By the time I got into the machine, I felt a panic attack coming on. I want to share with you a few things that I have learned through this process that hopefully will help you if you are also faced with anxiety in this situation.
1. Get FACTS, Not FEAR
The Internet can have a lot of awesome information and can also have a lot of horror stories. Keep in mind that most people who have good experiences do not share these experiences. It’s important to feed your mind with facts instead of buying into the fear that surrounds the MRI machine.
The truth of the matter is that nobody has ever died from getting an MRI and nobody has been trapped in the machine. There has also never been a case of people strapping you down and torturing you while you are in there. There is actually nothing to fear that is real.
2. Be THANKFUL, Not a VICTIM
First of all, I am very fortunate to live in Canada where I do not have to pay a huge fee to have an MRI scan done of my brain. 100 years ago, people would simply die from unknown causes because they simply could not get the kind of testing done that we can in our era. I try to remind myself that I am not going into the MRI machine as a victim but as someone who is enormously fortunate to live where I live and have the technology at my disposal that can monitor my situation. If you must pay for your scan, be at least thankful that you get to have every cell looked at. How cool is that?
3. Be INTERESTED in TECHNOLOGY
I had an opportunity to speak to my MRI technician longer than usual this time because somebody didn’t show up for their MRI. She was understandably upset by a no-show considering how many people wait to get into this machine that runs 24/7.
In this time, I was able to ask her some questions about her computers, the MRI machine itself and her education leading up to this. She was very well-informed and was able to answer my questions and I left feeling really fascinated by her profession and the positive things that they were doing for people like me.
4. Find Your FASCINATION with SOUND and RHYTHM
Most people characterize the MRI machine as something terrifying. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it is a quiet machine. It’s loud. They gave me earplugs, plus music and headphones to dampen the noise. While music certainly helps, the machine itself is extremely loud. A couple of songs that played in my headphones would come close to syncing with the rhythm of the industrial sounds in the machine and I became mesmerized by wondering if they would eventually sync up. Being a heavy musician, it really gave my mind something to concentrate on and I walked out of there thinking it was pretty cool!
In looking back and reflecting, the anxiety I was feeling and the panic attack that happened at the beginning of my MRI session came from extreme sleep deprivation and so I wasn’t thinking clearly. There was no reason for me to feel anxious because it is one of the safest tests you can have done, and the technicians are extraordinarily professional, helpful and thoughtful.
Try your best to view your MRI test as a gift from some very talented scientists who want to find out what is wrong. You are very fortunate to have the access!
I call my brain cyst, my spider. Some people have accused me of not taking it seriously enough, but I understand that applying some good old-fashioned child-like fascination isn't just helpful, it is imperative to my well-being.
Much love on you, see you on the playground!
“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” ~Neale Donald Walsh