Today's story comes from Sarah Davies. Sarah lives in New York and is a writer, wife and mother of two.
For the past year, I have had the following symptoms: congestion, cough, headaches, occasional dizziness, my eyesight is starting to worsen, I sometimes lose track of conversations, and I can’t smell a thing. I am a 36-year-old who was previously in good health, so this isn’t consistent with my history. I didn’t trust any of the doctors where my family lived previously, so I just dealt with it. I thought it might be allergies. It’s odd to make curry and have no idea what the house smells like, but I learned to adjust.
My family recently moved across the country to a completely different environment. The plants, the animals, and the weather are all different. The symptoms didn’t let up when we were driving across the country, so it isn’t a reaction to any of our household goods. Once we got moved in, I decided to see a doctor and get this fixed. I was planning on hearing him refer me to an allergist or an ENT. He heard my symptoms, did a quick physical exam, and gave me a diagnosis.
“This environment can be really hard to live in, and moving is difficult. You’re depressed and that’s causing the congestion.”
Now, I’ve dealt with depression. I get sad. I get mad. I cry, have little interest in things I generally enjoy – all the typical depression symptoms. Never once have I had congestion and a cough as depression symptoms.
“I don’t think that’s correct. This isn’t depression.”
“I know it can be hard to admit, but you have to reach out for help. Here’s a script for an anti-depressant. You’ll feel better in a few weeks.”
I went home. I called for another appointment with a different doctor. This one told me that he didn’t really know what I expected him to do and that it looked like I’d been seen for the same issue, so why was I back. I told him I just want to feel better. I just want to know what’s wrong so it can be treated and I want to be taken seriously. He gave me a referral to an allergist.
I haven’t gotten in to see the allergist yet. I hope that they are more helpful, I don’t think anyone can be less. I think that if I get another round of ‘you’re depressed, just fix that’ I’ll scream at them. Then I can really be diagnosed as hysterical. Is it hysteria, or just being beyond frustrated at not being seen as someone who is capable of knowing when I’m sick?