When a Doctor Invalidated My Physical Symptoms Because of My Depression

At the time, I was afraid. After a yearlong battle with depression, which resulted in therapy and group counseling in between a job, internship, 15 hours of coursework and multiple extracurricular student groups, I just wanted to finish what was adding extra work to my already busy college schedule. It was my third year of college when this happened. At this point the amount of therapy I was attending was about once every couple of months. I felt “fixed.’’

While I didn’t know it at the time, depression isn’t something that goes away forever. I was glad to take some things off my plate. I never thought I’d have to walk into that medical building again.

This time I was back because of physical health issues. I had just started getting into “gym life’’ and mindful eating. I was counting calories and while I admit, I didn’t know much about the gym, I would go every day and use every machine I could handle. I didn’t really do weights, but I did a lot of cardio.

So when my stomach began to hurt after eating meals every day I was confused. I thought my body was just adjusting to the changes. After waiting a couple of weeks to see if it would go away, I finally had enough. I needed to go to the doctor.

Who would have thought the doctor would judge me based off my history of attending therapy? After answering normal questions regarding the symptoms, the doctor asked for his nurse to leave the room. After talking a lot more, he got to the point in my records where it said I had been receiving therapy.

His response?

He opened the door, and said my symptoms were “all in my head.’’

“You’re stressed. I see it all in your face. It’s all over your body. Have you taken a look in the mirror?”

He didn’t let me get a word in. I began to cry out of frustration. He never did any physical examination of me.

“She’s fine,’’ he told another nurse as they walked me to the front.

I waited with tears streaming down my face before another nurse escorted me to another room.

I don’t need to be judged based on my past. He didn’t even check me. He just said I was making everything up.’’

She told me I could always leave a comment slip and turn it into their main office, but I don’t know why I was scared to do so. I would do anything to see him again and let him know what he did to me that day. It’s not about having someone lose their job. I guess I was scared he would. Yet, even though he told me, “Try to report me,” I’m glad I didn’t. The whole situation made me want to become a voice in mental health awareness.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

woman laying in bed with her PJs on watching a show on her laptop

5 Reasons Netflix and Yoga Pants Are My 'Go To’ When Coping With Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety and depression affect people in different ways. For me, anxiety gives me panic attacks and makes it hard to concentrate, while depression makes me doubt myself and not want to talk to anyone. There are many ways of coping out there, and some methods are more effective on different days. Lately, I have noticed [...]
Woman face. watercolor illustration

What It Feels Like to Have 'Functioning' Depression

  If you’ve ever experienced depression, you know exactly when your worst moment was, your rockbottom. Some of us hit rockbottom more than once. Sometimes we feel like we are always at the bottom of the well, begging for someone to pull us out. But sometimes, we don’t realize we are depressed because we aren’t that [...]
girl writing in a diary

How Do You Write the Chaos of Mental Illness?

There’s no way to get it organized. That’s the thing about depression, about anxiety. There’s no way to put it all out cleanly, clearly, on paper. The big picture, with words in line with the way we feel. Because there are no words. How does one write chaos? How does one draw emptiness? There is no order in here. No [...]
woman sitting on a doc at sunset

Where There Is Light in the Darkness of Mental Illness

My anxiety and depression are like two monsters sitting on each of my shoulders, constantly bickering and disrupting my life. One wants my body kicked into overdrive and is hyperaware of every detail of every situation, while the other wants me to feel lethargic, apathetic and hopeless. Every day is a battle of feeling either [...]