“I’ve been sick now for almost two full weeks. I get these headaches, my muscles ache and my stomach I don’t even want to tell you what that’s doing. I keep trying to just sleep it off. But my body won’t bounce back from whatever it is that I have.” And so the doctor checks you over and can not find any physical reason for your complaints, so he gives you a prescription for antibiotics. It must be an infection, what else could it be?
How many of us have gone through this same situation, or close to it. Perhaps we just got a note for work and were told to drink plenty of fluids, and get more rest. “This years flu season is really bad.” That’s another line I’ve heard more than I want to mention.
But a week later you’re back! Now they start running tests, maybe it’s an autoimmune disorder, an allergy. I’ve been poked and prodded by so many specialists it’s just plain stupid.
I don’t have some super secret medical disorder that the medical community will eventually figure out kind of disease. I have bipolar 2. When I run a cycle of depression, I have physical symptoms; chronic headaches, stomach complaints, aches and pains, insomnia, or oversleeping.
By no means are they made up symptoms, they are real. But the way we treat them is certainly different than a bottle of antibiotics. When this is happening for me (because I am already medicated) it means it’s time to adjust my medication. Bipolar is a changing disorder, one medication may work for 5 years, then bam I’m on my face and we have to adjust the dose, or change the drug.
It’s very frustrating, but just imagine the quality of life I would have had had a doctor somewhere down the line had said, “well besides…lists symptoms…are you feeling hopeless or guilty for things that you shouldn’t?” Perhaps way back when I was 19 I would have had a better shot at being diagnosed properly and not wasting the medical communities time. And really I mean the whole community, I’m not really sure that there are many specialists I haven’t seen.
How about you? How many of you have spent countless hours in your doctor’s office trying to figure out what was going on. Later to find out that, you are clinically depressed and needed a simple antidepressant. Time changes and the way we treat a patient must change as well. The burden can not lay solely on the shoulders of a psychiatrist (it may take decades literally to get someone there). It must start at the first step, I’m not saying don’t look for a physical cause, but we must consider that with the rise in mental illness, that this patient may very well be depressed or have another mood disorder.
Let’s hope for change, we all deserve to have the best quality of life.