Talked to a friend I hadn't heard from in a while yesterday. She's a vibrant young woman in her 30s. Always doing a million things, currently she has scaled back to working on her documentary filmmaking and launching a software company she founded.
Last month she started noticing some very disturbing physical symptoms. Half her body would go numb for no apparent reason. When she laid down to bed her heart started racing, and she couldn't sleep well. Sometimes she got faint while standing for a while, like when filming. Things like that.
At first she ignored it, not wanting to be a hypochondriac.
But eventually she did seek assistance, unfortunately waiting until passing out necessitated a trip to the E.R. 3 such trips later, after being told the first two times that it was stress, she was finally admitted to the hospital. There they discovered it isn't actually stress that's the cause (although it might be exacerbating things.) They don't actually know the cause yet, but they're afraid it may be M.S.
Would it have made a difference if they had admitted her and taken her symptoms seriously the first time she landed in the E.R.?
Obviously I can't say.
But I can tell you what my friend thinks:
"Don't be a woman under 40 with a problem. Actually, don't be a woman over 40 with a health problem. You'll get told it's all in your head for as long as they can get away with it."
Is it really that simple? Any man out there had the same dismissive experience? Any woman been taken seriously with vague and possibly stress-oriented symptoms? Let's hear it!