I would like to believe that my doctor did not ask that, but she did. What should my response have been?
First, have I been under stress lately? That goes without saying. Is it unusual? Nah, probably not.
What I wanted to say was:
Doc, I have RA and Fibromyalgia.
In my professional life, I am a legal assistant who works in high pressure professional environment where detail and deadlines exist and where the professionals themselves are full of hot air.
In my personal life, I am a mother to a tween boy who is full of crazy emotions (he is not a baby but not yet a teen) and a toddler (who cannot sit still until he falls asleep and has been keeping up late because his molars are coming in). My husband works in management and he is never home and when he is home, he acts like an overgrown child. I also working on my master’s degree which I will have complete in about a year. My mom is always complaining I never come to visit and that she needs my help with this and that.
The only time I sit down is when my head hits the pillow. Sometimes, I fall asleep sitting down and those are the times when I have nightmares about the loads of laundry, the dishes in the sink, my fears and anxieties about my children growing up, my career and the piles of work on my desk, my health, and an unforgiving mother who makes me feel guilty every time I visit. I never have time for myself and I am lucky if the family leaves me alone in the shower.
Did I mention that I have RA and Fibromyalgia?
But when the doctor asked “are you under an unusual amount of stress?” I responded by smiling and saying “Oh no. Not at all.” Can you believe I said it with a straight face?