Kat Duff, in “The Alchemy of Illness”, says
There is a curious paradox that surrounds pain. Nothing is more certain to those afflicted, while nothing is more open to question and doubt by others.
It’s strange, isn’t it? How often is pain intensified by the refusal of others to believe it exists? How helpful is it for someone with pain to be told “Don’t worry, the tests are all normal”, with the implication being the pain “is in your head” ie it’s imaginary?
It’s not only pain which cannot be seen, and so, cannot be known by another person. Nausea is the same, as is fatigue, blurred vision, dizziness, itch. Patients present to doctors with symptoms which are descriptions of subjective experience. Why should those experiences be dismissed because any physical changes in the body cannot be detected using our current technologies and tests?
The failure to take pain seriously is part of our ranking “objective” as more important than the “subjective”, but, in my view, it’s the invisible which is the most important…..