I am back to discussing my new physical health journey. I regret any potential comments I’ve made that might have downplayed its importance because just like your mental health, it can really skew your overall balance and wellness.
Through my struggle, one I do pray is temporary but can accept as chronic if it turns out to be, I hope to help others and remind them that a diagnosis doesn’t have to become an identity or weakness. But you need the right mindset, treatment, and support to get to that point.
So obviously I’m quite new to all of this. I’ve always been a healthy person, even when I was actively wreaking havoc on my body through disordered eating. I am blessed in my body’s resilience in those extreme scenarios, but the damage I’ve inflicted is probably now catching up.
I mentioned last week my research regarding Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a very common condition that is especially prevelant in my demographic and mental health history. My best means thus far to treat my symptoms have included taking Pepto regularly, trying to pay more attention to FODMAPs, and hopefully becoming better at relieving anxiety I constantly internalize.
But I do think it’s important to get a professional perspective on your well-being, which is why last week I visited my doctor to discuss my symptoms. This is where my story turns less encouraging.
Since starting college, I had established myself with a great doctor at my local clinic who really got to know me and my background very well. I felt he understood me and could offer great helpful wisdom. Need I mention his name is actually Dr. Pepper? I couldn’t make that up if I tried.
Except it turned out over the summer he left the clinic. I am still distraught by this and am more than willing to hunt him down to wherever he went and still be his patient. But alas, I’m a poor college student, so I scheduled my appointment with a new doctor.
When I’ve talked previously about how you might need to test run a few different counselors or psychologists to find the best fit for you in therapy, the same mentality goes for medical professionals. Some people will click with you right away, and others you can just tell it’s awkward.
Obviously this is what happened with me. I was really hoping to have some answers and some advice as to whether my symptoms truly are associated with IBS and, if so, how to effectively alleviate them. I told my doctor that I had researched extensively into IBS, its many causes, symptoms, and possible treatments. I was even ready right there to take on another prescription for daily anxiety management if that would do the trick.
But with this new doctor, he wasn’t especially receptive to my contributions. He asked some general questions about why I’m taking my other medications (which, hello, I’m clinically depressed) and then proceeded to order a blood test and inquire about H. Pylori, an infection that really doesn’t match what I have in the first place.
He then told me to just eat more fiber. Nothing regarding stress or anxiety. Nothing about how my diet could play a role. No other helpful advice. Simply put, I was a tad disgusted walking out of that appointment feeling like I had gone nowhere productive. I was still at square one, trying to manage everything myself.
But if you’ve ever been in a similar boat as me, I hope you keep looking for answers. You stay hungry and curious for more knowledge and support. You don’t have to stop at a single answer and call it a done deal. See other professionals. Seek out other people and form channels of support.
You’re not fighting alone, whatever that fight may be. We have so many resources and tools at our disposal. Health is so important. Trying to balance and achieve that peak version of our well-beings is a priority. You are worth that.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie