Thread: arrrgh!!!!!!!!
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Old February 18 2013, 08:34 PM   #179
Robert Maxwell
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Re: arrrgh!!!!!!!!

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
Thanks for letting me vent.

I get my blood test results tomorrow, and to be honest, I am way more worried that they won't show something wrong than that they will.

When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I was 12, and it was my first year of middle school. I was sick for about a month before the diagnosis was made. The doctors ran test after test, but everything came back fine. They told me I was just depressed, that it was just teenage hormones kicking in. I started missing school and had a teacher accuse me of making it up to get out of class. My dad accused me of making it up to get attention -- you see, between the ages of 2-12 I'd had about 20 surgeries on my ears to correct severe hearing loss (there was a point when my doctor thought my hearing would never be restored, but even then my dad wouldn't learn sign language, and it was my primary mode of communication until age 5!), so my health often made me the center of attention and he thought I missed that or something. Finally they concluded I was depressed, even though I kept saying I wasn't, that I was just sick. They sent me to a psychiatrist anyway and put me on Luvox -- which I took for only a week, refusing to take anymore.

Two weeks after that I was in the ER at Children's Hospital with DKA (Diabetic Keoacidosis).

The thing is, though, that that month of being told it was all in my head and my attitude, that just stuck with me. Ever since then, every time I get sick I think it's probably just in my head. When I was 12 I dislocated my thumb but didn't tell anyone because I didn't want more drama and figured it probably wasn't that bad. When I was 27 I walked around on a broken foot for a week because I figured it probably wasn't as bad as I was imagining it. I had DKA a second time in my mid-20s but figured it wasn't that bad, and when I finally got myself to the ER they said I was hours away from being intubated and having a through-line put in my chest.

When I told my endocrinologist about the symptoms I'm having now -- heart palpitations, fatigue, weakness, trouble breathing, nerve pain and tingling, fainting spells, night sweats -- he didn't seem to believe me. He just focused on whether I was stressed out or depressed (which I am not). I honestly think it's because I made the mistake of being honest with him about being diagnosed as bipolar. In my experience most doctors are happy to dismiss any symptoms as psychological once they know you've got a mental illness. By being very persistent I got a referral to a cardiologist, who has been wonderful and is taking me seriously -- though I haven't mentioned the bipolar diagnosis to her. But like I said, I'm more scared of nothing being wrong than of something being found in that blood work. There's my rant for the day!
You're not the first person I've heard a story like this from--being accused of malingering or not being taken seriously when you have a medical complaint, because you have a mental illness. It's shameful that medical professionals still exhibit this awful stereotyping of people with mental illnesses as fakers and attention-seekers. If we can't get people actually in the healthcare industry to take mental health seriously, it's going to be an uphill battle to get lay people to stop stereotyping and misunderstanding it.
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