Doctors orders: GROW UP

What are you to do when your doctors orders are: GROW UP.

True story. Here goes:

I’ve had chronic neck pain & headaches for 11 years. Got an MRI at my mother’s urging, and discovered what could possibly be the physical source of my pain – a T1 and T2 hemangioma, basically a benign tumor growing out the vertebre in my neck.

Good news: it is benign

Bad news: taking the thing out is risky as hell.

I was actually thrilled that they found SOMETHING, because prior to this diagnosis I chalked my neck tension, chronic headaches up to one thing – anxiety.

When it came to anxiety treatment, you name it, I’ve tried it- and with vigor:

Meditation, yoga, PT, OT, trigger point injections, pain specialist, behavioral therapy, stretching, strengthening, crying, and finally- the dreaded meds.

Anxiety medication became my friend four years ago.  I was done. Done with struggling with chronic pain, debilitating headaches, and just plain misery.

Mostly though, I was missing out on life. Missing out on the moments with my children, and nothing- nothing is going to take those moments away from me.

My anxiety centers around ruminating thoughts, picture a hamster on a wheel, and you’ll understand how my brain works. I don’t have a doubt in my mind I am an ideal candidate for anxiety meds.

These medicines changed my life. Literally, changed my life, on a level that can’t even be expressed. Put it this way…I will take 20 more years with this healthy mind, then 50 years living how I used to. I don’t ever want to go back there. 

When you are faced with the fact that you need medication to control a mental disease, rather than a physical one, the process of shame you go through is, frankly, sad.

What people will think? I’ll just hide it. 

But you can’t hide it from the pharmacist, what will she think of me? I know exactly what she thinks….just another weak, suburban soccer mom, popping pills to get through the day.

So damn it, today is the day. I am here to say…rather PROCLAIM in the words of my father – PISS ON ‘EM!

Back to the neck story….

So last Thursday, I am sitting in the office of the best Orthopedic Surgeon in the city. I anxiously await the results of my lastest MRI scan, jotting down my questions for the M.D.

I want to know this:

Is the tumor the source of my pain? Could it be that anxiety is not my cross to bear, instead there is a real physical reason for this suffering?

He enters the room. Tells me right off the tumor has not grown.

We discuss options, no new options, he can’t even be sure this is the cause of my pain.

Surgery is high risk and it is the only option.  My solution? Daily yoga, keep taking my anxiety medicine as prescribed (its the muscle relaxant effect of the drugs that keeps my pain at bay). If figure, when the day comes that these medicines are no longer doing the trick, I will figure out a new plan, but I am not even considering a surgery that puts me at risk to lose my voice and swallowing ability.

The mention of my anxiety medicine stops this guy in his tracks. He doesn’t buy it. He doesn’t buy anything about a persons need to take any mental health drugs. I can see it in his eyes, to him I am a weakling.

The guy turns to me, totally deadpan, and in his all incompassing genius proceeds to tell me that psyhiciatric medicines are “uneccesary.”

I urge him to tell me more, because now I am intrigued, thinking “hey, maybe he’s right, maybe he knows something I don’t, have an open mind.”

He says he really shouldn’t express this, since it is not his field of expertise, but since I opened the door, he decides to tell me the big solution to my 11 year chronic pain problem…….

“Grow up”

Grow up. That’s it. Shrug of the shoulder. Simple as that.

Followed by “maybe you are trying too hard,” along with a few other words of wisdom weaved in for fun.

Huhh? My head was spinning, and I found myself actually pondering this viewpoint.

The pondering continued until I picked up my cell to call my husband, and the first word out of his mouth was “Who is this dude, Tom Cruise?!@#!?


So what is the moral of this story? 

I am constantly hearing from ED suffers these outrageous stories about doctors that just totally and completely treat you like your ED is some kind of joke. Some kind of attention-getting, frivolous phase. You are all just selfish really, just appreciate what you have will you, you silly, silly child? 

Here are the new rules for how you will STAND UP FOR YOUR SELF when you encounter a total knob of a doctor or nurse:

Cut him/her off- fast. You know your suffering, you know your pain. The thoughts that you are held hostage to with an ED is the closest thing to hell one can ever experience. Tell the Jack to get out and demand a new doctor/nurse assigned to your case.

Don’t fret over how someone judged you wrongly, just do what you need to do to find one that understands. I am practicing what I preach by the way, I called for my records, spoke to Mayo Clinic today only to find out I should be seeing a Neurologist! Mr. “Time to Grow Up” M.D. isn’t even the specialist I need. It would have been nice for him to mention this in passing don’t you think? His over inflated ego wouldn’t even let him refer me to the right help. Is that totally insane or is it me?

You and only you are responsible and in control of your own health. Ask for copies of your records, know what they are diagnosing you with, do your research online (even if half the stuff you find scares the hell out of you). Face it. Conquer it.

Search and search until you find that medical professional that understands YOU, and works with YOU to prescribe a tailored plan for recovery. YOU deserve nothing less.

Your health, both mental and physical is everything in this life. Protect it.


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19 Responses to Doctors orders: GROW UP

  1. hannah says:

    i have gone from doctor to doctor and none of them have ever seen a case like mine, bi-polar, ed, ect. and iam only 17 and no one takes me seriously. i tell my mom all the time iam over medicated taking 10 different medications. i feel like iam crazy taking all these pills. i have been to a few doctors that just gave up on me so my mom found a new doctor but all them say more medication. i have no control in who are my doctors and what i say doesnt seem to click with any of them. i know that there has to be some doctor out there that can solve this 5 year hell iam living. i have a feeling even when i turn 18 my mom will find some way to control every thing, she doesnt know any thing about my problems and doesnt want to know she just listens to all these doctors. i take medication to get aride of one side effect to only start a new side effect. i get so stressed i end up in a hospital and then i really dont have any control. i guess iam just writing because i know some one will read it and understand because i have yet to find some one that understands. thanks for reading this,

  2. Christy says:


    I know what you mean about the hamster wheel. I feel like I have a cruel projector in my mind that replays over and over again aspects of myself and my life that I would rather not think about. I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression and take meds to help. I strongly believe that they have made a big difference, especially with the anxiety. For the past four or so years I’ve experienced terrifying anxiety attacks where I literally thought I was dying (I didn’t know they were anxiety attacks). So, since I started on medication (coupled w/ therapy), they have almost completely subsided and I am very grateful for that.

    As far as doctors go, it is more difficult than I ever imagined to find one that i feel comfortable with. Although I’ve never had a doc be as rude and inconsiderate as to tell me to grow up, I have doubted their abilities to help me because they do not seem to quite understand or care to really listen. Luckily, I did find a team that I really like and have been with for a while now. But I think your advice is smart and true. It’s important to recovery, or at least progress, to find a doctor works with your specific needs.

  3. lore_ache says:

    Tell me people, do you really think those mind-numbing drugs will make you HAPPY? And don’t say i’m unsypathetic or rigid. I had tons of tranquilizers, antidepresants, neuroleptics… Starting with depression, leading personality disorders, OCD, anxiety disorder, ED, SI, down to paranoia and catatonia. Been stationary 10 times. Number of “tie-up” doctors proposing new narcotics.
    But it can sound more attrctive. I recovered when refused this triplet (drugs-docs-hospitals). I scored in my life more than any avarage person could wish for.
    I AM ME. Not a side-effect or made-up or subordinate.
    Don’t let them wash your head.
    Good wishes.

  4. Jaime says:

    HANNA you are not alone
    I found this video blog of a woman going through similar distress.

    I also think a tiny dose of cyclobenzaprine I think it’s called.
    would help you MAMAV

    I had a herniated disk in my neck over a year ago,
    and it did wonders.
    I still have pain occasionally. One dose and I am fine for a loong time.

    This way you can have less dependence on anxiety meds.
    Only take the muscle relaxants when you need them.

    Here is a great video about lowering stress.

    Doctors can be downright wack-jobs. I can totally relate.
    One Dr i saw demanded i go to weight watchers,
    grabbed my leg, and made me afraid.
    then, the Dr continued to insult and offend me
    till we could find a peaceful way to get away from him.

    And all this happened while MY HUSBAND WAS THERE.
    I NEVER go to the Dr by myself. ESPECIALLY a MALE Dr.
    and hubby and i have a escape plan now, as not to be taken off guard again.

  5. Jane says:

    MamaV…. your doctor is an arse.

    Ironically I read a post by someone just a while ago before I read this on the very same topic. Anyway, I’m sick of people responding like that…. here when I first moved (I lived in Spain before) I went to the doctors for some help with recovery and when I told them about my ED, anxiety and deprssion, the doctor responded, “Oh, is that like borderline personality disorder!?” People don’t have enough awareness about psychiatric illnesses and it really gets on my nerves!

    lore_ache – we know that the meds aren’t going to miraculously save us. But, they can help!

    Anyway, gunna go have coffee with friends. Take care everyone x x x

  6. Christy says:

    Well put Jane! I think most well informed people do not expect some miracle to occur where all of a sudden they are completely happy. But yes, I agree, they can help.

    Furthermore, lore_ache, I am glad you have found a way to recover without meds. However, you seem to imply that those of us who choose to go the medication route are reduced to a “side-effect or made-up or subordinate.” This seems like a blanket statement that really doesn’t apply to many out there who take meds. I think every individual case is different. For some, alternative methods work better and prove successful. For others, the right meds can really make a difference in a person’s day to day life. Of course, not solve the problem, but that’s why therapy is typically factored in.

    With that said, I ask that you not make generalized judgments as there are many of us who, despite our struggles and the meds, are much more than a side-effect.

  7. Jane says:

    Good points also Christy :o)

    I agree about the blanket statement, everything always comes down to individual circumstances, and we are all to blame for making generalised statements – myself included.

    I like the way you made the point that we are people irregardless of how many pills we have to swallow everyday. It hurts when people make comments insinuating that we are simply “side-effects” , “made-up” or “subordinate” – we have feelings too ya know :o) Anyway, I understand what is being said – medication is sometimes just another mask that hides the underlying problem.

  8. lore_ache says:

    Didn’t ment to offence anyone. Sorry, if I did.

    In rosponse, I want to say it’s not only an “individual case”. I had a life possibility to observe people before-course-after and it made my (maybe categorical, but though) decision.

    Just wanted to emphasize that everytime you swollow a pill, you are giving away a part of yourself.

  9. Nats says:

    I have heard these comments “grow up” and “get over it” too many times in my life AND they still haunt me. Especially when i told my family about my ed I got back “you will get over it”!!

    Believe what you will people its NOT THAT SIMPLE if it were we would all not be here now. Narrow minded people come on here and tell us that things are not as bad as we think they are and that all we need is to grow up. Point is people we cant grow while you overshadow us with your opinions of what we should be like and how much we weigh.

    This site has helped and is helping so many people like me and you all need to open your eyes and see what truely is in front of you NOT WHAT YOU WANT IN FRONT OF YOU!!!

  10. Rio Iriri says:

    Doctors like that should be reported. Definitely make a complaint to your health insurance provider, and talk to your primary care physician to see what more can be done. At the very least, your primary will probably refuse to refer anyone to this self-important jerk.

    Lore_ache, you seem very young. I’m sorry that you do not understand how anxiety and other psychiatric medications function. They don’t have some magical ability to program someone’s brain and make them different. They correct chemical imbalances of specific types, allowing the person’s brain to function more normally. A person taking them is still the same person, just as someone who takes heart medication is still the same person.

    If I fail to take my pain medication (I have a painful chronic condition), I exhibit different personality traits. This is not because I “am truly” that person in pain, it is because being in pain is stressful and makes me crabby. Relieving that pain doesn’t take away from who I am; it instead permits me to express myself in other ways. It takes away the cage that traps me into “Rio in pain” mode. Similarly, my anxiety medication does not obliterate my persona; it permits me to function as a whole person instead of being stuck in “Rio in panic” mode.

    If anything, the medications enable sufferers to be MORE themselves than they otherwise could, because it frees them from the trap of their condition. Behaving differently does not imply that they aren’t the same person! Taking a pill does not cause me to “lose a part of myself every time”–it lets me RECLAIM myself every time!

    Furthermore, saying that you externally observe people changing their behavior, and that you think it is a bad thing, is a pretty selfish thing. If you’ve come to think of someone as their disordered or disabled self, and they find a way to break free of that, your perception of them is going to have to change. Hanging onto that perception as the “true” person is not fair to them. Maybe you’ve come to think of a grandmother as someone walking with a cane. If she finds a treatment that allows her to to toss out the cane and straighten her back, then she no longer fits the mental picture you have of her. If this change bothers you, guess what? That’s just too bad for you–you will have to adapt to her new image, because she is doing what is best for her. Just because the changes are more subtle and “in their head” with psychiatric disorders doesn’t mean that they are any less important to treat.

    Most people wouldn’t expect someone to go through physical pain (grandmother example above) to conform to their preconceived image of that person, so why advocate people go through mental and emotional pain to do so? You don’t know what they went through before the medication, and it’s generally none of your business to know, so just suck it up and deal with the fact that people deserve to be treated for their medical problems whether or not it causes a transformation in their external persona.

  11. Melissa says:

    That… pisses me off. Grow up? You ARE GROWN. you are one of the most mature people I know. You never whine. Nothing.

    Good for you for not accepting him as all you’ve got!

    I really give you bright blessings in your search to find what you need to get healthier. &hearts


  12. Alyss says:

    I know exactly what this is all about… I go to my doctor, and it’s like everything I says goes in one ear and flies out the other without any second thoughts. I’ve been diagnosed with numerous psychiatrict disorders… and anytime I talk about physical alinments I feel like no one is listening. They just want to shove medication down my throat and send me on my way.
    Most of my life, I keep feeling I’ve been constantly misdiagnosed, recently I saw a psychiatrist for 45 minutes, in that he proclaimed I’m Schizoaffective. 45 minutes he firgured out my whole life? Yeah…
    Seems like go in get prescription, out pharamacy, pills… side effects… Nothing really helpful so far. I tried going to a psych hospital to inquire about seeing a psychiatrist for more than oh say once… they sent me back to the care my my normal doctor and put me in a program for Borderline Personality (which I haven’t heard from since… and that was 2 months ago)?
    I am so tired of the system… and this has been happening for 5 years. So now I am recieving no treatment at all… and I hate meds… no matter what I’ve been diagnosed with they give me the same meds, just different brands. So wtf?
    Can you really ask for photocopies of your file?
    If you really can, even if I have to pay a little money for them to do it, that would make me happy to see what they have been writing all this time…

  13. Joey says:

    I find it weird that people feel ashamed of psychiatric medication. I’m not…but maybe i’m strange.

    I’ve had multiple people not take my ED seriously now – 3 doctors, 2 psychiatrists, a therapist, a cousellor, my parents and 2 teachers i think is the last count. I find it so hard to accept that maybe i do have a problem, and it’s not some pathetic small thing like all these adults who are supposed to care seem to think it is.

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