Mental Health Awareness Letters – 4th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 4 – To the Doctor who looked at me and said to your colleague “She has Polycystic Ovaries and Abdo Pain- just send her to gynae and they can discharge her”.

Physical health and Mental Health go hand in hand. Several years ago during my first ‘appendix scare’, I ended up in a bed in University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the consultant surgeon came to see me (along with at least 10 Junior Doctors!!) for an assessment. Now by this point, I was already very hungry and thirsty, alone and in pain. But when the surgeon came and told me to lift my shirt up and before saying anything useful she proceeded to point and say what are these marks you have done to yourself? and of course I had no idea what she was talking about, looked down and was like “what these, they are stretch marks!!” and she looked back at them, actually lifted her eyebrow and rolled her eyes, used the hand sanitiser and bend down to stare at them again before touching me for an abdominal exam.

I must have been no older than 21 but had already battled anorexia and at the time really hated my body. This Doctor made me feel fat, ugly and worthless- yes I was curvy but by no means overweight, my stretch marks came from my weight loss rather than gain and I hated myself. You did not help!!

If you are in the healthcare field and you are reading this, please be a bit more mindful of your body language and comments. Patients are not stupid!! We all go through tough times and the marks on our body usually tell a different story rather than a persons first judgement and opinion.