Why we need to stop the “Drama Queen Syndrome”

Like many women, I have experienced my fair share of health issues over the years. I have sometimes felt – and even on one occasion I was told – I was being “dramatic”. It stopped me from pursuing further information; and as it turns out my gut instinct was right.

Yet, I’m not the only one who feels this way. I see it through my work every day and it’s something that deeply concerns me. Women around the country are worryingly prone to what I call ‘Drama Queen’ Syndrome – a condition of fearfulness that prevents them from exploring health concerns and symptoms because they’re worried they are ‘overreacting’. I feel it is so prominent in women that I commissioned Pure Profile to conduct an online survey of 1,002 Australian women aged 18 or over.

 

“We know that men are still concerned with being seen as “weak”, but now we know that women are worried about being seen as “dramatic”.”

 

The research found that the apprehension of being labelled dramatic is ubiquitous. Close to half (41%) of women agreed this fear would stop them from speaking up about medical concerns and, disturbingly, over one third (35%) of respondents admitted this fear would explain why they have chosen not to visit a doctor when worrying something is wrong.

This is not an attack on doctors by any means – most treat their patients with care and compassion – no matter how big or small their health problem may be. It’s the underlying societal pressure that needs to shift. The fear of public perception is standing in the way of the Australian females taking their health seriously.

When I think about the health problems I’ve expressed to friends and family over the years, often I’m met with the response – “I’m sure it’s nothing” or “if it doesn’t go away, maybe see a doctor”.

It’s a way of trying reduce my worry but it’s this approach that’s ingrained in the laid-back Australian culture that can ultimately put us at risk of developing further, more serious complications.

We know that men are still concerned with being seen as “weak”, but now we know that women are worried about being seen as “dramatic”.

The survey also showed that a seeking a second opinion was worthwhile and important. Nearly half (43%) of females revealed that they have had a medical professional tell them their concerns weren’t anything to be worried about, but a second opinion proved that, in fact, their suspicions were correct.

As women, we need to feel empowered to actively engage in the management of our health. Pursuing answers to concerns isn’t being dramatic – it’s being smart. Don’t be afraid to speak up; seek a second opinion and get the help you need. Regular check-ups can provide peace of mind and can save you time, effort, money and even your life in the long run.

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