There are a few reasons why people self-diagnose rather than actually seeing a doctor. Some are stupid and some are understandable. Those who like being pitied and using ailment as a crutch will typically just lie, which is not the same thing as a self-diagnosis. That’s just lying for no sad reasons.
Some folks self-diagnose because they think they know better. They know their body and they read up on symptoms online, or maybe they are educated in the medical field. Who am I to say they that they don’t know better? At that point, it’s a gamble. Maybe you are right, maybe you’re wrong.
Some folks self-diagnosis to appease rude people. I understand that family, friends, and even strangers care about you, but most people have a hard time with boundaries. Even I can’t help asking sometimes. If you don’t want people to know, why lie? Why not just tell them you don’t want to say? because people’s imaginations are awful! That’s why. Family will think you are dying and friends will think it’s embarrassing and before you know it, people think you have lice or an STD or hiding a pregnancy. It’s so much easier to just say, I have the flu or give it a chronic illness label.
People get very judgmental about self-diagnosis, but really it’s a byproduct of people being too damn nosy to mind their own business. Medical issues are private. Sure, people like to talk about how they are feeling, but can’t we share without being too invasive? Can’t you just be supportive without needing the intimate details of my medical condition? Can’t I share what I’m comfortable with sharing and nothing more than that?
Some people get way too “helpful” in telling you about your condition and what you should and shouldn’t be doing. As if they’re your doctor. I get that it’s well meaning, but you don’t know what’s best for me. Everyone deals with illness in their own way. We all must choose how to live. Sometimes, you have to choose quality over quantity (it means living a short happier life, rather than a longer less happy life).
Then there are those who don’t see the doctor and don’t know what’s wrong with them. They do some research and try figuring it out on their own. They figure out what they might have and try to treat themselves. Of course it’s a risky thing to do… what if you’re wrong? Then again, even doctors guess a lot. Sure, some things are definitive with tests, but many ailments are a guessing game (all be it the doctor will be a better guesser).
Why don’t people go to the doctor? Some folks are afraid of doctors and needles. Some folks can’t afford it and have no insurance. You know that part… but why don’t people, who actually have insurance, go to the doctor? Because sometimes, insurance is crap. Some insurance policies have a high deductible, meaning that I may need to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket before my insurance covers anything. Most visits are NOT cheap $25 visits. One visit to a doctor or hospital can rack up hundreds to thousands in just one visit. I don’t have $2000 bucks just laying around waiting for me to get sick.
What if you go to the doctor and it’s a virus? There’s no cure. There’s no point in antibiotics, because they don’t work on viruses. You might just be paying a lot of money for the doctor to tell you that you have a virus, drink lots of water and rest. What if they can’t figure out what’s wrong with you? You can keep getting tests and seeing more doctors, but that’s going to rack up a lot of money that you might not have. If we run to the doctor every time we get sick, we might be getting further into debt.
Technically, if I really need to, I can afford it. Money would be tight for a while, or depending on the pay period, I might have to be late on some bills. Then again, is it really necessary to spend so much money to be told to get some rest and let it run it’s course? Realistically, we have to self-diagnose to a degree. How do you feel? Is it the same cold symptoms you get every cold session? You know your body and how it feels when you get sick. Did your children or spouse already get diagnosed and you have the same symptoms? You likely have the same thing. Why pay the extra hundreds to thousands of dollars to get both parents and all the children diagnosed? I’m pretty sure they all have the same thing!
I know that this is a risk. What if you’re wrong? What if the symptoms are familiar but this time it’s not what you think it is? You could die or have serious complications. You could be in for more pain than you would have been. Some things can’t be treated without a doctor’s visit. It’s a gamble. They always say it’s better to catch things early (like cancer). It’s always better to go to the doctor, than not to… but I understand why we don’t sometimes. I don’t always go.
If you have a chronic illness that doctors have been unable to diagnose, I understand not wanting to go to the doctor every time you flare up. However, please don’t give up entirely. Do your research, familiarize yourself with your body, and always look for help at stages. I had an undiagnosed illness that got worse and worse. Doctors kept saying I was “healthy” but that was a load of shit, considering the symptoms. By the time I was diagnosed, I was in so much pain that I was doubled over crying in the emergency room. I had emergency surgery and I got better. We found out what was wrong.
Now? I don’t always go to the doctor, but I do when the warning signs are there. If you are not getting better, it’s getting worse, or new symptoms arise, you should see a doctor. If you’ve never had these symptoms before, see a doctor. If you are in a lot of pain, have chest pain, have trouble breathing, or blood is involved, see a doctor. If you are acting strange or have a high fever, see a doctor. There is a point when you just have to go to the doctor.
So people, please be supportive of your friends, but drop the intrusiveness. It’s okay to ask about someone’s health, make suggestions, or even recommend a doctor. Just try to remember, it’s none of your business, so don’t over do it. I’ll try to do the same!