There is an epidemic within the medical community of doctors gaslighting women with chronic illness. While I never realized this before developing #longcovid (and even during my acute phase of #covid_19), despite having multiple doctors attribute my chronic since-age-12 severe insomnia to “anxiety”, or “emotions”, or even my sex life (I kid you not), I was utterly unable to escape this reality from day 1 of my acute fight to day 314 of my continuing chronic fight.
What’s most upsetting is that although I’m new to this reality, decades upon decades of women before me have experienced this hell, and even in these modern “advanced” times, women are STILL experiencing, and without any real public acknowledgement or action being taken.
We’re labeled as “dramatic” if we question further. Labeled as “attention seeking (whores)” if we advocate for help or speak up. Called “overly emotional” for being traumatized by these experiences. And deemed “the weaker sex” despite enduring so much emotional abuse and gaslighting while also being statistically more likely to have 1 or more chronic conditions, and significantly more likely to experience chronic pain.
As a newcomer to chronic illness, I never thought a doctor would look at me, physically extremely unwell, and still have the audacity to tell me that it’s probably a result of anxiety/depression/nerves/etc. With blood literally coming out of my body all the while. Like, sign me up for ‘Stranger Things’ because apparently my mind is capable of making me bleed out of orifices!
And I’m not sharing this for pity. That’s the last thing us chronic patients need. I’m sharing this to trigger compassion and awareness in you so that you’re (1) aware of it as a female and call it out when you do or (2) recognize the internalized sexism within you as a male, and make every effort to unlearn the biases and societal conditionings that makes you believe that women’s pains and illnesses are less real or serious because you think they’re more “emotional” and therefore more psychologically affected.
This affects your girlfriends. Your sisters. Your wives. Your mothers. Your daughters.
It’s life and death.
See the comments for why.