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5 Things That Happen When You Doubt Your Own Diagnosis

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I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 23.

And I’ve doubted the diagnosis ever since.

It’s not easy to say that, you know. I don’t want to suggest that other people’s diagnoses are not real. I don’t want to suggest that I don’t believe in fibromyalgia — there is enough doubt surrounding the chronic illness as it is.

So for the record, fibromyalgia is real, and it’s life-changing.

It’s a hard diagnosis for me to swallow, and perhaps that’s why I’ve been so skeptical. Or maybe it’s been all the other “professionals” (general practitioners, chiropractors, massage therapists) who have doubted my diagnosis… Maybe their doubt doubled with mine made fibromyalgia something impossible to accept in my story.

Whatever the reason, I doubt my diagnosis and I’m not the only one.

So, for anyone out there doubting their diagnosis (whatever it may be), this is to let you know you’re not alone.

Here are five things that can happen when you doubt your diagnosis:

1. You make excuses for your symptoms.

When you feel one of your symptoms creeping up, you might write it off as being attributed to something else entirely. For example, if you can’t sleep because of intense back pain, you tell yourself it’s just because you were at the computer all day. This seems plausible enough to believe, but part of you always wonders the truth.

2. You downplay how you bad you really feel.

You may not let yourself feel the full reality of what’s going on because you don’t buy into it. When people ask you how you’re doing, you always say “good” or “great” even when you feel anything but.

You won’t even admit to yourself how bad you truly feel. Instead, you tell yourself it’s just a little discomfort or a rough day.

3. You hide your diagnosis from others.

When you don’t believe your diagnosis, you don’t share it with others.

You don’t want questions you can’t answer. And so, you hide what the doctors have told you in hopes that the symptoms will improve with a little time or self-care.

4. You push yourself to prove a point.

Your logic becomes self-destructive.

If you can still do the things you used to before you got sick, you can’t actually be sick. You will force yourself to do things to confirm you are able. You will overperform to prove to yourself and everyone around you that you are well, even when you feel anything but.

5. You question your doubt.

When you’re feeling so poorly that you can’t quiet the denial anymore, you start to doubt your doubt. Maybe the doctors were right. Maybe you should go back and seek treatment. Maybe you’ve been in denial and it’s time to accept the diagnosis. You experience fear and worry.

And you’re not alone.

Getty photo bysplendens

Originally published: June 29, 2018
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