Listen, I get it. I’m in and out of my local GP surgery a lot lately, between monthly antidepressant prescriptions, contraceptive injections and the general ups and downs of a student’s poor, poor health. Just today I made my latest visit and some thoughts I had whilst at the bus stop spurred this blog post into being.
Why is it that we refuse to go see a Doctor so often? I know my friends do it too. We sit at home getting more ill by the second because, as always, we don’t think our problems are the biggest problems. Someone else always has it worse, right?
Well duh, yes. I’ve had a persistent cough now for six weeks. Finally, I booked an appointment with my GP. This afternoon I set off and all I could think about the entire way there was “I’m just wasting their time, this is pointless, there’s no need”. Someone out there definitely has it worse – but that doesn’t mean my feelings, illness, worries or problems aren’t also valid and deserving of immediate treatment.
Now, we in the UK take our NHS for granted. I know I do. This wonderful, incredible free service is accessible to us and yet we’re so, so, so unwilling to take advantage of it more times than not. Yes, I have a cough! So I should go see a Doctor to check it isn’t anything worse, even if me taking that appointment is taking it away from someone else who, potentially, is really suffering. (The surgery was actually empty so this totally isn’t even true. I actually got seen a whole 15 minutes early #winning.)
I urge everyone to go see a Doctor if they think they need to, for something big or something small, and here’s 3 reasons you should not feel even a little bit guilty about supposedly ‘wasting their time’.
1. It could actually be quite serious
Thank god nothing like this has ever happened to me but you never know when a seemingly innocent feeling illness is actually a warning of something quite major. Doctors know this shit so, if something isn’t quite right, please please do go get it checked out.
2. Even if it’s not, that’s okay
You know what the greatest pro is to this? You went, you got professional advise, and GOOD NEWS…. you’re fine! Well, would you rather you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness just to prove to everyone you weren’t “wasting” time?
3. It’s their job
Look, your GP is literally there so people don’t start carting themselves off to A&E for minor injuries or things that can be cured with a course of antibiotics. They WANT you to come in over silly little things rather than actually wasting the time of the very busy, very under-resourced hospital staff. Honestly, it’s what they’re there for.
So next time you’re sat in the waiting room wracked with guilt, remember that you are NOT wasting time for going in to get some peace of mind.