It’s not in my head: female pain and the doctors who refuse to acknowledge it

So some mixed results today. I saw a doctor at no cost, but he failed to listen to me. He was perfunctory. He was cold. He was unyielding. He was awful. He listened to my heart for 30 seconds and the proceeded to dismiss every symptom I am having:

  • swelling in the knees, legs and feet must be from the heat and NSAIDs (even though I have never experienced these symptoms while living in Tucson or in Brooklyn last August)
  • heart palpitations, dizziness and low blood pressure are probably from anemia caused by heavy periods (I don’t have heavy periods anymore, but ok)
  • Lower extremity pain is from plantar fasciitis, most definitely caused by all the exercise I’m getting in NYC (I have never had anything like that in my life)
  • weight gain probably caused by overeating or stress or not eating enough and stress. Whatever it was, it was impossible to gain 15 pounds any other way. Oh and by the way, I need to see a nutritionist because what I *really* need is bariatric surgery revision because I should be 160 pounds and that is probably the cause of all my problems in the first place (even though prior to me having the sudden and concurrent onset of all my symptoms, I maintained the same weight (within five pounds) for 7 years)

The doctor was male and older. I kept telling him something was wrong and I was in serious pain. He told me to roll a ball around with my foot in the morning.

Women in pain do not get listened to by doctors. This is fact.

I went through years and years of mental illness with several doctors before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and even then, I was treated for the wrong type.

I went 31 years before self-diagnosing with Autism just to be told by my psychiatrist and therapist and anyone else that heard it that I most definitely did not act autistic. And then was properly diagnosed only to be told that I was an outlier because I did not act like a classic white male adolescent autistic.

I went through two years of begging any doctor I could see to help me with excruciating joint pain and muscle cramps that left me incapacitated and unable to work. In the end, I discovered that it was from years of taking Latuda. The pain eventually went away, but I was left with permanent and awful side effects.

Watch this Ted Talk about chronic fatigue disorder to see how women get dismissed and their symptoms get written off.

I know something is wrong. I’ve inhabited this body for 40 years and I know every book and cranny. I know that this is not in my head. And I need someone to believe me.

Jennifer Brea—Ted Talk: What happens when you have a disease doctors can’t diagnose

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