Doctor, doctor – and why you need a life mentor

Katherine Hough suffered from mysterious pains when she was in her teens and these continued on when she was at University. They ranged from ailments such as stomach pains, but then progressed on to more serious issues like chronic fatigue, joint pain, and even hair falling out before she visited the GP. The diagnosis of the GP was that she had an iron excess in her body, which is due to a faulty gene, and affects around 250,000 in the United Kingdom.

Should she have gone to the GP sooner? This is one of the questions that most of us will debate on a regular basis. When we suffer from ill health, should we go to the doctor immediately, or wait and see if it goes away? No doubt we will have heard of stories of individuals whose health took a marked turn after they were diagnosed late for serious health issues, but put off the initial warning signs as part of life’s niggles. For example, if you suffer from aching pains in joints, and lack of energy, you might just put it down to stresses at work or events in your life, and you might have to tough it out for a little while and hope it goes away. After all, who wants to go to the GP just for a cold, something that you yourself know is best dealt with by rest and paracetamol if necessary? It is a difficult balance to know when exactly one should hold off going to the doctor’s and when to go immediately. Most of us err on the side of caution, and perhaps while it might be seen as being overly precautionary, it might be a good thing to do if you feel unwell, instead of toughing it out and letting a symptom develop into a bigger one.

Perhaps what is needed is someone who you can speak to and who can offer advice. Perhaps someone who has gone through the same anxieties as you have can show you the balance – when to see a doctor, and when it is nothing serious: it is better than you reading a book and trying to diagnose yourself from the symptoms described. It is the same with learning a skill such as playing the piano. Someone who has been there can show you how to navigate the uncertainties, when to persist, when to give up, and counsel you on how you are feeling and if it is normal, and offer inspiration when you are down. As a Piano Teacher in N8 describes, the multiplicity of skills can be disheartening at times. A mentor in life may be the best medicine!