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My Search History as a Teen With an Undiagnosed Illness

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Clinical trials near me
Clinical trials chronic pain in my area
NICE guidelines neurology referral
Private healthcare Scotland
Disability causing suicide

If I wasn’t so unwell I could be studying, based on my search history. But I am unwell. I’m unwell and I’m struggling. I had dreams of being a forensic psychologist when I was younger; I had a fascination with the brain. I still do. When I grew up a little more, I began looking at careers in the social work sector, specifically supporting young children. I’m still interested in such a career path. But I am unwell. I’m unwell and struggling.

Did you know the average wait time for people with chronic conditions to receive a diagnosis from first speaking to a medical professional about their symptoms is 4.8 years? That’s just to receive a diagnosis, not necessarily an accurate diagnosis. I first saw my GP for my symptoms at age 11. In six days, I will be 17. Six years of battling a system that doesn’t work.

I will be 17, and I will be so unwell that I can’t even think about any kind of celebration without being exhausted. I imagine it will be like any other day; wake up late, spend most of the day in bed, go to sleep. Oh, did I mention the 24/7 insufferable pain, fatigue, nausea, twitches, subluxations, dizziness…

Can’t wait for my special day!

London short term rent
Can I live independently at 16
Private rheumatologist
Can I move from Scotland to London for healthcare
Am I crazy

The most recent explanation I have heard from a doctor in reference to my symptoms is: maybe I just need some more friends. I can’t find any studies to show that friends can cure chronic ailments like mine. But doctor knows best, right? In the appointment before that: it was “just” my mental health causing these issues. There was no regard for the timeline of my life, showing a sudden decline in my mental health after I became so unwell that I needed a wheelchair at 14. There is no denying that I have mental health problems, I have no shame in admitting that. However, after a highly credible rheumatologist in London told that doctor that I had clear physical health problems, you’d think they’d listen. Other “explanations” I have heard include growing pains, attention-seeking, laziness, puberty and more.

Maybe it is in my head. Maybe I’m “crazy.” Maybe I am attention-seeking. Or lazy. Or “just a teenager.” Doctors have implanted so much doubt in my mind.

Wheelchair fitting services
Links between mental and physical illness
Can mental illness cause involuntary movement
Patient rights
Am I faking my illness

At this point, I don’t even need to know if there are treatments available. I just need to know that someone, somewhere will care enough to at least try to help. I am unwell. I’m unwell and I’m struggling. But the worst part is: I know I am not alone. I know there are so many other people in similar positions, fighting to get the help they both need and deserve. I know I am not the only person to experience medical gaslighting. I am certainly not the only person to feel so helpless, being pushed to the side by systems that are rigged against us.

We are unwell and we are struggling. But trust me when I say this: we will not give in.

Image via Google.

Originally published: July 15, 2021
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