Chronicles of Life with Multiple Sclerosis
Too many of us can relate to this. Thank you for sharing your story.
Its one of the things I’m most passionate about, and in some way prompted my starting this blog. We all know doctors are just people like the rest of us, but relegating us to the “its all in your head” file (which SHOULD NOT EXIST TO BEGIN WITH as our bodies and minds are connected) under the general assumption that the patient is more likely “complaining” “in need of attention” etc as opposed to has an actual problem is just disgusting. If a doctor has become so cynical that they feel comfortable judging their patents that way, using things like make up and other momentary, context free judgements, they should probably hang up their stethoscope. Its its own form of malpractice if you ask me.
No, I’m not hating on doctors. I’m also not assuming that many of us don’t have illnesses that are extremely difficult to diagnose. none of us are really expecting our doctors to just “know” whats going on. The issue is that too many doctors come with preconceived notions about their patients.
The process of my diagnosis isn’t all that different than yours it seems. I was so obsessed with school and where my career took me that I ignored some signs, didn’t have a consistent doctor (partly because of assumptions like “well you’re wearing make up so you must not be too bad off”), and I was diagnosed with several different things before the proverbial shit hit the fan so to speak. When that happened, however, my struggle to find a doctor that would take me seriously (even with optic neuritis) was incredibly difficult. Even once I knew what I had my doctor wouldn’t call back, would blame a “history of anxiety”, etc. and ignore flare ups until I’d end up back in the hospital. It took a lot of strength and frustration to get to the point where I said screw this and found a new doctor. So far it seems to be working out with this one.
Anyway, its incredibly frustrating that we as patients get judged as “fine” for struggling through our pain and making an effort to seem visibly normal or positive, or for not being able to struggle through the pain and get to that place thus being “depressed” but assigned as such in a derogatory non medical way. Depression and anxiety are a huge element in a lot of chronic illnesses, so if thats the case then perhaps our doctors should take notice and not treat it as us “whining” (see past post on mind body dichotomy..). More over, sure there are a lot of people complaining about things, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of people fall on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Ok, really my point I swear: Being sick, going to the doctor, feeling pain or confusion, are not fun experiences. We’re not showing up and paying you a gazillion dollars because we’re bored. You may be frustrated with your job, maybe have dealt with people that annoyed you in the past, but stop for a second and remember that we are PEOPLE, HUMANS, coming to you, VULNERABLE and looking for answers. We need HELP, not judgement, and generally we’re more than willing to work with you in figuring out what the hell is going on if you just give us a damn chance. So please, please, don’t make us worry about your judgements, your assumptions, and your cynicism on top of the problems that have built up enough (for too long for many of us because your colleagues have instilled fear and shame in us) that we called you.
Sorry for the long response. I hope its coherent since I’m pretty damn exhausted and achey at the moment. I could stop myself though, It makes me so angry to read about this happening to so many people.
“It’s all in your head.”
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