" It's All in Your Head"

How many times have you been told “It’s All in Your Head”? Those of us who suffer from having Lupus will in most cases be told this exact phrase numerous of times, from doctors, friends and even family. Is it because they are not informed or just don’t want to deal with what is truly going on? If you hear this phrase enough you too will think that “It’s All in Your Head”.

The pain we feel is real (no one else can feel it but you), the emotional struggles we have is real, the fatigue is real, the loss of hair, the rashes and yes the weight loss before being diagnosed is real and it’s not “All In Your Head. Now if you don’t think I’ve been told this phrase you are totally wrong. I remember going to a doctor’s appointment to see a new Rheumatologist, at this particular time I could barley get out of the bed each morning, I had no energy and it felt like I had not slept in weeks, hair constantly falling out, my clothes were getting to big due to the weight loss.

While the physician was doing his examination on me he made a comment “You women are always stating that you have no energy, you can’t move because of the pain, you just don’t want to do anything that’s all wrong”, and last but not least he stated that phrase no one wants to her “It’s All in Your Head”. When I heard those words come out of his mouth, that was it for me, I immediately got from the exam table and stated in a calm voice “Doctor may I ask you several questions”? He replied yes, so I proceeded to ask this man who took an oath which states “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. So, the first question I ask, “why would you make such a statement by down grading what I told you I was going through”?

I stated to him with in your oath that you took it simply states, “"Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient". But you instead took my symptoms that I described to you as it being “All in My Head” and its not. You have previous laboratory results which clearly shows that I have a positive ANA, and my blood levels are all clearly out of range, it is a common fact that you cannot confine every patient that comes through these doors in a one-size-fits all box, because each persons symptoms are different. So just tell me why you would sit here and state what you did?

He never responded to my questions, he just looked in amazement, but while walking out of his office I turned around and stated, “I pray that the next individual you see today you take more seriously, because the claim you will submit to my insurance for payment will be denied and that is not “All in My Head”. And I was back on my journey of finding a physician who took my symptoms seriously as well as the oath he/she took to practice medicine. And I found that doctor 5 years later, and her name is Dr. Patricia Dhar.

Can you imagine someone be it a physician, friend, or family member telling you “It’s All in Your Head”? Can you imagine that 1.5 million in the U.S. alone has this illness and out of that 1.5 million how many individuals are being told “It’s All in Your Head”? We all go through so much in life and dealing with a chronic illness such as Lupus, I want you to know that the feelings your are experiencing is not in “Your Head” they are oh so real, it’s your body.

We did not ask for what we are going through, but it is the cards that we have been dealt. Never allow anyone make you believe that “It’s All in Your Head”, never allow anyone to diminish your symptoms because you are the only one that is experiencing them. Never allow anyone make you believe that you are mentally unstable. But most of all take what you are feeling as a signal that something is not going on right with my body, and inform your physician, because in some cases your body is giving you a heads up that your lupus is affecting a particular part of your body.

And lastly, never be ashamed to seek outside professional help if you have no one else to turn to regarding your feelings and dealing with Lupus. Take your seat at the table and play the hand that you have been dealt. No matter how hard it becomes never fold or throw your hand in.

Susan L. Hendrix MHA, PH.D.

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