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September 15, 2012



I thoroughly enjoyed your most recent blog and the other entries I too -- you almost inspired me to do the right thing -- but I didn't. How do you deal with someone like me? What are my options? I am sick. I don't know what is wrong with me, but whatever it is, it's been outrageously life changing. I know that I have serious health issues but my fear of dying and my fear of hearing that I might be dying has put me in a kind of purgatory. I want an MD to look at me and tell me all is well, or to at least find out what is wrong but I can't. I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist regularly. They treat me for an anxiety disorder, but that's just a band aid made of xanax and Inderal which I now only need because one simply cannot stop taking those drugs at the doses I take them. Of course I know that a psychiatrist is an MD but I do not fear them because they do not do or say anything pertinent to dying or whatever it is that ails me. I placate myself by realizing that these people are medical people and that if anything were REALLY wrong, aside from what they call anxiety, they would see it. What I really need is to be treated for my fear of going to an internist for proper testing and diagnosis, but that 800 pound gorilla in the room is being overloooked by my psychiatrist and psychologist. I say it every time I am there -- I tell them that something is seriously wrong with me, but nothing is done. They tell me, "you really need to see an internist" and I say, "Yes I know that, but how are you going to get me to do that?" My friends or family could give me the same advice -- why do I need a psychiatrist to tell me that? Well, maybe because I am not a Xanax addict and I have to go there -- and going there is torture for me because I feel so terrible. Naturally, as I said, a psychiatrist would be or should be able to see anything medically obvious, but so far my current doctor just sees me as a nice, smart, witty and charming person with a serious anxiety disorder. Yes, I flatter myself by saying those things might indeed be true, but my anxiety disorder only exists because I fear finding out what is wrong with me. I fear death so much that it's killing me. Isn't that the final irony? They don't seem to get this. I have been determined, by my psychiatrist and psychologist, to be completely disabled but there is no concrete reason. Each visit they tell me I have to go to an internist or at least a GP, but I don't because of the very things you write about in this, your most recent blog entry. So, they simply shrug and say, "we can't force you to go to an internist," so I live an imitation of life between doses of Xanax. Strangely, one thing the psychiatrist always asks me is if I feel like I am a danger to myself or to others. The purpose of this question, as you know, is to detain me were I to say that I was indeed a danger to myself. When I say that I am a danger to myself simply because any rational person with my symptoms would have been to a doctor a long time ago, but this doesn't cut it. I won't lie and say that I am a suicide risk or something like that because I am not, but I am a very real and menacing danger to myself simply because of my fear of death and disease. My health is getting worse and worse. My life has been totally ruined by this and although the help I need that will either make me well again, or at least help me to get a grip on what may lie ahead, is only a doctor's visit away. It's unbelievable that the answer is so easy but I don't do it. Any human being, even the most mentally limited, would see a doctor for my symptoms, but I placate myself by seeing psychiatrists because they are doctors and it makes me feel better to "think" I am seeing a doctor. The psychiatrists agree with me 100% but both of them do nothing to quell my fears. So what is left of me is a only a vestige of the person I used to be -- and now I am addicted to Xanax on top of all of my other woes. I am keenly aware that my entire life is like a 747 sitting on the runway -- simply waiting for clearance to take off, but I can't find a way to contact the control tower. I stumbled on this blog through a Google search for doctors in NJ, and your words were spot on, but still, I would never come to you. What a horrible waste. Every day I lament about this to my unsympathetic best friend and he says, "Every morning when you get up, you make the conscious decision to live your life like you do. A 'normal' person would walk or run to a doctor or at least an ER, but you don't, so I don't want to hear about it." That just about sums up my social life. Friends are gone. But why doesn't somebody t-bone me and make this craziness stop? I always say that I need to be rescued, but nobody rescues me. I joke to the psychiatrist -- "Can't you just have bouncers waiting for me when I come next week who will duct tape me to a chair and take me for a thorough examination? Can't you drug me -- knock me out and wake me when it's all over? Rather than note that I am telling them something that is coming from deep inside of my misery, they see my suggestions as humorous and cute -- which is never my intention at all. My neighbor says I should "surrender" myself into the hands of a qualified physician, but I can't surrender. I am petrified. I need to be kidnapped and brought to a doctor -- but that will never happen. It's 7 years now, and while I am still alive, which would normally be a positive sign that whatever it is hasn't yet killed me, I am frankly worse every day. Yesterday I told an old friend that I am dilapidated. Like a car sitting in a driveway rotting away, and simply by being a car and not a rational, thinking human being, I can neither repair myself, nor do I have the intelligence to drive myself to a repair shop. Sorry to be so long-winded but I have a story to tell. It could be a Lifetime TV movie. Thank you for your inspirational words and for the service you provide for the people you help every day. You seem to be a fine man. LS

Dr. Steve


Hard to know now to respond to your comments. Intellectually
you know that you need to be evaluated by an MD. Also I suspect that
there is nothing physically wrong with you. But you will never be
satisfied until you are check-out. On the other hand, you are obsessed
with the concept of death. Why? Seriously. Is it the fear of
suffering? Is it the fear of non-existence? Is it the fear of some
judgment after death? If you breakdown your fears and examine them you
might be surprised--there is nothing to fear. Death is painless.
Suffering can occur before death but death is actually the end of
suffering. Are you afraid of nonexistence? I believe there is
compelling evidence for survival of the soul after death (not based on religious
dogma). Such existence is a time for healing and spiritual growth.
Are you afraid of judgment and hell? That is nonsense. A life
review after death can be enlightening and challenging. But its purpose is
not to punish us but to teach us spiritual lessons. Clearly your suffering
is self-imposed. It is all created by your own mind. You need to
tell yourself to let fear go. Im not kidding. Repeat this as a
mantra to your self. let fear go. It is a positive
affirmation. It actually works. Good luck. Dr

In a message dated 9/15/2012 3:25:31 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

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