An Open Letter to Doctors Who Think Chronic Pain Patients Are “Hysterical”

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Last week, I had the distinct honor of being one of the first women to tell her chronic pain story on KrachKreative.com. Blog founders, Diana-Ashley Krach and Karrie Higgins, have created a safe space for women in chronic pain who have not been taken seriously by medical professionals. They are currently in the process of writing a book called “Hysterical: An Anthology” and are actively seeking submissions. 

 

If you are a medical care provider for a woman living with chronic pain, and you think the problem is “all in her head”, that erroneous belief is causing her psychological damage. This is my chronic pain story. I will put the first few paragraphs here, then I will link to the original post on KrachKreative.com, so you can continue reading. 

 

“I Told You I Was Sick”

 

“For some people living with a chronic illness, being treated as a ‘hypochondriac’ is a traumatic, one-time event.

 

It’s that one unforgettable moment in a sick person’s life when their doctor clears his throat in a certain way, throws a suspicious glance over his shoulder, or suggests that ‘talking to someone’ might help. Or, it’s that not-so-subtle moment when the doctor rolls her eyes, sighs exasperatedly, and shouts, “Enough already! There’s nothing wrong with you!”

 

Suddenly, it hits you with gut-sinking clarity that the doctor you’ve put your faith in to heal you doesn’t even believe you’re sick. It’s then that you’re left wondering just how long you’ve been being humored.

 

I think that’s what gets to you the most. The sudden realization that it’s all been an act. That you, in your innocent earnestness, have been being seen as an attention-seeking nutcase for months, but you didn’t have a clue until the doctor slipped up and revealed her true feelings.

 

For me, it wasn’t any one particular event. You see, I was born sick.”

 

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Feature photo courtesy of Flickr/Alex Proimos

 

 

 

 

 

About Author: Jaime A. Heidel

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