When I was 14, I was admitted to the hospital for severe pelvic pain. They thought I had gallstones, but the ultrasound tests came back negative.
That night, the doctor looked me in the eyes and asked if I knew what it meant to be a hypochondriac. I said, “No, I didn’t.” She told me, “It’s when people make up symptoms in their head, usually to seek out attention.”
That destroyed me. Imagine being 14 and hearing your doctor say you’re pretending to be in pain for attention. I carried that with me for a very long time. I never took my symptoms seriously because I believed they weren’t real.
Five years later, I was rushed to the hospital. My pelvic pain was unbearable. They did an ultrasound and found that I had a ruptured cyst. After getting treated, I went to my gynecologist and had a long conversation with her about everything I’d been through and we reviewed my entire medical history.
We went through all my symptoms, she performed a physical exam, and then I got my diagnosis. This time, the doctor looked me in the eyes and told me she believed I had endometriosis. Finally, I had an answer. The relief washed over me. The pelvic pain wasn’t all in my head. I wasn’t a hypochondriac.
Living with a painful chronic disease isn’t easy. It’s important to listen to your body and find what works best for you. Don’t let people make you believe your pain isn’t real. I did for a very long time, and it held me back from knowing what was really going on in my body.
This story was submitted by a real woman and reflects her personal experience. It does not reflect AbbVie’s thoughts, opinions, or beliefs. Before making any changes to your treatment or lifestyle, consult with a physician.