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Grueling Journey to Diagnosis

Laura, age 19

For almost 3 years I have been fighting. Fighting for the doctors to hear me, to believe me and for them help help me. Figure out what's happening to me. My symptoms started when I was 15. First, I noticed that I had shortness of breath or like having the feeling I can't breathe at all. I was hyperventilating, panicked because I thought I was going to suffocate.

The first time the ambulance came and took me to the ER was at school. They gave me Tavor, sedated me and admitted me. But after 2 days they discharged me, diagnosed with anxiety disorder. It's just a panic attack, nothing serious, that's what they told me. I was totally sure that there was more to it than that, but the didn't do tests and of course they didn't believe me. I was frustrated and scared.

The day I was discharge I had the same problem again. Ambulance and ER. The doctor wanted to get me into psychiatric hospital. I was 15 at that time. They didn't let my parents see me and they had to fight to get me back home. I was in 9th grade a year before my graduation. The "panic attacks" were coming stronger and more often, sometimes two or three times a day.

I knew something was wrong. I felt faint and nauseous, sometimes I really fainted. Still they told me its mental. All in my head. And after a while, I believed it. So a day after my 16th birthday I was admitted to the children's psych ward. I thought they were going to help me. Turned out I was there for 3 months and nothing changed. At that time I didn't believe it was going to get better anymore.

The last half year of 10th grade I was home schooled, but I graduated and I was proud of myself. At 17 years old I started to get seizures. They were intense and I was just scared and I couldn't even handle it anymore. The seizures came at any time and I didn't had any control.

The worst one was at the cinema with my friends. I collapsed started seizing and the EMTs couldn't get it to stop. At one point they intubated me and put me into a coma. When they got me out of it the next day I didn't knew what happened. They pulled the tube and I was at the ICU. Still the docs told me it's psychological. I told my mom that I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to live like that. So again I was admitted to the psych ward. I stayed there for 2 months and had my first suicide attempt. When I was discharged, I was home for one day. The day after I had my second attempt. So again I was admitted. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I knew something was going on with me and I was actually physically sick. I had fatigue, felt sick. I had a feeling like my heart was racing. Fainting and dizziness. Still no one believed me. I got medication for my Bipolar disorder and Depression. But the fainting and the seizures were still there.

Now about half a year ago I was diagnosed with POTS. I was so relieved to finally get understanding and someone actually listened to me. I cried that day but not because I was scared because I was relieved, yeah happy. I fought for 3 years, every day. I finally was able to get help.So here I am 19 years old and getting the treatment I deserve.

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