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ME/CFS AUSTRALIA (SA) INC

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They Told Me My Illness Was All In My Head. Was It Because I'm A Woman?

Friday 29 December 2017

 

From US newspaper The Boston Globe:

 

The author undergoing an EEG
The author undergoing an EEG.
 

They told me my illness was all in my head. Was it because I'm a woman?

Why doctors must stop disbelieving women’s symptoms and institutions must do more research on diseases that primarily affect women.

By Jennifer Brea
December 27, 2017
© 2017 Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC.

Get the best of the magazine’s award-winning stories and features right in your e-mail inbox every Sunday. Sign up here.

Five years ago, at a restaurant in Cambridge, my waitress brought me the check. I stared at the signature line, pen in hand, and froze. I was 28 years old, a Harvard PhD student studying political economy and statistics, and I had forgotten how to write my own name.

More than a year before, my temperature had spiked to 104.7. I thought I had a bad flu. After the fever subsided, I kept getting common ailments: sore throats, sinus infections, low-grade fevers. Except I would wind up in bed, inexplicably dizzy, for days on end. After the restaurant incident, I got to the point where I could leave my house only in a wheelchair. Some days, I did not have the strength to lift my head.

Seeking answers, and care, I would eventually see a dozen specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s. All of their tests came back normal. As my symptoms grew in complexity, my doctors started to use words like “anxiety” or “depression.” On instinct, I started taking my then fiance, now husband, Omar, to my appointments. (I thought I might be treated better if I had a male witness.) Then a neurologist gave me a diagnosis: Conversion disorder, which prior to 1980 was called “hysteria.”

 

Full article…

 

Trailer for Jennifer's documentary, Unrest:

 

 


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