Attention Seeker: Yes Or No

I’m Not Seeking Attention

Attention Seeker

When my health went down-hill, back in 2011, I actually had people tell me that I was just looking for attention. Can you imagine how that made me feel? Severe pain, fatigue, nausea, rashes, and more were part of my new reality. Do you really think people that accused me of attention-seeking behavior were right?

For many of us with chronic illnesses, being accused of faking it to get attention is a common insult. People, including doctors, are quick to think that we’re faking all the pain. They seem to believe that nobody could be in pain every single day. These types of people think that if you can’t measure pain with a test, then it must not be real.

There has been a belief that if you have chronic pain, then you must be crazy. That must be why they always say, It must be in your head. I can attest to this belief, because I’ve had doctors tell me that stress makes me feel pain and the solution is anti-depressants. This has never helped me to feel pain free or stopped my other chronic illness symptoms.

But, am I looking for attention? You bet I am! Now, you ask me, “WHAT”?

I Am Seeking Attention

Attention Seeker: Yes or No

I am seeking attention for awareness. This is why you often see me focus on a specific chronic illness’ awareness month. Many diseases and disorders are rare and don’t get research dollars. This means there will be no cures or treatments developed. Even disorders that are not rare are often under-researched.

Diseases that are typically women’s diseases are researched less than men’s diseases. Many women have auto-immune diseases. There are not enough treatments for the diseases that I have: EDS, Sjogren’s, and Mast Cell Disorder.

I don’t talk about my chronic illness to get attention that is selfish. Although I do sometimes whine and rant about how bad I feel, this is not my aim. I want to share the reality of chronic illness for these reasons: to educate, to advocate, and to encourage. It’s helpful to read about other chronic illness patient’s experiences.

It’s obvious that advocation for chronic illness is seriously lacking. How many times have we gone to a new doctor’s appointment to find that they have never heard of our disease? How many times have I had to spell Ehlers Danlos Syndrome to a doctor, because they have never heard of it? Other times they’ve heard of the disease, but have the wrong information in their heads.

I feel less alone in the world when I read about other people who have the same disorder as mine. Sharing how we deal with chronic disease can help us to find better treatments and outcomes. Patients with good attitudes can bring encouragement.

Do you seek attention? Have you been accused of faking it? Don’t take it. Explain it. If people won’t listen to what you say, then they don’t deserve your attention. Find a new doctor. Be adamant with your friends and family. If you have no choice but to live with your chronic illness, then friends and family should hear you out.

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. This post contains my opinions and is not meant to be taken as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please consult your personal physician.

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2 Responses

  1. Tamny Hudson says:

    I know exactly how you feel I have felt this way for years that Doctors and other people and even for a time my family thought it was in my head. I don’t talk about it as much as I should but I want awareness and for other people not to be afraid to speak up. Thank you for speaking on this topic

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing your similar experiences, Tammy. I don’t think people understand the damage it causes us when doctors and others devalue our suffering and dismiss our need for help. Hang in there and keep fighting for yourself 🙂

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