An INFJ and the Doctor

Yesterday I had my New Patient Appointment at our new doctor’s. I am the last of the three of us to have my NP Appointment although I have gone with EJ and JJ to their appointments at their requests. I think the doctor is very compassionate and I like her a lot.

However, I felt like my appointment was a disaster.

First of all, I haven’t been sleeping well, I have too much on my plate, and I’m tired and over-stressed. Yesterday I felt near tears before I even got to the doctor’s office, and I ended up crying all through the visit. My tears were simply a release from stress but they embarrassed me and made me feel unable to adequately communicate.

The first thing the doctor said was, “So how does it feel to finally have a doctor visit about you?

The mind of an INFJ.
The mind of an INFJ.

Ok, so here’s the thing about people with my INFJ personality type: We think all the time–a flood of thoughts pouring in so it’s like sipping from a fire hose. We think very deeply and complexly and we see everyone’s perspective instead of just our own. So if someone asks me a question about what I think or feel, I have to slow down, sort through the huge library of thoughts, feelings, and perspectives, and consider the question and the answer. In addition, we INFJs tend to think in metaphors and images rather than words. So it takes time to sort through everything and translate the metaphors and images into words. Most people want immediate answers and don’t give me time to think.

So the doctor kept asking, “So how does it feel to finally have a doctor visit about you?” without giving me any time to think. I really wanted her to just be quiet and let me sort through my thoughts for a bit. Some of my thoughts were:

What do I feel?

Why exactly is she asking?

Oh, my goodness, does she think I’m the type of person who can’t ever stand up for myself? She does!

INFJs are ferocious only when they need to be.
INFJs are ferocious fighters…but only when they need to be.

Grrrr. I’m so tired of people thinking I’m a mouse, or a wimp, or weak, or can’t stand up for myself just because I’m a quiet introvert, I’m empathetic, I don’t always feel I have to fight every battle, I don’t always argue with others’ opinions, and so on. I am stronger than I appear and I have courageously fought more battles than most people are aware of. I have resisted wrong even when I have stood alone. I only fight the battles that are important to me. Grrrr.

In answer to the doctor’s question, I wanted to answer (but didn’t because she didn’t give me time to think it out) that going to the doctor simply feels a lot like another item on my To Do List, and my To Do List is too long and I’m exhausted. And, for the record, I go to the doctor when I need to, I stand up for myself when it’s important to me, and I help others when I can. I am not a wimp.

Then the doctor said she’d like me to have a blood test to check for this and that, and she wants me to have a physical, and she wants me to have a mammogram to “take care of the girls”–which, by the way, I’ve always thought was a stupid expression.

Still crying (grrrr), I started to tell the doctor that I am so empathetic that I used to faint whenever I went to the doctors but I actually went to a counselor to help me learn how to not and so….She said “So did you forget those techniques when your son had cancer?” And I wanted to say that, No, I hadn’t fainted in YEARS and was stunned when I fainted when I learned that JJ had cancer, and that having a son with cancer totally reactivated my too-strong empathy. I think it’s called “P-T-S-D.” Still, it didn’t prevent me from being with my son and giving him support during his treatment. But instead the doctor said that she could give me a pill to take before I came for the physical in order to relax me. I tried to tell her that I didn’t need a  pill, I have never needed a pill to go to the doctor, I have plenty of courage and endurance. She told me that I needed my courage for other things, I didn’t need to use my courage for the physical, I could let her give me something to help me. GRRRRR. “Hello? Are you LISTENING TO ME?”

INFJ14What I wanted to say was that too many problems over too many years–and especially JJ’s cancer battle–has completely exhausted me, EJ, and JJ. Going to the doctor adds to my stress, and I simply wanted a New Patient Appointment so that if I get sick or injured, I have a doctor in place that I can go to. I don’t want to add any more stressful things such as a blood test, a physical, and a mammogram to my already full plate.  I wanted to tell her that I wanted to reduce some of my overwhelm before I schedule any other thing. But I didn’t get the words out.

EJ said he thought the doctor was compassionate and that she didn’t think I was a wimp, but I felt frustrated, depressed, and angry for the rest of the day because I had cried like an idiot and I didn’t feel like I was understood. I felt my rebellion kick in:

Growl
Growl

I may or may not get a blood test right now.

I refuse to call to schedule a mammogram.

I might (or might not) wait a bit and then cancel the stupid physical, which is scheduled for mid-October.

If or when I have a physical, I will not take a stupid pill to relax me before I go.

I won’t do anything that I don’t want to do.

So there.

 

 

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3 Comments on “An INFJ and the Doctor

  1. And you shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. It is still your body and in the words of my great-aunt, you are still the boss of it. As for the mammogram, I get so frustrated with that question or order whatever it is, that I quit going to any Dr. And boobs are not girls. Girls are little children with female body parts. I feel your indignant spirit and would love to express it with you. Hope it helps, to know you are not alone. Maybe not all of us know exactly how you feel and what it is like to be you, but we sympathize with not being given time to express yourself or to make your decisions. May God grant you rest and peace.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lucindalines! You are so sweet!

      I do think that I know best what I need. Despite what it sounds like, I think the doctor is very caring, but a comment she made caused me to wonder if she had suffered abuse in her past. People tend to see situations through their own eyes so she might have felt that I was putting myself last, unable to stand up for myself, not able to see that I also deserved medical care, etc., which isn’t true.

      Of course, abuse does have an effect. INFJs tend to attract abusers because they are very understanding and forgiving. We also are extremely empathetic–to the point of being empaths–so we can easily become depleted and overwhelmed by suffering, conflict, problems, etc. Therefore, we don’t fight every battle, don’t engage in unnecessary conflict, etc. However, that doesn’t mean we are wimpy pushovers. We deeply value honesty and realness, and love people even when they are “messy,” but we also have a strong value system that we will not compromise no matter what it costs us. Years ago my Mom told me that she and my Dad had discussed that they believed that I would do absolutely anything for them–but I had an iron inside me and I could never be forced into doing anything I believed was wrong. In this she spoke the truth. Things might have turned out a little differently if she had remembered it. However, because she didn’t remember, I was able to escape from a dysfunctional family.

      When it comes to our current situation, I pursue things that will reduce my overwhelm. This includes exposing myself to less bad and sad news–on FB and other places. I care deeply about the suffering in the world but it breaks my heart and I can’t bear it right now. I deeply, deeply feel EJ’s and JJ’s suffering and misery so moving up North where they are “happier than they have ever been before” also helps me. I have also cared for myself by moving away from my abusive family and toxic friends to an area filled with beauty that fills me with delight.

      Although it’s hard work, taking care of things like the driveway takes anxiety off me. The old house is a HUGE emotional burden on me and so much of my stress will be lifted when/if the house sells. I pray for it to sell QUICKLY because our savings won’t last forever, and I worry about how we will afford paying for the utilities and taxes for two houses. I also struggle with not having anyone to help us move our remaining possessions. We need not just people to load stuff, but also a truck or trailer. We can’t afford to rent another Uhaul. Going back down to the old house really depresses me and I need that burden lifted.

      EJ and JJ have more health issues than I do so I think they must have priority–not because I think I am less important, but because if they are taken care of, anxiety is lifted from me. While having a physical could be beneficial, I think it would be more beneficial to not have more things added to my To Do list. I also can’t see paying for the expense of tests when I’m not sick. I think that eliminating stressors and getting to a place where we can rest will be much more beneficial than anything else.

      THAT is what I wish I could have explained to the doctor yesterday.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Reclaiming Sensitivity | Creo Somnium

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