How I Balance Advocating For Myself as a Patient with Avoiding Hypochondria

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and none of this is meant to provide medical advice. This is just my personal experience.)

I struggle with being my own patient advocate and not being a hypochondriac. I know that having OCD means that I have a tendency to catastrophize and this includes imagining worst-case possible illnesses or medical situations. I know when I’m at my most mentally ill that I can see an aneurysm instead of a migraine or some other catastrophic illness in a simple flu or cold.

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When Everything Feels Exhausting

Lately, I’ve been beyond exhausted. Fatigue, exhaustion, and tired: nothing seems to cover how worn out I actually feel. I’ve had almost all of my IV iron treatments and I still feel wrung out like an old washcloth. I know it is normal for some people not to feel better until all of the treatments are finished. But it’s hard to know that intellectually and emotionally. Emotionally I’m impatient and frustrated.

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Anxiety Doesn’t Always Have a Trigger

Anxiety doesn’t always have a trigger. Sometimes it’s clear to me why I feel anxious: I am waiting on test results or about to meet with a new client. Sometimes, I find that my anxiety is triggered by alcohol or caffeine. I can often pinpoint something that’s making me anxious. I can say to myself: if I resolve this issue or once I get this information or if I avoid caffeine, I’ll be fine and relaxed.

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How I’m Listening to My Body and Making Progress to Get Medical Answers

For months I’ve been dealing with what the doctor referred to as vague symptoms, fatigue, sweats, headaches, numbness, and so forth. In a puzzle working backward from the symptoms, first, my doctor’s figured out that I have consistently really high platelet counts. This could signify any number of things. To figure out what was causing it, they then continued to test and discovered I have a really low iron count.

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