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).