Kevin has been on a diagnostic roller coaster over the past few years. He was working in a management position at a museum when he started having trouble walking, difficulty straightening up and intense pain in his feet. He also developed uveitis in his eyes, a painful inflammatory condition that made sunlight feel like his eyes were being stabbed. Eventually a rheumatologist diagnosed him with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis in which the spine becomes inflamed. Kevin decided to take time away from work and focus on his health, but began experiencing extreme issues with balance, nausea and dizziness. Multiple trips to the hospital resulted in a diagnosis of vestibular migraines, the second-most common cause of vertigo in adults.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Kevin talks us through the intense health challenges he has faced over the past few years. Realizing he would not be able to return to work Kevin began the process of applying for disability. His evaluating psychiatrist put great focus on Kevin’s level of anxiety, and his application was quickly denied. Kevin did not know at the time that upwards of 80% of all first-time disability applicants are denied, so this quick denial made him feel extremely invalidated. Starting the appeal process by hiring a lawyer, Kevin was connected to mental health services that eventually diagnosed him as bipolar. While initially shocked, this diagnosis prompted Kevin to reevaluate his life and behavioral patterns. He is now in a place of self-acceptance and self-discovery, while learning new ways to manage his multiple diagnoses while continuing to advocate for his medical needs.

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