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8 Upper Crescent, Belfast, BT7 1NT

Here Doctor - what is this on my neck?

A number of years ago I had outgrown my job and had decided to leave the firm I worked for and move on.  But the partner I worked under asked me to stay and find another job in the organisation.  So I did just that.

Not long after moving I developed a mad itchy scalp.   It used to drive me mad.  In the evenings I’d literally scratch my head till I bled.    In work, I couldn’t do this, as the requisite black or navy suit that was practically uniform for women in that role was unforgiving to the flurry of snow that would fall from each good mauling that I needed to relieve the itch.  So at work, there was a great deal of mind over matter, and what that failed, sitting on my hands.

I went to the doctors and was told just to get and anti dandruff shampoo.  Did that and sure I might as well have put fairy dust on my head for all the good it did.  So the next best option – change the colour of the clothes I wore lol.

As time went on I stated to develop terrible kidney and urinary infections.   You know when you have to run to the loo but when you get there the fear of God comes over you because you know what very little that comes out will come out as razor blades!   So after trying the stuff the chemists gave me I headed back to the doctor.  He took a sample and sent it off.  Nothing!!  It came back all clear. 

But the infections just kept coming so again back I went.  Now I had medical insurance at this time, so I made use of that and was sent off to see the ‘specialist’ in the Ulster Clinic.  Oh a lovely man who sat there and after about five minutes said to me, and I quote:  “You’re a woman.  Live with it”.  

Now isn’t that just the kind of medical opinion you need when you feel that your undercarriage is being ripped to shreds every time you pee!  I am so glad I paid all those premiums for my insurance, money well spent!!!

So, just picture it now, this is going on for moths long with the mad head scratching rituals. 

Now, also during all of this, on the way to work one morning my sister who travelled with me at the time said – ‘Is that a love bite on your neck?”   I nearly crashed.  A love bite! Now where would I get a love bite?  The chance would be a fine thing?   Lo and behold I had a red circular mark on the left side of my neck – just like a love bit, but without all the fun of getting it.

So after a few weeks of wearing scarves to work, back I went to the doctors.  He googled and decided I needed a shampoo for itchy scalps to put on the love bite.   Which I did – and it did fade for a while but just kept coming back.  This red circle of mystery.

Now during all this I had not been happy at work.  My move to the new department was not going well and I ended up off on stress leave.  Long story short, it was when I was off that the counsellor the firm sent me to and my own GP, both independently diagnosed as suffering from ‘bullying by exclusion’.  That floored me.

Anyway, I got back to work and was determined to get going again.  I only lasted a few months before I walked out.

So why am I telling you all this?  About a month or so after I left, I noticed I wasn’t scratching any more and my love bite that I had grown attached too had disappeared, and the ‘women’s problems’ that I was expertly diagnosed with had cleared as well.

All my symptoms were stress related.  And when I removed myself from the stressor my body settled.  

Quite often we over look any aches, pain, itches or infections as being down to stress.   We all know about the tight shoulders, or the heart attacks that occur from stress but we often never think of other things.  We run to the doctors for a cream or tablet when what we should be doing is going for a run (literally), reading a good book, having a laugh with good friends – anything that gives the body and mind a chance to distress and repair itself.

So be good to yourself more often and allow your body to just relax and breathe.


Dympna Hannon Founder of The Distraction Process

Dympna Hannon is a specialist in chronic pain and mental health recovery. Dympna has worked with hundreds of people helping them lead full, pain free and balanced lives. She understands that all pain is personal and her whole person approach to determine the cause means the pain can be addressed and cleared. Dympna is the founder of 'The Distraction Process', developed to help people control and change their thoughts and is used extensively in mental health recovery and moving on from long term chronic pain.

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