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If you have MH issues people don't believe you?

(38 Posts)
Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:03:16

I've found sometimes people don't believe me about stuff and assume I'm making it up. For example with physical health. The doctors kept reassuring saying platitudes like 'you're young and healthy' - maybe thinking anxious? - anyway was a severe unusual physical thing which needed emergency surgery....even after that when had complications they assumed it was anxiety again and that time was very close as to needing surgery again- surgeons quite angry that 'had not presented / referred earlier, most people would have' again blaming me for the issue.

Also some people think you are attention seeking as well, some may do this but not all.

It makes me angry that people seem to assume people with MH are either stupid / don't believe you or that you are attention seeking. I now don't trust the doctors either.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:07:44

Oh, yes forgot to mention the follow up letter from the surgeons to the GP saying how sensible I was about my (physical) condition- when I said what had happened. And how important it is for to be seen promptly in future. He needs to do that to make them understand - argh.

Tiptopj Thu 14-Mar-19 09:14:11

Totally agrees. Unless someone has gone through it themselves they don't understand that mental health issues can be as dibilitating as physic issues. It's no easier to just snap out of depression or anxiety as it is to snap out of having a broken bone! Having said that though, I do believe people have to try to get themselves better and put effort in to tryibg to recover whether that's seeing a GP or having CBT or changing your lifestyle or surroundings. I'm not saying its that easy but I do think sympathies dwindle when people with any issues aren't seen to be trying to help themselves. I hope you're okay though OP and get the help you need, keep on at the doctors and ask to see someone else if you're not taken seriously. Good luck x

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:26:52

Thanks.

I don't mean that they don't take the MH seriously but about how they just in general don't take you seriously and seem to trust what you say.

So for example you say you have pain and instead of examining you and taking it seriously they just out it down to MH. Could mean misdiagnosis Result- makes me more anxious due to what happened before.

Stopandlook Thu 14-Mar-19 09:29:57

Yes, this is one of the most distressing aspects of MH illnesses sad and one impossible to understand unless you have experienced it.

Wolfiefan Thu 14-Mar-19 09:30:25

Obviously doctors should take any symptom seriously. I suppose problems could arise if a person repeatedly attends appointments panicking about physical symptoms that are caused by anxiety.

BlackPrism Thu 14-Mar-19 09:35:42

Sadly this may also be part of being a woman, there are studies which show women are not taken as seriously by GPS when reporting health worries. Dangerous

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:36:20

Yes, obviously they should. They don't though. Maybe people attending out of anxiety is the norm. In my experience though, it could have been fatal.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:37:48

Woman + mental health= overdramatic? Soon changed their tune after the (much delayed) CT scan, rushed into surgery in middle of night. Does em, nothing to help MH...either (the stress). No-one apologised either.

berrybubbles Thu 14-Mar-19 09:44:48

Very much so! I have purposefully avoided any official diagnosis so that if anyone ever tries to use it against me, I.e. in a court of law, then it will be impossible. Like my ex going for full custody of my DD, stuff like that. My MH team and I are very much aware that I do have these issues though. Most people dismiss me because it’s not on paper. ‘You can’t be depressed or have PTSD! A doctor hasn’t written down that you have!’ Like shhh go concentrate on your own life. It’s one of the worst parts of MH. I had a few nasty comments from people after my DV became public knowledge. I had everything from ‘if you were really abused you wouldn’t be sat out with your friends’ to ‘if you were actually raped you wouldn’t have a new partner’. People can be so insensitive it’s horrific

SwimmingBadger Thu 14-Mar-19 09:46:06

I had this op, had several symptoms of overian cancer, spoke to a friend who said that I should go get it checked out because its just a blood test and better safe than sorry.
The doctor was incredibly patronising, said that he didn't think I really had the symptoms but it was my ocd playing up.
He said he'd 'humor me' and give me the blood test. Thankfully it was negative (later discovered with the help of a different doctor my symptoms were side effects of a medication I am on)
It has put me off visiting the doctors.

vampirethriller Thu 14-Mar-19 09:46:37

Agree. I had a doctor tell me I couldn't be depressed because I'm pretty and "pretty girls have nothing to worry about." (I was 25!)
I had a doctor in a mental health unit tell me my suicide attempt was for attention.
My suicide attempt came after another doctor told me I didn't need anti depressants and took me off them cold turkey, when I'd gone to ask for more because I was feeling so much better on them.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 09:48:58

Ok, so there seem to be two issues:

people not believing you have MH in first place

people not believing you about other stuff due to having MH

Not simple.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 14-Mar-19 09:59:20

I completely agree OP. I have had numerous clients have their physical symptoms dismissed be caused they were also suffering MH problems. Some were quite serious and required surgery!

When I assess any prospective clients, I ask about physical symptoms and will recommend a trip to the GP if I think it's necessary. Often I have to convince them to do this as they have been previously made to feel "it's all in your head".hmm It's an absolute disgrace.

darkriver19886 Thu 14-Mar-19 10:07:59

I live with an incredibly stigmatised mental health disorder. Despite the fact its in the DSM-V I am often told its not real or its very controversial (yes I know).

However, the reality for me is its very real and its hurting my life to a massive degree. Currently not even able to hold down a part time job.

I do feel dismissed and unlistened to by doctors and professionals and I actually put off going to see a doctor as I am sick of it.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 10:10:20

Yes i am out off going to the doctors about anything also. Had to go for a blood test this week and dreaded it in case they see the meds I'm on / diagnosis and start being patronising. Some can be fine, bit others not so much.

BrightYellowDaffodil Thu 14-Mar-19 10:12:53

I would agree. I’ve had times in my life where things were seriously wrong - I didn’t have a job or any money coming in - and yet some of those around me put my unhappiness with the situation down to anxiety and suggested medication!

Sometimes things are just wrong, and it’s entirely separate to any existing/previous mental health issues.

Prinstress Thu 14-Mar-19 10:16:19

Totally agree.

I had a telephone appointment yesterday with my GP who knows my MH history, I put him on speakerphone in front of my DP as I felt he was being unusually abrupt and triple confirming things with me in a condescending manner.

It’s like everyone automatically assumes you’re lying or exaggerating, I got my DP to speak to him to give his version of my symptoms and the GPs attitude was totally different.

I constantly feel like a naughty school child being told off, despite being 27.

HarrysOwl Thu 14-Mar-19 10:19:19

Totally agree, OP.

A friend of a friend had terrible bowel symptoms aged 25. Her GP said it was IBS and anxiety and not to worry. She returned repeatedly over the next 12 months as her symptoms were getting worse. Every time, fobbed off with 'it's just anxiety.'

Another year later, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and it had spread to surrounding organs.

She died because doctors refused to believe it could be anything other than anxiety provoked IBS.

ADHMeeee Thu 14-Mar-19 10:21:37

I've started lying about my MH. I have a stigmatised MH DX like @darkriver19886 as well as other DXs, mental and physical.

The physical DXs I have could have been diagnosed decades earlier when I repeatedly saw my GPs for help. They kept telling me it was my depression.

I feel utterly gaslit. Because they did this to me from my teens til I was about thirty. By which time I'd developed PTSD as a result of a few different things, both related to what I've described and also because of DV. The only thing they were ever interested in DXing was my stigmatised condition which I don't believe I technically have. I believe it is all down to the PTSD and being gaslighted so much. I've grown up to feel guilty about feeling bad or achy or for thinking I might have a valid problem.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 10:23:56

Mine was a bowel surgery issue also- not cancer but a benign tumour causing an obstruction and requiring surgery, then further surgeries due to adhesions.

they do take notice when you start with the green vomiting, or anything very noticeable like that but up to then, not so much.

I got the surgeons to help with a letter I can take in to docs or hospital if needs be, in case.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 14-Mar-19 10:25:23

A useful phrase is:
My MH condition doesn't provide immunity from allergies/heart disease/infection etc. so I need this checked out. Thank you doctor.

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 10:26:06

Have heard it is called "Diagnostic overshadowing' and can happen with other conditions also.

"Clinically, it’s called diagnostic overshadowing - and is defined as a process where health professionals wrongly presume that present physical symptoms are a consequence of their patient’s mental illness. As a result, the patient with mental illness gets inadequate diagnosis or treatment."

www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/two-takes-depression/201510/depression-and-diagnostic-overshadowing

Home77 Thu 14-Mar-19 10:30:43

So, we could ask

“What tests would you suggest if you weren’t dealing with a patient who had depression?” (insert MH condition here)

I'm not sure docs would like that though. Hmm.

Oh, I'm not sure. I have had some which were better, checking things like thyroid and vitamin D, for example to help rule out other stuff to do with mental health.

My tactic now is to try and be as calm and clear as possible and not anxious or upset, which is hard, and maybe find a doctor I trust I usually see. We have these big practices now though so hard to see the same doctor.

Brilliantidiot Thu 14-Mar-19 10:34:09

I know exactly what you mean. History of MH issues. I was told that my infected gall bladder, which caused excruciating pain, nausea, vomitingand eventually jaundice pancreatitis, a blue light and emergency surgery was ibs due to anxiety. For a start it was in entirely the wrong place (pain) and anxiety and ibs doesn't tend to make you go yellow!
But even the ambulance crew were a bit off when I told them what the GP had said, until they actually examined me - ya can't fake a sky high temp or yellow eyes now can you! 111 had sent an ambulance because I had radiating chest pains - good job they did, any longer and the surgeon said the damage to organs could have been permanent.
I've also just had gp try and tell me arthritis is in my head, um, well you see these lumps on my fingers...... I didn't invent those in my head did I now?!
I wish people could get their head around the fact that people with MH problems also get physically sick too! I'm scared for my future, on DM side every single woman has had cancer, either has it terminally, has recovered, or died from it. I know that my chances are very high, and I also know I won't be believed if I get symptoms until it's probably too late.

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