Q. My PCP said all my tests came back negative even though I had specific symptoms. She suggested I talk to a therapist. What?? So my doctor thinks I am crazy! Why would she want me to see a therapist? — Jenny

A. Jenny you actually have a very wise doctor. Just because your medical tests were negative it doesn’t mean that she was discounting your symptoms. She could have prescribed medication to treat your symptoms but her wisdom in referring you to a therapist was the best medication.
Linda’s doctor also referred her to a therapist after treating her for headaches and stomach pain. She had tests, many tests and blood work but the results were negative. Instead of being relieved that she did not have a serious illness she became more determined to convince the doctor she wasn’t crazy. She really had pain.
At this point Linda’s doctor suggested that something else might be causing her pain and talking to a therapist might help. She was extremely resistive but she eventually called to make an appointment. After many sessions with her therapist Linda was able to see how her long term marriage was very empty and she was very lonely. She had never talked to anyone about her marriage.
She began to realize that maybe her depression and extreme sadness might be causing some of her physical symptoms. She felt trapped, unable to leave the marriage due to finances, insurance benefits and her lack of job skills.
Therapy helped her find new outlets for her loneliness. She realized she had isolated from social contact so she began to fill some of her time with old friends. She could not expect her husband to complete her and met her needs if he showed no interest. She was beginning a journey for life to have more meaning.
Linda would not have gone to therapy if her doctor had not suggested it. She was not crazy. Her doctor never thought she was crazy. It was the best medication for Linda.
So Jenny, take this moment to think about a different approach to your health problems. Your tests were negative, your blood work normal but your symptoms persist. You are not crazy.
Call and make an appointment.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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