To the Doctor Who Told Me My Illness Was 'All in My Head'
To the doctor who told me it was all in my head,
I get it. You’re a well educated, 60-something-year-old man. You like to think you know everything, and the things you can’t comprehend scare you. I understand. You believe if you’ve never heard of it, or if there’s not a blood test for it, it must not be real.
Part of me wishes I could let you borrow my nerve endings. I wish you could feel how excited they get when I try to get up in the morning – so excited that they all shoot pain at once. I wish you could borrow my legs and feel how fickle they are. Sometimes they have feeling, sometimes they don’t. The spiteful parts of me wish you could borrow my stomach and feel it scream and contract at just the thought of food. I desperately wish you could borrow my 13-year-old heart, sit in front of someone who’s supposed to help you, and watch as they tell your mother you’re just emotional, that you just want attention.
That it’s “all in your head.”
You turned me away because what you saw me experience wasn’t anything you’d ever seen, which meant it must not have been real, right?
I also wish you never feel pain. I wish you the most simple, boring, average life, because people like me would give anything to be average and boring. I wish you the most unexcited, cool-headed nerve endings. I wish you the most predictable legs. I hope you eat anything and everything your heart desires, not just when you’re starving, but just when you want something that tastes good. I hope that no one ever looks you in the eye and allows their pride to keep them from helping you. I wish you better than what you gave me.
Because in my struggling I found the courage and the strength to forgive you. I found the courage and the strength to understand you. I searched the deepest valleys of my soul and found pity for you, because you can’t believe in something you can’t see.
To the doctor who told me it was all in my head, it wasn’t.
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Thinkstock photo via PhotoBylove.