Doctor Doctor…

I went to the doctor about my symptoms this morning (outlined here). She examined me and couldn’t seem to find anything wrong. She reckons that the physical pains and discomfort I’m experiencing are related to my emotions, specifically anxiety, and that they don’t appear to have a clear underlying medical cause. 

I feel disappointed. I wanted there to be a strictly endogenous, not psychological, and therefore “tangible” reason for the flare-ups I’ve had recently – as though a label or a diagnosis from a medical professional would justify my pain. 

I’ve had this experience many times before, including, and especially, regarding my mental health as well. I was always looking for some kind of physical explanation to explain my fatigue, my mood swings, my anxiety, my physical aches and pains. Receiving the diagnosis of BPD was such a relief (amongst other things) for some reasons, because at least I had a name that explained what I was struggling with – which meant I wasn’t alone with it in the world. However, I still continued to look for medical explanations to further justify my experiences. I thought that I would be taken more seriously by friends, family, society and medical professionals if I were to have a physical condition responsible for a variety of my struggles. I didn’t care if it was thyroid-related, anaemia, a blood disorder, or something even worse. I admit that there was a time I prayed for something as horrific as cancer. Anything but *just* a psychiatric infliction! I wanted to be taken seriously, and for people to rush to my side with the desperation and urgency I was experiencing so intensely inside. I also thought that if what was “wrong” with me had a strictly medical, not psychological cause, then I would be more likely to find hope, and a cure. 

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just thought I would share some of my experiences. It’s hard to write specifically about what I’m referring to. There is a lot of shame and embarrassment surrounding it. Some of my symptoms are very personal and intimate, and I’m upset that there is little I can do about them in the way of medical management. I have another appointment with the doctor next week to further explore these issues. 

I wish I could have more freedom from the pain I’m referring to, both emotionally and physically, and for them to stop perpetuating one another in such a viscous and aggravating cycle! 

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14 thoughts on “Doctor Doctor…

  1. This is something I get so so much. You have no idea how much I look forward to reading your blogs there is so much in them I identify with and you have a way of expressing things with amazing clarity. X

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  2. I can relate to this so well. When I got a diagnosis , it was like “this explains it , there’s a reason, I’m not just crazy”. And now when my mood is “up” or “down” I want to look for the chemical or medication related reason before the emotional one because I feel like it’s more “valid” *hugs*

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  3. Last year I went through a time of extreme fatigue. It was at a point where I thought my depression should have been sufficiently treated, so my doctor ran about a million blood tests and I was so disappointed when everything came back normal. I was hoping there was something she could fix.

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    • I so relate, I had exactly that. The fatigue was unbearable and debilitating. I had so many tests over years… In Boston they actually thought they found something thyroid related, but it turned out to be a misunderstanding when I got back to London, and I too was SO disappointed. I feel you!
      P.s. I totally relate to seeing oneself as “flawed” or “broken” and hence in need of *fixing*. I think part of the recovery process is working towards changing this perception and finding some self-compassion and self-acceptance <3. Working on it!

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  4. My therapist believes that I have been getting headaches as a result because I am not admitting how much a life event has been stressing me out, so maybe check how honest you have been with yourself about the intensity of your emotions?
    Just an idea.

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    • Thanks so much. Yes my body is telling me that I’m a lot more stressed than I’m aware of! I’m getting more in touch with anxiety though, it’s been pretty intense the last week or so. One thing is definitely trauma related, so similar to what you’ve just said about it being due to a life-event’s trauma manifesting in your body.

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  5. You mentioned, in your list, stomach aches, back, neck and shoulder aches, jaw tension, ibs and nausea. So there is reason for them all, it is very likely anxiety. Anxiety will cause your stomach aches, ibs and nausea. Probiotics may help with the ibs, perhaps gravol can help with your nausea and stomach aches.

    The other pains you can actually help eliminate with very little effort. Stress/anxiety will cause you to tense muscle groups. You don’t realize that you are keeping this tension for very long periods of times, so the muscles are all working, they become strained and tired, so they ache. They build up lactic acid as you are using them, this causes pain also.

    The secret is to relax them, to do this you need to tense them for a moment or two and then relax them. It is good to start at your toes, tense them all, then release, then try the foot, calf, thigh, hold each group for a moment and release. Buttocks, tummy, chest muscles, shoulders, neck, each muscle in your arms, try to do everything.

    Do this a few times a day, as many as you can, perhaps once an hour, it only takes a moment or two. You may find you eliminate a lot of your pain.

    Drink a lot of water too. Muscles like water.

    Jaw tension is from clenching your teeth, try to notice this and stop, it is another thing we do when anxious without noticing.

    So, yes a physical explanation. The above does work, but like mindfulness you need to practice it a lot.

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it and your validation means a lot. I actually have been slacking on the Progressive Muscle Relaxation practices I used to do, so thank you for reminding me to try again. I drink a ton of water, and will continue to do so ;). Your explanations are really interesting and I think I’ll look into all of that more tomorrow. Tension and stress definitely ring a bell! Thanks again, take care.

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  6. Me too. This made me fight back tears. I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately. I want to feel validated. If I had an illness that was ‘tangible’ I know I could get the support I am desperately craving. I feel so alone and completely misunderstood. Like no one I love will ever be able to truly ‘get’ this. And so here I am, turning to the internet for support (outside of my costly but wonderful therapist), so I can try to ease my feelings of infinite loneliness and know I am not alone. Ugh. Thank you.

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    • I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time and really so much to this pain. Thanks for commenting and sharing with me. It is soooo aggravating and despairing to have so much pain inside oneself yet not necessarily get taken seriously for it just because it’s invisible. Especially when in my experience the mental and emotional pain is so much worse than the physical I have experienced. Hugs hugs hugs ❤

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