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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Licensed Psychologist.
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how do I avoid/prevent flashbacks? In August I was traumatized

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how do I avoid/prevent flashbacks?
In August I was traumatized by a medical procedure where my urologist had to touch my tummy a lot. Due to a number of factors, I get flashbacks quite regularly. I'm getting anxious about an upcoming physical I have scheduled because I know my doctor will have to touch my tummy again. How do I prepare for this exam so that I won't have to deal with flashbacks during and after the exam?

What do you tell yourself about the doctor touching you? How do you interpret it? Basically, what is your self-talk about your upcoming appointment.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm basically imagining the worst possible scenario. Trying to prepare myself for the possibility.

That is the problem. You are making this situation "a mountain out of a mole hill" and "catastrophizing." The are cognitive distortions that cause anxiety. THe way to reverse these anxiety provoking thoughts is to challenge them with more rational thoughts. You have to look at things for what they really are. Look at the evidence. Not something you are making up in your mind, because that is distorted thinking. So to help yourself, you need to practice ALOT and ALL THE TIME. Practice challenging those thoughts you are having that is causing the worry. Tell yourself these thoughts are not true because.... Tell yourself you will be ok because.... Tell yourself the truth about this procedure or doctor visit is.... Keep working at it and it gets better.
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