Second-guessing yourself? How do you avoid getting stuck?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-10-07 10:56:44 -0500
Started 2014-10-02 12:40:15 -0500

Let’s say you’ve got a decision to make. Maybe a new treatment that your doctor has recommended. Or you’re deciding between two health insurance plans. Or any of those decisions that often feel like a fork in the road.

So you did your homework… you got advice… you evaluated the alternatives… you zeroed in on the best solution…

Ready to move? Not quite… You turn it over and over in your mind. Looking for more data. Asking more questions. Crossing every t and dotting every i, and then looking for yet another t to cross.

In other words, second guessing. And as a result, sitting uncomfortably on the fence when it’s time to move. Most likely, feeling stressed out.

Second-guessing can take you way beyond being cautious and thoughtful and drop you off in analysis paralysis.

Here’s a link to an article I recently wrote about how to get out of the second-guessing trap:

Do you ever find yourself stuck when you need to make a healthcare decision? How to move forward? Or how to do you avoid getting stuck?

Looking forward to hearing what second-guessing means to you?

33 replies

rolly123 2014-10-03 23:30:41 -0500 Report

Dr Gary
That exact thing happen I changed insurance I had three choice the one sound good I pick! I don't weigh it out I decide right their! I got in such big trouble can't change until later! If person makes good argument think good I made so many decision without thinking about it! I also got paying more then expected if ask someone help what they say I do! I hate hate making decisions!!!!! I can't do it made worst one !

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:29:28 -0500 Report

HI rolly,

I think many of us have trouble making decisions about health insurance. We do the best we can, and then learn from the experience. I bet you will be that much better prepared the next time you have the chance to make a choice. One step at a time.


rolly123 2014-10-04 00:31:31 -0500 Report

I.cant make decision at all! I let others I now try make them end up getting into contract I can't afford
Valerie ps how do u make decision that good for u without letting others decide for u?

Grandmama16 2014-10-03 15:02:57 -0500 Report

I am so stuck. I've been told by family and friends that I take too many meds and I should change Drs but I've gone to her for 25 yrs. she actually asks me how I feel about certain meds but now I'm feeling like maybe I need a diabetic specialist. I don't know how to find one tho. I'm feeling sleepy and tired a lot as I've said in other discussions and rarely talk about it to anyone. My youngest daughter knows pretty much as we take care of her boys after school but others don't know…just one friend who has multiple health problems too…both in 70's. I have fibro and depression. My grandson, 24, has type one but we're rarely together to talk about it. He's very busy and has a new baby girl. My husband is wonderful and he has PD. His Drs are great and there's an exercise program now for him but there's nothing for my support, tho I do go to his meetings and hope to go to the exercise class too. I sooooo need it. There's no diabetic support near us. I guess what I'm whining about is that I'm feeling alone.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:27:58 -0500 Report

HI Grandmama16,

It's hard to make a change in doctors when you have such a strong relationship with one provider. You might consider doing some searching on the Internet to find a local diabetic specialist. Or you might go to the Website of your insurance company, or Medicare/Medicaid, and searching for diabetes specialists.

Sorry to hear there isn't any support near you. You have a support group right here, so I hope you'll stay in touch!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-10-03 12:42:12 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,
Fence sitting can lead to disaster just as over thinking or over analyzing. The longer it takes to make a decision, the longer it can take to solve the problem. I don't think people fully understand making medical decisions. Not all treatments are going to give each person the same results. Just because your best friend, a parent or a sibling got great results does not mean you will.

I think the best thing to do is to read materials you find then have an open discussion with your physician and surgeon or oncologists. Ask them for second opinions.

For me I look at all sides of the problem or situation then I make the decision. Is it the best decision or not is not really known until you delve into solving the problem. For me, I can't stand being around people who can't make a decision or expect others to make the decision for them. Make the decision and move on.

I also think after reading the material, analyzing data and getting advice, people then try to predict the outcome. This is a prime waste of time because no one can predict the end result. not even a doctor. You can only hope and pray for the best and move forward with life. I can't sit on the fence of indecision. It drives me crazy.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:23:33 -0500 Report

Hey Joyce,

You bring up a good point here. So often, I have clients who can't and won't make a decision because they don't want to move until the know EXACTLY what the outcome will be. They want that crystal ball to tell them that they will get exactly what they want and what it will look like. I tell them that we can sit for a long time gazing into the crystal ball but, in the meantime, life is happening all around them. We take a step, we learn, we take another step.

Humans don't like uncertainty. But we are surrounded by uncertainty. It's life. Accepting that we can't know, and learning to be okay with that, is one of the keys to being content in life. And to making decisions.



GabbyPA 2014-10-02 19:20:30 -0500 Report

Oh, I so get this feeling. When I am in process of deciding what to do I get really bummed out and it can take a toll. Once I make my choice, even if it's not the "right" or "best" one, I feel so much more free. It's like a weight is lifted and I can set my direction and sail on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:20:04 -0500 Report

Gabby, I agree. Just making the decision can take away a big burden off your shoulders. At least you've got a direction to go in. Sitting on that fence gets pretty uncomfortable after awhile. Gary

jayabee52 2014-10-02 18:28:08 -0500 Report

I get what has been called "analysis paralysis" by some. I just have to take a chance which (to me seems impulsive) and let it up to my God to help me with the consequences of my decision.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:18:17 -0500 Report

James, a very good term, a favorite of mine, too. We sometimes find ourselves needing to take a leap of faith. And ready to accept the consequences. Gary

fatso200 2014-10-02 17:02:08 -0500 Report

:Perhaps making a quick impulsive choice and dealing with the consequences is easier than overthinking a choice.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:16:19 -0500 Report

Hi fatso200, this is a good point. If you are thinking yourself into inaction, then at some point you need to evaluate the options and take the leap. Gary

TsalagiLenape 2014-10-02 16:33:05 -0500 Report

Well I was once on that road of second guessing. Traumatizing my health even more. Until I made up my mind and got to moving. Now things are slow to go sometimes, but I am not going back. I am in a better place. Where I was in a place no one belongs in. The gaslight effect was done to me by my soon to be ex-husband and others. Needless to say, I reached out. I found some good therapy and help. Certain friends are thanks to this. Yet now I am doing what needs to be done as soon as I can. In the meantime, I am happy. My life is getting fuller by the last few days. Where my honey and I along with our extended family are fostering 11 children. In 121 days from now we hope to be doing adoptions. So we are blessed. Have a great day!:)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-04 13:15:02 -0500 Report

Hi TsalagiLenape,

Always great to hear from you. And this is an empowered message! It sounds like you really woke up and took control of your life. Glad to hear you reached out for some help along the way, and it sounds like you got what you needed. And you are making a positive impact on the world!

Thanks for sharing this.


TsalagiLenape 2014-10-07 10:56:44 -0500 Report

Thank you so much. I realize having control over what I eat has a major impact on my diabetes. As well my emotions. I don't let those negative people have any control over me anymore. I cut out the unhealthy people in my life. The hardest thing now is being conscious of what I am eating and etc. So if this was my wake up call to help me unclutter my life YAY! I just hope any one else stuck in that same place can do the same for themselves. Have a great day!:)

robertoj 2014-10-02 15:43:16 -0500 Report

Taking inventory is helpful to avoid making rash decisions. I look for trends rather then episodes. For those of us with multiple issues excess stress happens on occasion. That is a good time to take one. Changes may be needed in one or more of our treatment plans. It helps to have a medical team that listens.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-03 20:09:11 -0500 Report

Hey Roberto,

Very interesting. Looking for trends is a smart way to approach a decision. It helps you to avoid making rash decisions, as you said so well. Change is inevitable! Having the right team in place helps a lot.


PetiePal 2014-10-02 14:52:56 -0500 Report

In that case I usually go with my first intuition. Not only helpful for trivia night, but usually your first inclination is the best one, and if it aligns with your research and advice better to act fairly early than languish in decision hell. (This is coming from a project manager not just a diabetic :P )

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-03 19:58:17 -0500 Report

Hey PetiePal,

There is a lot to be said for intuition, that small voice inside that tells you what the best option is. Definitely helpful on trivia night! LOL! Yes, avoid languishing in indecision. That fence gets very uncomfortable after awhile. Spoken like a true project manager! Gary

MaxieFo 2014-10-02 14:01:44 -0500 Report

I have never been one to agonize over making a decision. I pray about it and have fith that the decision I make is the correct one for that particular situation. Sometimes (not very often) what I believed to be the correct choice might end up being the wrong choice, but that is how we all learn and grow. To me the worst choice is not making making a decision because that allows someone else decide for you.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-03 19:56:02 -0500 Report

Hi MaxieFo, that is a very positive attitude. Step out on faith, and be ready to be successful or to have an opportunity for learning and growth. Take responsibility for making your own decisions. Gary

denipink57 2014-10-02 13:28:45 -0500 Report

i dont. i pray about every little minute detail in my life. it used to be my way or the highway! now it is Your will be done Lord. i am at perfect peace now. I will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee :) AMEN

Jan8 2014-10-02 13:19:05 -0500 Report

The doc told me I need Boniva for osteoporosis and I looked up the side effects. Gruesome !! I knew I needed to try it so I popped the pill in my mouth without any hesitation. We'll see !

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-03 19:14:07 -0500 Report

Hey Jan,

So many of these medications are a double edged sword. On one side, the benefits you need, and on the other side, the risks. I hope Boniva treats you well.


Type1Lou 2014-10-02 13:02:15 -0500 Report

A most timely discussion topic given that we are entering the new Medicare Advantage enrollment period. What a morass to wade through in an attempt to make the best choice! I also encountered much of the same analysis process and delayed decision making in deciding to finally get hearing aids. I bit the bullet and ordered them this week!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-03 19:12:33 -0500 Report

Hey Lou,

This is a great example of a decision that is like to be second guessed, and third and .... A touch decision. I have been through it with my family and will be there myself before too long. And there never seems to be enough information, or maybe too much information but not the basic facts that you need.

I hope you landed on a plan that works for you.


Type1Lou 2014-10-04 08:24:15 -0500 Report

I've been working with a Humana PPO this year but it was not without progressively escalated battles lasting 2 weeks at a pop to get the supplies I needed. Once that was done, I got the results and supplies I needed to properly manage my diabetes. In fairness, some of the limitations are pre-set by Medicare, but it doesn't make it any easier on us, the patients. I'm not sure any other plans will be better but I will be evaluating alternatives for 2015. I'm grateful to have insurance.