Especially when it concerns your life. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been busy with therapy to get my life back on the tracks. I used to be the kind of person who just took what was said without questioning it. I refuse to be that person any longer.
The result is quite simply that my life is better.
When I was hospitalized after 3 years of agonizing back pains, I was dismissed with the message “It’s probably a herniated disc, no need to make a scan, send her home asap.” No. I insisted on an MRI. I insisted on knowing what the fuck was wrong with me, why I couldn’t sit, stand or walk anymore. I insisted on recovering to the point where I could walk up and down stairs again because I didn’t have the luxury of an elevator or someone to take care of a 26 year old woman who lives by herself around the clock. When they finally put me in the machine and saw just how bad it was, I got a “Oh, well, this is a pretty bad hernia, no wonder you’re in so much pain!”
I was told I needed to go into a daytime program, where I would spend my entire day in group therapy five days a week. I considered this, I felt uncomfortable with it because it didn’t make me feel heard, and I refused. In no unclear terms, I let my psychologist know “This is not for me. I just need someone to sit down and talk to me. I need someone to help me figure out where this is coming from. I need someone to help me get through the specific issues that make my life unlivable.”
Two years later I’m doing better than I ever have before, I understand what the source of my mental health problems is and knowing helps me maintain better control over my life.
I was told that my birth control method of choice (the implant in the arm) was ‘unfavored by many women’ and that I should consider other alternatives by my doctor. I said “No, I don’t want something put in my womb; I know just as many women who struggle with problems caused by this method, I can’t tolerate the pill, and I’m doing this for a better hormone balance. I’ve researched it, I know the risks, and I made my choice: this is for me.”
Well over a year later, I’ve never felt better. My moodswings have diminished drastically. I may still have periods, but they’re so light I can wear panty liners instead of full on pads or tampons. Yes, it took almost 6 months for my body to adjust to a rhythm. I knew this before I started and I allowed it time (unlike the women my doctor mentioned, who had it removed in less than 3 months – not enough time for your body to adjust to a change in hormones, folks!).
I’m a smart cookie. I do my research, I know my situation, I know my body, and I know my gut instinct. I’m not perfect, but I’m good. So are many, many, many other people out there. If you feel something is wrong and the person you reach out to is dismissing you, stand up for yourself. Stick to your guns. Get the tests you needed. They may be professionals, but they make mistakes as well. They’re just giving their best guesses and send you home, assuming it’s never as bad as it sounds. And they can be horribly wrong. If your gut tells you something different, if your own research points in a different direction, go with it. Get another doctor. Get another professional. Get the tests you think you need.
You are the boss of your own existence. There is a lot we don’t control in life, but these things we can. And we should.