All in my head: an epic quest to cure an unrelenting, totally unreasonable, and only slightly …

an occasional book review

as one of the "tired girls", the name the author gives to us, most of us women, who suffer from illnesses that are difficult to properly diagnose, treat, or cured, I read this book with interest.  even though headaches are not part of my personal hell I found much I could relate to in this book – going from doctor to doctor, trying drug after drug (all of which worked. for a while), trying alternative therapies, and reaching a state in betwixt acceptance and resignation.

Paula Kamen makes her journey fun to read. she is immensely self-aware of her situation and of her privileged position – her parents pay for excellent health insurance that Kamen as a free-lance author could never afford; her parents also provide a place to retreat to whenever she couldn't handle the pain of her headaches or the hassles of her daily life.

in between the relation of her personal journey*  Kamen discusses pain – the medical understanding of it, of its causes, of its management.  she also discusses how pain as suffered by women is perceived differently than pain as suffered by men, both by the medical establishment and by society at large.  Kamen also brings up the point that women are more likely than men to suffer from diffuse, chronic, cause-not-easy-to-pin-down pain, and the frequency with which the patient is dismissed by doctors as being 'difficult', 'non-compliant', and the kiss of death:  "it's all in your head"

*and lest you think it has a happy ending – it doesn't.  the headache remains; at times worse, at times somewhat bearable. 

 

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19 thoughts on “All in my head: an epic quest to cure an unrelenting, totally unreasonable, and only slightly …

  1. this looks like an interesting read! i too have had doctors dismiss me as "making it up" or "it's all in my head", and i've never felt more angry than at those times. thanks for reading – and recommending! – this book.

  2. it is a good read, Roboco. as long as you dont' expect a 'solution' or a 'cure'. this is definitely not a "how to cure your __________ in 2 weeks" kind of book.what it does is make you feel less alone. to watch out for and find other tired girls.

  3. fortunately, i gave up on a solution a long time ago… sometimes it just helps knowing that someone understands the frustration. i am definitely going to download this to the kindle!

  4. Looks interesting, although I've never numbered myself among that group. I've definitely seen the ways in which women's pain gets minimized.

  5. it just helps knowing that someone understands the frustrationtotally. I found myself nodding along as I read

  6. I've definitely seen the ways in which women's pain gets minimized. agreed. I think this book is a good read for anyone, not just tired girls and those around them. pain is an area where so many are discriminated and dismissed – not only women, but also people of color, those who are disabled, those who are fat.

  7. as one who is both a "tired girl" and who has what are often called "invisible disabilities," I *so* hear what both you and Kamen are saying!Not sure I want to read this, though, if only because I know all too much about the quest for help and the many who can (and do) label people with chronic pain problems as "all in the head" psych cases. It's no fun.

  8. AckWill definitely go get this.My friend who died last year basically slipped through the cracks of the system because the meningitis symptoms just sounded like her usual headache.Which everyone, including her, was accustomed to just enduring.

  9. I remember your friend, other laura. how tragic were her illness and death.even taking into account that meningitis in an adult is most often fatal.

  10. I'm so thankful that I don't have to deal with pain, apart from an occasional heat headache or minor bout of cramps!
    I had a friend in high school tell me that menstrual cramps were "all in our heads." I told him his broken leg pain was going to be all his head when I got through kicking him, too.

  11. My thoughts exactly, e — it would just remind me too much of my life and bad parts of my past. And I don't need anything further depressing right now, with it being mid-winter and having no income! I would rather think of my friend in similar circumstances who has a tuxedo bun who makes paper-plate sculpture!

  12. I would rather think of my friend in similar circumstances who has a tuxedo bun who makes paper-plate sculpture! awwww. that's crazy sweet, LT. I'm sure your friend will be happy to know that.

  13. awww LT [blushes and looks at feet}. That *is* very sweet of you, and yeah… I'm grateful. ((((((((((((LT)))))))))))))) [gentle hugs, that is!]

  14. oh btw, N. has been into stacking plates over the past few days. She has 2 neatly-organized piles (sitting side by side) inside her condo right now. Again, while I'm not sure what this is "about," I'm amazed by her hard work and precision. :)

  15. N is obviously gathering stuff and pondering her next work. Perhaps, like Michelangelo, she's looking for the sculpture inside the material.

  16. she somehow created a *pointed arch* out of two plates early this a.m., while I was sleeping. unfortunately, constructions like that are like a house of cards – one tiny vibration and they collapse.

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