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.

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