I Was Medically Gaslit...Again
About a year ago, I switched family doctors because my last one was ableist and rude towards me. I thought that I had found a better doctor, things were good for the first few months. At my appointment last week, I was medically gaslit...again.
What happened last year
I’ll write a brief summary of what happened last year. I have been experiencing increased chronic fatigue since November 2020. Around April 2021, I asked my family doctor at the time if she had any ideas of anything that could help me with my fatigue.
That’s when she told me I had no purpose in life. The reason that I was so fatigued all the time was because I didn’t have a job or purpose. She told me to get a job somewhere like McDonald’s in order to be happier.
I was completely shocked. Telling a disabled person to go get a very physically demanding job isn’t the answer.
So I found a new doctor.
My current doctor
I thought my current doctor was amazing at first. She listened to me and helped me get tests done to make sure everything was working okay. I got a stress test, EKG, Holter Monitor, and a few others just to make sure everything was okay with what I was experiencing.
I was very happy with her until around February of 2022. I had gone through a breakup that really messed with my mental health (and still is a little bit). I asked her for something to help with panic attacks. Something to get me by for a little bit while I was going through this rough patch.
That’s when she told me: “You’re on enough medication. You shouldn’t need any more help. I’ll do this, but I won't do this often.” Her saying this made me feel awful. I felt like she thought I was searching for drugs when all I was doing was asking for help.
It’s already hard enough to ask for help with your mental health, and doctors saying things like this make it so much harder to actually be vulnerable.
She was ableist toward me
Last week at my appointment, I brought my walker with me. I had traveled alone and knew that I needed it with me, I take it almost everywhere!
As soon as she came into the room and sat down, I knew this would be an uphill battle. She looked at my walker and said: “Is that yours?!” Obviously, it was mine, I was the only one in the room.
She proceeded to tell me that I shouldn’t be using a walker. I was interrogated on why I use it. I told her it was for my fatigue, and that it helped when I went to the mall or on big trips.
My doctor didn’t like that. I tried to convey that I needed it, and I had asked for an access card for certain events to bring a support person on. For big day trips for example.
She told me she would not be filling out the form, that I didn’t have a permanent disability, and that she wanted me to stop using my walker.
I tried so hard not to cry
As soon as the appointment started, I wanted to leave. I was holding back tears and knew I just wanted to get out. When the appointment ended, I left as soon as I possibly could, went home, and cried.
Now that I’ve had 2 experiences with ableist family doctors, I’m not exactly sure what to do next. I want to look for a new one, but who’s to say my next doctor would be any better?
I’m on the hunt for a new one, but I’m cautiously optimistic about it.
Have you taken our In America Survey yet?