How to Fight Medical Gaslighting

Updated: Jul 15

Medical Gaslighting is when a doctor disregards your symptoms or personal account of your illness and tries to say that it's all in your head.

If you are a woman with an autoimmune disease or Lupus, keep reading, medical gaslighting can not only be frustrating but also incredibly dangerous to your health!

Have you ever been blown off by a doctor?

Has your doctor downplayed your symptoms?

Has your doctor tried to convince you that you're exaggerating your symptoms or that the symptoms are all in your head?

Has a doctor told you that your symptoms are just because of stress, anxiety, or being too busy?

If this has happened to you, keep reading!

I've heard from SO MANY WOMEN with Lupus that their doctors have done this to them, don't let medical gaslighting happen to you!

"Gaslighting" happens when one person tries to convince another to second-guess their instincts and doubt their perception that something is real.

Tip #1 - Be Prepared

Keep a symptom log and bring it with you to your appointment.

A symptom log should include:

1. Your symptoms

2. What days they started/stopped

3. The severity of the symptoms

When you have quantitative data in front of you, it will help you explain things more clearly (especially when you've got Lupus brain fog!) and be more confident when explaining your symptoms!

Tip #2 - Bring a loved one

If your brain fog is bad or you feel disregarded by your doctor, bring a loved one that is firm and confident.

They can help you in two ways:

  1. Give you an unbiased opinion on the doctor's behavior

  2. Act as another set of ears to recall what the doctor said about your treatment plan and how you're doing.

Gaslighting as a term originates from the 1944 Ingrid Bergman film Gaslight, in which a husband purposefully drives his wife insane by flickering lights, making noises in the attic, and then claiming the very real experience was all in her head.

Tip #3 - Find a doctor you feel is a good fit