It is a horrible situation to be in when you lose faith and start to doubt yourself. I know so many people with chronic health conditions who have felt the same way due to the way one idiot doctor has made them feel. When you aren’t believed, your symptoms are minimised or you're told there is nothing wrong despite the fact your body is screaming at you that there is something very wrong, you can lose faith in your ability to be objective. You can start to let that seed of doubt lay down roots. Those roots do a number on you and you can start thinking that you are a hypochondriac / there’s nothing wrong / you need psychological help. Despite trying to remain strong after that awful appointment nearly three weeks ago now, seeds of doubt had entered my mind.
I know how ridiculous that sounds. I know that there is something wrong with me, I know that despite the doctor claiming that there was nothing wrong - despite not actually examining me and looking at what was in front of them. It has been niggling away at me, I have been doubting my symptoms and that is a dangerous position to get into as it messes with your mental health and it makes you play fast and loose with your physical symptoms. The last three weeks I have been having an internal dialogue all about the appointment and what I could have said and done differently, even though I know that the decision had been made before I even entered the hospital.
I have also found myself doubting that I still have ptosis, although no magic wand has been waved to make it disappear. So much so that one morning when I could feel it coming on, I deliberately waited to see what would happen before I took mestinon. I had almost convinced myself that since the neurologist believed that there was nothing wrong and could provide no explanation as to what was wrong, then my ptosis would simply disappear. However I was soon persuaded that this was absolute rubbish when it took a good hour to get rid of this when it happened just after I’d had a shower.
But what if I had been having breathing problems and I convinced myself that there was indeed nothing wrong with me? What if I had ignored all the signs that were pointing to the fact I was having a MG crisis? I could have died purely because I had believed the word of a neurologist who didn’t even show me the courtesy of examining me.
The appointment has made me really angry, not only because the neurologist had a closed off mind and had decided before they had met me that I didn’t have MG, but because it brought up all those feelings of doubt that I had ten years ago. It has really shaken my confidence, I am doubting and second guessing everything. I have become quite withdrawn and I am spending a lot of time in my head. All due to one stupid appointment that didn’t last more than 30 minutes. Do the doctors that treat patients like this realise what they do to us? Or do they not even care because we aren’t their problem?
I am lucky I am strong enough to know what is going on, that my mind will be all over the place for a couple of weeks whilst I process all of this. I have good people around me who lift me up when something like this happens. I’m also savvy enough to know that I am the only person that can break me out of this funk and that it is vital that everyday I do something I enjoy and that I am good at. Even if my self-confidence has been shattered it is important to get up every day and try.
What I really love to do when I am in a funk due to an appointment / doctor / life in general is get creative. I have loved taking photographs for years. I really enjoyed doing a six-week photography course when I was at university. The older I have got the more I have understood about lighting, composition etc. I know the best room in the house for taking photos in natural light is the kitchen, if I take photos in the lounge I am left with artificial looking colours due to the flash going off, or sunlight bouncing off surfaces causing glare. The only camera I use is the one on my phone ( I can’t wait to upgrade as I didn’t get enough memory on this one), I use the filters on Instagram but I wouldn’t know how to Photoshop unless someone sat me down and gave me very basic instructions on what I am doing. Taking photos and getting feedback is something I love and it boosts my confidence. Especially when someone famous likes your photo (or several of them) or when Emma Bridgewater's social media team contacts you and says they’d like to use your photo. That has happened to me 6 or 7 times now and I have only been posting photos of my Emma Bridgewater stuff since January. So I am pretty pleased.
I am an amateur when it comes to photography but I really find it relaxing and the positive affirmation I get through Instagram has lifted my mood. You can find me here.
Here are some of the recent shots I have taken if you don’t use Instagram
When my head is full of doubt I know that taking photographs or looking at other people's work brings me a sense of calm.