My old (though not in age) doctor (our GP, I don’t get to see a specialist) started out believing that ME was just another name for hypochondria. I like him though and we have a good working relationship (ie I go in and ask for a prescription or a referral and he gives it to me). We’ve been on a long journey since then though and I have since taken the unbelievably brave step of changing GP to a more local practice (my theory was ‘it’s better the doctor you know’; other people tend to substitute another noun in that aphorism). My ME was under the care of the previous GP for fourteen whole years. That’s half my life.. I’m now at fifteen years and if I really wanted to, I could always start rounding myself up to two decades of ME. (I don’t and I won’t because that’s just a little too depressing when you haven’t even reached thirty yet).
I don’t know if since my own ‘diagnosis’ (or first submission of symptoms, diagnosis was never forthcoming), he now has other ME/CFS patients. After all, it’s become a slightly too popular catch-all diagnosis in some cases now. An umbrella term for those patients that doctors don’t quite know what to do with. It’s not really helpful for either that patient or for those genuinely suffering with the condition(s). As I’ve said before he’s never officially diagnosed me. I wonder if he would now diagnose others. (I went to him with the illness defined as befits the above working relationship). He doesn’t ask about it and I don’t talk about it. Just like everyone else.
After a while (we’re talking years) he upgraded me. No longer was ME hypochondria, many thanks, no, it was now a psychosomatic condition. Cheers. Much appreciated.
This came up in conversation with my mother a little while back because she felt that I should actually talk about my ME symptoms to the doctor (ie because she had finally noticed after a couple of years that I have a major pigment issue on my forehead, it’s kinda like alien freckles). I explained that there was little point as I was only suffering from a psychosomatic condition as far as he was concerned and we spent as little time as possible discussing the matter.
She actually felt that it was a good thing. Um, excuse me? She said that at least psychosomatic meant that I was ill. Yeah, kind of. Psychosomatic means the physical manifestation of a psychological illness, you know like when some people are stressed they have a gyppy tummy or come out in a rash or have a headache.
Psychosomatic is just another excuse for not taking me seriously. Psychosomatic is just another name for crazy. *
(* NB. I might be crazy in other contexts admittedly).