WARNING: Graphic Images
Suppose I took a knife and gutted you with it, like a fish. Suppose I left you to bleed out on the floor, but you somehow survived that catastrophic assault. Would you expect to be unchanged by it? Would you expect to recover just by thinking happy thoughts?
Physical v. Mental Complaints
Yet this is the cold comfort some physicians offer abuse victims suffering from long-term depression/anxiety and PTSD or other chronic conditions, for instance migraines, stemming from our abuse. We are not trying hard enough for them. Better still, we must be malingering. Who could possibly grieve for decades over a “mere” childhood violation?
Forget it. Put it behind you, we are told. Easier said than done, however.
The ignorance of such physicians is palpable. They simply do not consider psychological problems as significant as physical ailments .
Many of us suffering from mental health issues seek help first from our primary care physicians. Out of embarrassment, we may never consult a psychiatrist or psychologist. If that is the case, we are likely to find ourselves accused of lacking “objective findings” to support our complaints, especially if they are chronic.
Which begs the question, do the scars of cutting and attempted suicide count? How precisely are scars on the soul measured, anyway?
While these questions are meant to be facetious, it can be enormously painful for victims to confront the critical attitude of some physicians. Our credibility is challenged exactly when we feel most vulnerable. We are forced to justify our right to receive care to the very individuals who should be providing that care.
Remind you of anything? The situation is, of course, reminiscent of the very abuse we endured. Not that the physicians being consulted are likely to recognize that.
The doctor-patient relationship was never intended to be adversarial. When it is, we can wind up feeling discouraged and rejected. Some of us will give up seeking medical care at all.
One reason for this may be patient profiling:
“Patient profiling is the practice of regarding particular patients as more likely to have certain behaviors or illnesses based on their appearance, race, gender, financial status, or other observable characteristics. Profiling disproportionately impacts patients with chronic pain, mental illness, the uninsured, and patients of color .”