Story: "You’re depressed and that’s causing the congestion."

Woman pictured is not the woman who shared her story.

Woman pictured is not the woman who shared her story.

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?