Voices Across America

Medical Gaslighting had me doubting my disease


State: Virginia
Congressional District: VA06


Gastrointestinal Disease, Mental Health, Migraine

Issues and Challenges

Angela has encountered: Access to Expert Providers, Copay Issues, Insurance Issues, Medicare / Medicaid Issues, Medical Records Access, Rare / Underserved Disease, Transportation, Gaslighting, Invisible Illness, Medical Discrimination, Transparency in Health Care

My Story

Hi, my name is Angela. I’m from the 6th Congressional District of Virginia. I have battled chronic illness since I was a teenager. I’ve been diagnosed with Gastroparesis and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

I was blessed with a mom who is a registered nurse who educated and intervened for me when I was a minor. I received excellent care in her office. However, outside that office my family and I struggled to get adequate care for the serious condition I have.

As an adult, learning to navigate the system and advocate for myself has been a difficult road. I’ve experienced medical gaslighting which created barriers to care as a student and a patient. One time is easy to compartmentalize or explain away; experiencing gaslighting repeatedly causes so much pain. I began to question every symptom I had. I began to doubt how I spoke with the doctors. I even began to doubt who knew my own body better: the doctor or myself. The process is further complicated by a healthcare system shuffling me on a merry – go – round just to see a physician knowledgeable about my condition.

My Motivation and Inspiration

The Affordable Care Act was a good start to getting everyone the healthcare they deserve. Doctors, hospitals, medical administrations, insurance and pharmaceutical companies need to truly evaluate how they speak to, about, and treat their patients. I may come to a medical facility for medical expertise but I don’t disregard the expertise I have about my own body. Also, obtaining adequate care shouldn’t require working multiple phones and state lines to stay alive.

I am willing to do the work. I want to be a functioning capable member of society. I want to work with my medical providers. I understand that working together allows for the best outcome. My chronic illness does not make me less of a citizen or human being and I shouldn’t be treated any differently because of it.

The systems will not change without leadership at the top of counties, states, Congress, hospitals, and companies. I already fight a daily battle with my chronic illness to have a decent quality of life. I have to adapt my life around that struggle. I shouldn’t have to be the one constantly in the ring battling against unethical, unfair policies as well. I only wish that by sharing these issues I can keep others from feeling alone and defeated in the medical world.

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