How I confused the medics

Saturday January 15, 2022

This is a true story about myself. It covers a period of fifteen months.

It started on 23 December 2018 at about 8am. I got up, had a shower and then “nothing”. It was the beginning of a 2 hour period of some kind of amnesia.

Doctors in the A & E department could not agree on a possible diagnosis. A few weeks later I attended a TIA clinic where the possibility of some kind of stroke was discounted.

I began to suffer periods of dizziness and headaches and was referred to a neurologist. After 2 consultations and a normal MRI brain scan he tentatively suggested some form of epilepsy. It was the middle of 2019 and I had suffered two short periods of illness where I became incapable of rational thought. In January 2020 I visited another neurologist who failed to make a physical diagnosis.

After another mini “breakdown” in March I visited my GP and the first diagnosis of Mental health (MH) problems was made. All the physical symptoms I had shown during the preceding 16 months were attributed to my mental health illness.

The purpose of this post is not to bore you with my medical history but to demonstrate the close link between mental health and physical health (PH).

I have first hand (mind?) experience that poor MH health can cause real physical symptoms. There is also no doubt that a PH condition can affect MH.

In terms of treatment some PH conditions can be treated relatively quickly but treatment of MH conditions often takes longer.

Guilt is another consideration. Generally, if you have physical symptoms it is accepted you are suffering through no fault of your own. However, poor MH is still less understood and tolerated. It is easy for the sufferer to feel guilty and isolated. (Less likely if they are a Moodscope member!)
Because of the lack of understanding it follows there is less empathy shown to MH sufferers.

I have recently found it difficult to decide whether some of my physical symptoms are attributable to PH or MH. For a long period I was continually told my PH symptoms related to my poor MH. It has been difficult to alter this mindset and keep a more open mind if I am feeling unwell. It is not good for my MH if I jump too quickly to incorrect diagnoses.

Have you experienced physical symptoms that have been related to your poor MH?

A Moodscope member.

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