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ME/CFS AUSTRALIA (SA) INC

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Inventing Illness? What It's Like When Your GP Won't Believe You're In Pain

Sunday 20 January 2019

 

From New Zealand's The Spinoff:

 

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(Photo: Getty Images)
 

Inventing illness? What it’s like when your GP won’t believe you’re in pain

By Hannah Gibson | Guest writer
1 March 2018
© The Spinoff 2019

Hannah Gibson has been living with chronic illness for most of her life. So why does she still struggle to get medical professionals to take her condition seriously?

Before I found my current GP, I always had the urge to censor myself went I went to the doctor. To make my story palatable, less daunting. To put the doctor at ease. This was the result of 22 years of learning the culture of biomedicine, gaining an understanding of the kinds of illness or presentation of symptoms many doctors (note, not all) prefer to hear about. I don’t make up symptoms; any time I have come to a doctor’s door I have genuinely needed help. Which makes it all the more painful when a doctor’s eyes glaze over as they mentally clock out, wishing they had a different version of sickness in front of them. I can see when they get excited at the prospect of seeing something unique, and I even see their frustration when they can’t diagnose me easily.

...

Recently there has been a jump in stories of New Zealanders with complex chronic conditions like Ehlers-Dahnos, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and endometriosis who are being treated like their symptoms are fictitious. The word ‘psychosomatic’ is bandied around, a triumphant cry that doctors use when they mistake a complex case as something that is ‘an invention’, ‘attention-seeking’ or ‘laziness’, simply because it doesn’t fit into the neat categories that biomedicine holds so dear. I know doctors want to be able to diagnose problems, but I worry that too often when things are challenging they brush people off.

But calling someone living with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and other complex conditions ‘inventive’ or ‘factitious’ doesn’t actually make the problem go away. The pain stays; the fatigue too. And the frustration and feeling of being utterly alone increases, because many of us are brought up to believe in our doctors. I know it’s a big ask – but please, doctors, treat our suffering with more respect.

 

Full article…

 


 

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