The Eyes Have It

I know it’s inappropriate to refer to mentally ill folks as “crazy.”

That being said? News flash to my doctor: I know that I’m crazy.

But just because I have a history of mental illness, it does not mean that you can just dismiss my documented physical symptoms and insist that I “just need psychiatric medication.”

Psychiatric medication makes my eyes more painful, because they dry them out. This has been explained to you.

Also, if a “normal” person presented with these symptoms, would they be treated the same way? I sure hope not. I feel that I am being discriminated against because of my mental illness. I have been suffering physically for months. This is unacceptable.

When I first developed photophobia, and what was later diagnosed by the ophthalmologist as dry eye disease, my primary doctor noticed that I seemed quite anxious. She suggested that I needed psychiatric medication. The funny thing was, I had been taken off all of my psych meds because of the eye problem. And psychiatric meds would have made things worse.

The even funnier thing was, I was anxious because I COULDN’T SEE. I think that would make most people anxious. And my condition seemed to be deteriorating.

Since then, I have been diagnosed with uveitis. The underlying cause is undetermined. I had a lot of blood tests. They don’t show markers for inflammation, yet. But my eyes will not calm down. The burning abated when I was on topical steroid drops four times a day. Now the burning is back with a vengeance. I am on other prescription eye drops to help “calm my immune system down.”

I have been complaining of episodes of extreme fatigue since I was diagnosed with shingles. That was sixteen months ago. I remember being fatigued even before that, but I assumed it was stress. The fatigue is a bone tired exhaustion. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Now I’m so fatigued that I can’t function well on a day-to-day basis. Added to that, I am having dizzy spells where I don’t feel comfortable even driving five minutes to the local grocery store.

I have been depressed many times. I have never been this physically ill.

I know that my blood tests don’t show inflammation yet. The fact of the matter is, my eyes have been inflamed for months now. The eye doctor still thinks it’s an immune system issue. So some sort of treatment would be helpful. I’m dumping prescription eye drops and $40 worth of OTC eye drops into my eyes per week just to keep the pain at bay. This would indicate that there is something physically wrong.

I haven’t been able to work in months. Because of my eyes being the way they are, normal lighting conditions are painful. Even applying for jobs has proved frustrating. There is fluorescent lighting everywhere, and “turn off all the lights in the company/store” would likely not be considered a reasonable accommodation.

I tried applying for an at-home transcription job. Even with the brightness turned down, I could not read the instructions. I have since discovered a dark browser, which has been helpful.

But the truth is, I am running out of money and I don’t know what to do.

My doctor doesn’t seem to care. At least not enough to try something. Do I want steroids during a pandemic? Nope. Am I willing to try anything at this point if it would help me feel better? Yup. Do I want an autoimmune condition? Absolutely not. Do I need help, physically? Yes. Yes, I do.

Instead, I get scoffed at and treated like I’m unbalanced and utterly unintelligent. It’s infuriating.

I wrote to my medication manager, who I saw six days ago. She seemed to think I need some sort of physical treatment at this point. If the med manager and my counselor don’t think it’s all in my head, and they acknowledge that I have physical symptoms, why won’t the doctor take me seriously?

I insisted on the phone call to my primary doctor that I was stable. But I admit that talking about the way I feel physically, I was almost crying. I am upset at being exhausted and in pain. I have every right to be. It does NOT mean I am unbalanced or delusional.

They can’t see inflammation in my blood. But the eyes have it.

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