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He said I was having panic attacks - but I wasn't

Share Your Story: Doctors Who Blame Bipolar Disorder for Physical Symptoms

By Grandama

Updated April 12, 2011

What were your physical symptoms?

Was having trouble catching my breath and was breathing too fast and hard.

How serious were the symptoms?

They confined me to a chair or bed. I couldn't walk around.

My initial experience with the doctor:

I was sent to a pulmonologist who determined I didn't have COPD. I asked what he thought could be causing it, if it could be my heart and he said he thought it was neurological. I asked what he meant and he said I was having panic attacks. He had my VA file on the computer in front of him, listing bi polar as one of my ailments.

What I had to do next about my symptoms:

My primary doctor did not accept panic as a diagnosis and sent me to a cardiologist. It turns out that I have a valve problem. I feel vindicated and know that if it gets worse they will do something. Now I am facing cancer and I have had a couple panic attacks. Reasonable. My panic was the idea of being sent to a different city to have surgery done. I thought I was going to be alone but my daughter has assured me where ever they send me she will be by my side. That helped.

Lessons Learned

  • I've learned to listen to my own body. That I can tell the difference between a physical problem and an emotional one.
  • I've learned that even learned physicians have their moments of ignorance and judgmentalism.
  • Mostly I've learned Jesus has my back and I can count on Him to be there for me.
  • I've learned to trust the love my family has for me and although all three of them are bi polar too, love can come first.
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