My Family Doctor Gaslit Me

Up until recently, I’d been pretty lucky with my doctors. My family doctor was the first doctor I told about my pain 4 years ago. She believed me right away and sent referrals out for help. She sent me to physical therapy and helped me with my mental health, too.

My doctor was so supportive of me for the 4 years I had chronic pain, which is why I was so shocked when this happened a few months ago.

I don’t like to think about what happened

The whole situation upsets me a lot. I don’t like to think back to that phone call because it completely caught me off guard, and I still can’t believe it happened.

I had my normal monthly phone call with my family doctor, and this month I wanted to bring up my chronic fatigue. It had been getting a lot worse (it still is), and I wanted to know if she had any ideas for me to help control it better.

I brought it up to her, and what happened next really surprised me. She started going off on a tangent. My doctor was talking about how important it is to have a purpose in life, and how I didn’t have one and she worried about me.

She said having no purpose caused me to be so fatigued, and if I wanted to find a purpose, I should try getting a job. McDonald’s was something she suggested. She suggested applying for a job at McDonald’s to a person she knows can’t stand for more than 10 minutes at a time without being in pain. To a person she’d filled out many disability forms for.

I was shocked. My eyes started watering. I couldn’t believe someone that I’d looked up to for so many years had this opinion of me.

Why it bothers me

This situation bothers me so much because I deal with this worry so often. I worry a lot about what people think of me not being able to work and being in bed most of the time.

I know that I push myself in my day-to-day life, and I know what I am capable and incapable of doing. This opinion is wrong and hurtful. I never expected a doctor to say those words to me, especially someone who I talk to monthly and tell everything to.

In my opinion, telling me to get a service job where I would be standing all day was just wrong of her to do. There is no way I would last in that scenario.

It also bothers me because I know that I have a purpose in my life. I advocate for chronic illness and disability, I have a cat that I take care of. I have friends and family. I’m doing fine, I just have chronic fatigue, which by the way, is a symptom of ankylosing spondylitis. It is completely normal to experience chronic fatigue.

What happened after

I knew I didn’t want to speak to my doctor ever again after what she said to me. I looked for new family doctors in my area and found one that I liked. My new family doctor listens to me about my chronic fatigue and sent me for testing right away. This is what I deserve, and I know that.

If you are unhappy with the way your doctor treats you, please don’t let them. Find someone who will listen to you, care, and help.

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