My Lyme Disease Diagnosis Took Permanently Due to Mental Health Stigma

My Lyme Disease Diagnosis Took Permanently Due to Mental Health Stigma

She had been told for years that her constant fatigue was caused by her mental illness problems. Finally, she even received a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease.

At a tiny nearby town in upstate NewYork, I sat in a physician’s office beside my mum, anxiously awaiting the final results of blood tests obtained a couple weeks earlier. I was 16 yrs old, in pain, also sleeping during my summer break.

Originally, upon hearing symptoms, the doctor was concerned and compassionate. She promised to do a full workup and search diligently for the reason why I was unable to escape bed every day, dropping off to sleep by seven per night, and appearing to have been in a nearly constant state of annoyance and malaise.

On this afternoon, the doctor seemed relieved, eager to talk about her results with my worried mum as well as me personally.

“Thus,” she said, grinning at my graph,”your blood work came back completely normal.”
She paused, glancing at my mom, and then back at me,”It says here you have an analysis of depression and anxiety. Are you continuing to treat this? My suspicion is this is the origin of your fatigue.”

She cried again as if she was suggesting a simple solution to an intricate question.
Suddenly, most of the time spent wondering, most the hope I had felt, the waiting and praying for an investigation or answer, it all disappeared.

She doesn’t believe me,” I thought to myself. Just how unjust, I thought, just how embarrassing. I am sick, I’m sick, yet once more, another physician is telling me this really isn’t a physical disorder, it’s related to my mental wellness.

I sensed hugely frustrated, so convinced I knew my body a lot better than the doctor, yet unable to argue since the longer I did so, the more I was seen as mentally unwell, overdramatic, or even untrustworthy.

This scene happened again and again through time — I’d go to an alternative doctor, certain this time they’d see past my previous mental health diagnoses, and yet each time when the answer wasn’t instantly observable, they’d go back to my mental wellbeing, motivating me to seek out support or therapy.

While my mood disease was real and also something I struggled together, and I felt like though I knew the distinction between depression and deep fatigue.

Emotional health stigma

The stigma around mental illness isn’t a secret to those of us who deal with symptoms associated with emotional wellness. And for them, the stigma around mental illness is often equally as destructive and difficult to manage as the disorders themselves.

I state, without emotional wellbeing, we don’t have health,” said dr., LCSW-R, at a phone meeting with Healthline from her home in.

Abrams spoke the frequency in which she sees clients experience mental health stigma, including a client who went to the er with fear attacks repeatedly, only to be dismissed and turned away without proper follow-up referrals or care.

“I could imagine [if] somebody has in the medical record they have been admitted so often for so many terror strikes and they moved in and they had signs of a heart attack, they’d be disregarded,” .

“Emotional health stigma would be the unwanted beliefs, attitudes, along with accompanying discrimination aimed toward those who undergo mental health challenges,” she told Healthline. “Some of the many areas which people feel the unwanted effects of mental health stigma is at the health care system .”

Seeing the stigma First-hand

For me personally, the mental health stigma within the medical field was an undeniable truth.

Over and over I met physicians who appeared relieved to get there was nothing wrong with me besides a misfiring brain. I was seen as overreacting to symptoms of depression due to my anxiety, even by those nearest to me personally.

I had been increasingly frustrated with blood tests which returned inconclusively and the shift in response I received by the practitioner once they decided it was”all in my mind ”

Chronic Lyme disease is hard to diagnose due to the available tests largely being just able to assess whether you have been infected, instead of having the ability to provide insight into why the symptoms are ongoing.

For a lot of people, nevertheless, chronic Lyme can be just a harsh reality that leaves people usually unable to work, in almost constant pain and undergoing painful quantities of fatigue.

This was a relief to find that my emotional disorders hadn’t become the reason for the low energy and pain whatsoever. Still, the years of misdiagnosis and discounted symptoms had left me frustrated, hurt, and feeling as if I had lost a fantastic deal of my childhood searching for diagnosis within a method profoundly influenced by mental health blot.

Also, Lyme can be a highly debated diagnosis. Regularly new doctors or practitioners will wonder my symptoms as being psychosomatic, despite my Lyme investigation.

Doctors frustrated associate professor of clinical medicine at  Medical College stated that she believes the issue boils down to significant frustration many doctors have of needing to help, and not necessarily being able to do so.

“I presume especially when there are symptoms which can be not simple to spell out we receive very disappointed with this. And we want explanations. And not everything can be necessarily stuck inboxes; we can’t always find laboratory reasons or real good reasons for matters,” .

“Occasionally we can’t even make an analysis,” she continued,”I know there is something amiss since you never feel well, but I really don’t know what it is. Admitting that we just do not understand is so hard.”

when she had been in medical school, she received little to no training on mental health stigma, however, she feels that now that the field is doing somewhat better on teaching classes about blot and emotional health problems into health students.

“I believe that in the event you get a good relationship with an individual you will be able to state I don’t know the answer, I think we ought to try some matters, but that I actually don’t really know the answer,” she explained. “But that takes a lot of work, for at there. And also you must be willing to complete the job ”

If asked for what information she’d give people who are affected by mental health stigma from the medical field, Curtis said,”Name it for whatever it is. Discrimination. Inform yourself that it’s maybe not that you are’over-emotional’ or’a burden,”mad,’ or’not helpable.’ Being shamed, ignored, branded, or mistreated due to a mental ailment is discrimination.”

For me personally, it’s still frequently a consistent fight to be taken seriously and to find the care needed to fight with my chronic illness.

Currently, years after identification, I remain grateful and appreciative of those health practitioners who take me seriously, listen to my symptoms, and are willing to”do the job” to help me get well.



  1. this is very interesting to me. I haven’t finished reading yet, but I am very much in the same situation. five years ago I became chronically exhausted and had chest pain, it was so sever I thought I was going to die. The doctors said nothing was wrong. I knew my body. They always pass stuff like this off as anxiety, depression, or much much worse. “mental illness”. All of the above happened to me. Most doctors will never say three simple words “I don’t know”. I wish more doctors could see the not knowing as opertunity to learn. to innovate even. Instead the culture is for a psychiatrist to then come in and decided they “know” it is anxiety. with out any prof what so ever. All my friends know i am almost too calm a person, in any given situation. It is so out there

  2. When I was a little kid I almost died of Lyme. On the other hand i’ve never struggled with anxiety and was only depressed once ten years ago for a few months. I used to struggle with shyness but that is not related and is years in the past now.

    • everybody and their brother. so to speak. my mom. her boyfriend. many doctors. a few different therapists, some friends, say that “it could be anxiety,” like it is a revelation, like I have never heard that one before, really

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