I know what it's like when you can't sleep, and all of a sudden, the doubt hits you like a ton of bricks. I know how it feels when suddenly you can't take a full breath because thoughts of "what if I'm wrong?" are flying through your head. I know the fear of never finding out everything going on, and the silent shame that comes with being doubted and not feeling like you can prove yourself and your pain to the world. In fact, I'm writing this article after having one of these panic attacks myself.
I don't know what to do to help these moments stop. I think in some ways, we just have to let them come. I have multiple diagnoses, and they still come. Even if I get more of the diagnoses I'm expecting, I'm sure I'll still have panic attacks in the middle of the night.
But the thing is, we have to trust ourselves.
You have to trust yourself. You know what you're experiencing more than anyone else. You know your body better than any friend, family member, or doctor ever could. You know the truth about your suffering, and you can let go of doubts about whether you're really sick or not... especially the doubts other people are planting in your mind.
Maybe someone has told you that if you were stronger, you wouldn't "complain," and you would just deal with the pain. Maybe no one has said that out loud, but you're so sure it's what everyone is thinking. Maybe you're the one whispering that to yourself at night.
I'm here to tell you no. Keeping quiet does not make you strong. What makes you strong is when you trust your instincts and stand up for yourself and your body and say, "No, I know something is wrong, and I will not stop until I figure it out."
You are strong when you proclaim that you will not be defeated. That the pain will not have the final word. That your life will not end this way.
So, repeat that to yourself in the middle of the night. Don't let the doubts keep playing over and over in your mind. Silence them by seeing how strong you really are, by trusting that you know your own body, and by telling yourself as many times as it takes that you'll make it through.