alt=a woman waits for a specialist referral as calendar pages float around her

The Waiting Game

Last updated: November 2022

This chapter of my journey has been a waiting game. Something I’m sure many of you know all too well. It’s like a “coming of age” thing as a chronically ill individual-—eventually everyone unfortunately must experience it.

Waiting for a new specialist

Getting referred to a specialist has two sides to the coin. On one hand, you’re excited to finally be seeing someone new who will hopefully help to diagnose you or to feel better. On the other, it means you have to wait a ridiculous amount of time. Nobody enjoys this process...but it’s the way that it is. Your name is but one on the very long waiting list these specialists have. So, we wait, each day passing we feel closer to that finish line. Sometimes, though, it feels like there is no finish line. Like it’s a never-ending race.

Riding the roller coaster of emotions

Personally, I feel like when I’m stuck in this waiting game, I go through a roller coaster ride of emotions. Initially I feel calm—excited, even. You pick up the call and you think to yourself, “FINALLY! I’ve been waiting months for this!” Only for them to notify you that your appointment won’t be for another six to eight months…you’re not happy, but you accept it and try to move on with your day.

As weeks go by, on top of struggling with your health, you grow frustrated. Rightfully so when all we want is help. Eventually that feeling amplifies and grows into an outburst that you can no longer keep in, and you break. You’re tired, sore, and just overall sick of being sick.

So how do we cope with waiting?

I’d like to say it gets easier with time, but we all know that if anything it’s quite the opposite. The best that we can do during this period is find ways to cope, even if that means just trying to distract or occupy ourselves until eventually that appointment date finally comes.

During this time, I think it’s important that we really delve into whatever hobbies make us the most happy, while at the same time acknowledging our emotions without becoming overly consumed by them. Distractions are okay but ignoring your feelings completely will only make things worse. It’s about finding that sweet spot. You will have periods of frustration, but the best thing we can do is keep our minds busy enough that it doesn’t run in circles.

Know that eventually, you WILL reach that finish line

Waiting for the help we so desperately need is never easy, even more so if our health continues to get worse. But ultimately, the waiting will end, and we will get the help we need. As cliché as it is to say, eventually things will get better. It’s only a matter of time. Until that day comes, do the best that you can with the tools you have to get yourself through another day, one day at a time or even one moment at a time. You’ll get there eventually and you’re not alone.

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