An open letter to the doctor who didn’t take me seriously

Dear Doctor,

I understand that you must have hypochondriacs visit you frequently. Perhaps that annoys you, maybe you feel like they’re wasting your time. Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to never experience health anxiety and can’t understand things from their point of view.

However, when I come to you experiencing pain, visibly nervous about talking to you about it, I expect you to take me seriously. It’s your job to listen to what I’m experiencing, tell me what you think is the problem and discuss further treatment where necessary.

What I don’t expect you to do is what you did. I started talking to you about what was going on and watched you scroll down my records on the screen. “You self-referred to mental health services in November?” you interrupted me.


I knew that as soon as you’d seen that on your screen, you’d pigeon-holed me. You’d mentally ticked me as being a hypochondriac. It was game over, you’d decided before I’d even finished explaining that the pain was all in my head.

I was horrified. Your manner was awful. You spoke down to me, like I was stupid. While I wouldn’t consider myself especially clever, I am fairly intelligent – I went to a grammar school and am studying for a degree. Perhaps I even could have been a doctor like you if I wasn’t so squeamish and a sufferer of anxiety. As such, I won’t accept being spoken to like I’m an idiot.

After me insisting a little that this wasn’t down to mental health and that I was now in a much better place mentally than in November, you said that I could have some tests done, but then if that showed no abnormalities I’d be referred to a psychologist.

While there have been vast improvements in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and more and more people like myself are speaking out, there is still a problem. Stigma still exists and YOU are not helping the situation.

I never want to see you again. You absolutely infuriated me in not taking me seriously and writing it off as being in my head. Doctors like you are a problem, as you miss genuine health issues by practically dismissing people as soon as you see they’ve had mental health issues. People could potentially die because of doctors like you. Frankly, I am disgusted.


(A person, daughter, granddaughter, mother, wife and apparently just another time-wasting anxiety sufferer on your screen).  

Like this post? Please visit me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and Google+

4 thoughts on “An open letter to the doctor who didn’t take me seriously”

  1. Putting a trigger warning on this comment just to err on the side of caution but –

    I used to self harm and had to go and get stitches this one time, the doctor refused to numb it before stitching because I “obviously liked the pain”. This was about 9 year ago now and it still pisses me off.

  2. I completely sympathise with this. There have been so many letters like this I could have written to healthcare professionals over the years. I was convinced that things “hadn’t gone back to normal” after I had a baby. despite having a C-Section. I wondered if they hadn’t sewn me up properly.. I eventually took matters into my own hands and saw a private physio specialising in pelvic health who I had met by accident in a mother and baby event. After a thorough physical “mummy MOT” she told me I had a high tone pelvic floor dysfunction and in reality I had probably had it for decades – the section had just tipped me over the edge. There are wonderful health professionals out there and I’m so grateful for the work that they do, but bedside manner of some leaves a lot to be desired (don’t get me started on the nursing assistant on the labour ward who told me I was hormonal because I was crying as I was in pain, hadn’t eaten for two days and my baby wouldn’t latch and I needed help). There’s probably several blog posts and open letters in that alone!

  3. I’m sorry to hear you went through all that. The NHS is amazing, but as you say, some health professionals are just dreadful to deal with!

Leave a comment