When I was in 7th grade, one day I suddenly had a lot of pain in my wrist. My parents brought me to a doctor, who told me to wear a splint for 6 weeks and it would be all better. Boy was he wrong! This was to be the first of many symptoms.
Fast-forward to the tender age of 17. I had seen many doctors – internists, orthopedists, surgeons (yet for some reason, no one suggested neurologists or rheumatologists) – and they didn’t know how to treat me. They suggested I see a different kind of doctor: a psychologist.
I have nothing against psychologists. In fact, I have a big problem with the social stigma surrounding mental health in the United States. But in this case, it was upsetting that the doctors all thought this was in my head. Then some family and friends started to think so too, and that was even worse! Some thought that I was making up the pain in order to get attention. Others thought that my subconscious was making up the pain. It got to the point that even I started to wonder! My mother was the one person who never believed their hype – she always knew that the pain was real. I am so thankful for her. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if she hadn’t been in my corner.
My disability benefits were due to run out last week, and try as I might, I can’t get the overworked case manager to call me and tell me if I’m approved for a few more weeks. I was worrying about this today when I suddenly realized why I’m so nervous: I’ve had years of people not believing me, and what if the insurance company stops believing too? Those doubters when I was 17 were only some of the doubters I’ve faced. There have been so many. I still face the problem now, but I have a better handle on dealing with it. With an insurance company, though, it can be very hard to argue. There’s no real person to convince, just an entity.
Now that I’ve recognized the fear I feel, the lasting affect of those years of being doubted, I hope that I can overcome it. I hope that I can feel confident that people will believe me (or at least that I’ll convince them easily enough.) It will take a lot of work; afterall, I’ve been facing the disbelief for many, many years. Still, now that I recognize it, it’s time to get over it.
I refuse to waste any more energy on worrying about what other people think.
If you can relate to this, please pass it along! Thanks!