Story: "Why am I tired all the time?"

Woman pictured not the woman featured in this story.

Woman pictured not the woman featured in this story.

The woman who submitted this story asked that it be shared anonymously.

Me, to GP: "Why am I tired all the time?"

Doctors #1-5: "Go to bed earlier."

Doctors # 6-8: "We've done blood tests, can't find anything. Get more sleep."

Doctor # 9: "Pull yourself together."

Doctors #10-13: "Go to bed earlier."

Doctors #14: "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'll refer you to counselling."

Doctor #15 (after relocation): "CFS doesn't exist. I'm not going to offer you any treatment for your tiredness." 

... ad infinitum...

New GP, 2013: "Well, you blood test results indicate a low thyroid, there could be other factors hiding the extent, let's try levothyrxine and see how you get on.

(Shock, horror! Some improvement!) 

New GP, 2015: "Hmm, do this tiredness test. Yes, that IS very high. Let me look at your tonsils. Yes they ARE very enlarged. I'm referring you for a Sleep Test."

Specialist: "You have severe Sleep Apnoea. The reason you feel like you haven't had a decent night's sleep in your life, is because you HAVEN'T had a decent night's sleep in your adult life. Here's a CPAP machine."

Specialist 2: "Glad to hear there's some improvement, but there are still symptoms I want to investigate..." (still waiting for my appointment but am hopeful something can be done to alleviate the remaining symptoms).

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how I was diagnosed, age 35, with a sleep disorder I've had my entire life. Because, you know, if a girl/woman complains of being tired it's clearly all in her head, or down to just needing to go to bed at 8:30 (because that's normal, right?).

What are the symptoms of long-term sleep deprivation? Well, extreme fatigue (check), depression (check), weight gain (check), low immunity (check), poor concentration (check)... all symptoms that are right there in my records. But no, not enough to warrant investigation for two decades, apparently.