By Caitlin Spitzer
Imagine waking up one morning and something doesn’t quite feel right. It starts out as a minor headache or dizzy spell, but not much more comes of it. You think, “Oh, this isn’t a big deal, I’ll just rest and feel better tomorrow.”
Except you don’t. You wake up the next morning and the symptoms are the same. Once again, you think it’s not a big deal, as these things happen. Maybe it will go away on its own in a few days?
Now, two weeks have passed and the symptoms aren’t letting up. In fact, they’re getting worse.
The minor dizziness has escalated into full-blown, “the whole world is spinning” episodes.
The headaches have turned into mind-numbing migraines. You’re nauseous, and maybe your heart rate is fast all the time which makes it difficult to do any physical activity.
The natural course of action is to go straight to the doctor, so that’s exactly what you do. You get there and describe all of the symptoms in detail, making sure not to leave anything out.
Because the symptoms are so vague, they can’t suggest what the problem could be.
They take multiple blood tests to rule out the obvious causes, like vitamin deficiencies — you hope that’s all it is. But when you get the phone call a week later that the results were all normal, you feel a pit in your stomach as you start to get anxious about what it could be.
Fast forward to weeks or even months later. You’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices and they still can’t pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms. Maybe they’ve given you some medicine to help, but it only masks the symptoms.
It starts to impact your personal and professional life. You’re having to use up vacation days since you’ve used up all of your sick days.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario for a lot of people. It’s frustrating when your health isn’t up to par and doctors can’t find a cause for it. You feel angry at the doctors who seem to be throwing you around like a ragdoll, going from test to test.
You feel guilty and ashamed as it starts to take a toll not only on you but on the family members around you who are having to pick up some slack in your wake.
It’s also starting to have an impact on your mental health.
According to an article published by Psych Central, depression is three times more likely in those with chronic physical symptoms.
Anxiety can increase as well as there is a looming fear of the unknown. Decreasing mental health can worsen the physical symptoms and make it difficult to function in everyday life.
For anyone who is suffering from an unknown medical condition, or those who are suffering from a chronic condition in general, know that you’re not alone. As difficult as it is to keep your head up, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
The best thing you can do is follow the doctor’s recommendations and continue to search for the underlying cause. And listen to your body — no one knows it better than you do. Remember that your health comes first.