so I was sat by myself for ten minutes or so. A nurse came back in to check on me and then let me go. That was it.
Once everything was over and done with, the endoscopy really wasn’t a bad experience. Thinking about it helped in a way because I was prepared but watching people talk about it, not such a good idea. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this post. It’s not the nicest experience but if you are suffering with severe physical symptoms because of anxiety, it may be something else so it’s worth checking out.