When your GP doesn’t exactly say the right thing

If I’m disclosing sensitive information, or trying to discuss a matter which I find quite tricky to talk about then the last thing I want is for someone to tell me that I’m talking rubbish. That I’m not saying the right thing, or that what I’m saying can’t be the truth, particularly when I’m talking to a healthcare professional.

By all means if what you think I’m saying is in fact utter rubbish then please at least let me finish speaking before you interrupt me and leave me feeling as though my stomach is about to leap out of my throat.

Last week I had an appointment with my GP – to do with stuff completely unrelated to my mental health. Now, I’ve recently registered with a new GP, so I certainly understand and appreciate that they don’t know me, or my medical background (they don’t know what support I’m receiving etc. – though surely it wouldn’t be too hard to track this down?) However, I’d expected a level of empathy when trying to articulate my medical history to someone I’ve not met before.

I wasn’t directly discussing my mental health, (I don’t really like to do that with anyone other than my CMHT), however in this case I was talking about how aspects of my mental health had impacted on my ‘physical’ health. Basically, I was trying to explain to my GP – when he asked if I lost conciousness recently – that I couldn’t actually remember. I was trying to explain that although I knew what had happened I also had no clue what had happened. I was trying to explain that – what I like to call dissociation, and what my psychologist has referred to as dissociation – had in fact clouded my perception of a particular event.

The GP then laughed (actually laughed) and said something along the lines of ‘oh yeah but our brains all switch off every now and then’ – to which I was practically close to tears because I’d tried so hard to explain a particular situation (one that is causing me a great deal of stress) to then receive a response which left me feeling a little silly, stupid and ‘wrong.’

I’m not a fan of this, I’m really not. I of course didn’t stand up and be all high and mighty (though, reflecting on the situation now I feel I had every right to point out that I’d come for medical advice, not to be left feeling as if I’d made some huge mistake or error). I understand that the GP may not be trained in that area (I’m not too sure how it works) but I’d anticipated that he’d at least listen to me. He was of course very useful anyway, but I must admit, I was left feeling a little embarrassed. I struggle to understand dissociation – I have times where my mind simply goes ‘blank’ or ‘stops working’ – of course it’s still working, but it’s not… it’s weird. I’ve blogged before about how confusing I find dissociation to be, in my blog post: Trying to understand dissociation.

It was, in all honesty, an embarrassing situation – I was then sent to hospital where I had the rest of the day (and weekend) to dwell over my error… yay to anxiety. Others may not find this situation particularly frustrating, or anxiety-invoking, but I did… maaaannn I did.

(P.S: I wanted to name this post… ‘When your GP leaves you feeling as though you want to crawl into a hole forever,’ but I thought that may have been a little too long for a post title…) 

(P.P.S: I also wanted to call this post… ‘When your GP leaves you feeling discombobulated’ as discombobulated is an awesome word).


No Hard Feelings
Source: ilovedoodle.com


  1. Hello Ella. Another great post. So, just about two days ago, I was sitting with some friend-colleagues and remembering and event back to my first psychotherapy training, aged around 24. A tutor, who was a warm and kind and who i generally liked, laughed at me when I said I thought I was dissociating a bit. Like your GP, I expect he was trying to normalise my experience. I felt humiliated and undermined and also not supported in what WAS and experience of dissociation. (There was trauma being processed in the group, I was being triggered continuously). I said to my colleagues over dinner that I’d like to be able to stand by the side of my younger self in that training group with the experience and knowledge I have now and validate her experience and support her appropriately. There are so many different positions and understandings out there in terms of our lived experiences and ‘mental health’ labels, and lots of it is processes, continuums, as it seems to me, rather than this condition or that. The critical part of your story that you might be too close to notice, is that yes your GP undermined you, but just look how you have now gone to stand right there alongside yourself. We don’t really know each other, but i feel proud of you, I hope that is OK to say. And yes I agree discombobulated is a wonderful word. I hope your are now fully recombobulated. Em

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Em, thank-you for this lovely comment! I’m sorry to hear that a similar situation occurred for you… I think by commenting here then you are standing by your younger self! 🙂 You are also, as usual… most certainly helping me! Which is incredibly nice and lovely of you 🙂 You’ve also just left me feeling pretty empowered, so thank-you 🙂

      I think I’m very much recombobulated ha! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had such mixed experiences with GP’s! I remember the first time I saw a doctor when I had moved away from 3 years ago and it was awful. A chubby, middle aged doctor sat drinking Pepsi through my consultation, barely looked at me and said “lots of bulimics do well on fluoxetine. Shall I prescribe you some?” A. We discussed hardly any of my symptoms in any detail so how she decided I was bulimic I don’t know b. I had never been on medication because I was afraid of weight gain- to which she said “it will PROBABLY be fine” and c. She actually said the ed service wouldn’t see me.
    She didn’t bother to refer me. She ignored me anxiety and just got cross that I wouldn’t be weighed or accept her medication which she hadn’t told me a thing about before offering it to me.
    Finally, I went to another doctor in the same practice who is incredible. I always feel listened to and cared about. I never feel with her like my problems are too small & I’m lucky to have her on my side. When I did decide to go on medication (because she didn’t want a suicidal 18 year old with nothing!) she told me EVERYTHING about it. I knew that I could ring and speak to her anytime and that was so reassuring.
    Same building and two totally different doctors- I feel your struggle! I’m sorry you felt so unimportant and down about the appointment. Sounds like that doctor didn’t have a clue, but it’s an achievement to have talked about it even if he didn’t really get it. I know how hard it can be to speak about mental health aloud xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, I wouldn’t have known what to do if your first experience you mentioned happened to me! I feel I would’ve convinced myself never to go back to a GP ever again! It’s funny how they seem to be oblivious to how their actions actually impact upon others! I’m so so glad you managed to speak to another doctor though! I’ve always been so lucky with my doctors which is why I think this situation effected me so much! Thankyou for commenting 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Ella Robson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s