What's the dumbest thing a 'professional' has said to you?

"All you need to do is get out and about, and then you'll be fine." A GP giving me advice r.e. my GAD.

"You just need to do vigorous physical jerks. Do that every day. Even marching on the spot will do you good." The hospital consultant who first diagnosed me with Post Viral Syndrome (ME).

"It's all in your mind. You have to face up to that. It's in your imagination." A GP explaining the cause of the totally debilitating neuralgia I'd been experiencing (before she'd even examined me or done any tests).

So what have they said to you...

32 Replies

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  • Yeah, I've been there with a GP whose medical opinion was "it's all just in your head"! Well, thanks for that. Tell me something I don't know. No use and no help whatsoever. A little understanding and a professional opinion based on something more substantial. Too much to ask for?

  • when I went through a period of frequent need to pee, my psychologist told me to pee my self in public because it would prove to me there is nothing to fear........still can't work out how that would have helped and not made things worse!

  • I was telling my psychiatrist on my 1st and only appt [he kept cancelling] how CBT and a support group was helping me. He folded his arms tightly, crossed his legs and sat slightly sideways - he was almost sat behind his chair [recognise the signs? - closed off.]

    "I don't think you should talk to each other, it's not good." !!!!

    sandra.

  • When I visited my GP at 15 to discuss my self harming, he looked at me and said "why don't you just stop doing it then?". I was stunned - I'd been trying to explain to him that I couldn't stop!!

    As it turned out, it was the same GP that my brother visited suffering from panic attacks when he was 12. His response to my brother? "Just breathe into a brown paper bag, that'll do the trick."

    I do wonder how some of these people manage to keep their jobs.

  • Hi All. They keep their jobs, hevero, because there is no one to check their activities. Their superiors are just as ignorant as they are when it comes to nervous illness. The training of the average GP in nervous illness is virtually non-existent. Now, the others would say' we are Psychiatrists, we have been trained. Yes, but have you BEEN THERE? They may well be good when dealing with a Psychosis or serious mental illness but GAD, NO A serious mental illness like Psychosis is very, very far removed from nervous illness. It very often happens that, in Psychosis the patient is not even aware he/she is ill although their behaviour says otherwise.The very fact that you can all write to this site site means you are sane.(You may not think so but you are). You are looking for a way out and most are getting there. In more serious mental illness this is rarely the case. I think I have said before that, when in the middle of my GAD (I was 55) a Psychiatrist said, "Well, your problem is that you have no children". When I asked, at our age, how we could remedy this the reply was, "Nothing you can do."!!! Very helpful!, Needless to say,I only went once. The best people to talk to are like those who run this site. As I understand it they have all BEEN THERE. Unless your doctor or other so called experts have, then it is a waste of time talking to them. Of course, you have to go to your GP for a check, but most of them should stick to prescribing and if they don' know, keep quiet. I am lucky. I have an understanding GP and there are not many about. My wife has just used the word 'inane' to describe their words. It means 'damn silly', and that just about sums it up. Hope you all keep a sense of humour because, after all, they can't help it. jonathan.

  • Oh I think I have just pee'd myself laughing at these answers! thank you for that. Once I got assigned an anxiety management lady. A lot younger than me , I was looking forward to what she had up her sleeve for me. She leaned forward in her chair and said" once upon a time there was an old woman who daren't leave her house" ( almost whispering she leaned further forward with every sentence) "every day she got worse and worse till she never left her house again" and "then she died " needless to say........I rang up and said I never wanted to see her face again! and then how I laughed!!!!!!!!now I really have to go LOL xxxx

  • Hi ellabella. For God's sake,what stone do these people crawl from under!! Where have they been all their lives? They should NEVER be let loose on the public. Oh dear! Oh dear, I really despair at times with the utter nonsense they talk. Hope you are staying reasonably well after your 'outing'. jonathan.

  • So far so good Jonathan thank you, being kept amused. I have got 2 Grandchidren this afternoon.......ask me again later lol xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Thanks for the read. I got there are people a lot worse off than you! yes that I know health wise anyway. But are also living with the same crap no, no they are not. Me have tried to cope too long alone something had to give. cheers vince lady I wish I could alter my name.

  • I got that from my family Vince...we all know that there are people a lot worse off than us don't we? They don't need to tell us xxxxx

  • When I first went to my (then) GP 15 years ago, she had a young male medical student in with her for training. I was too nervous to ask if he could leave so I let him stay.

    I was worn out and depressed after the untimely death of my father and a few other traumas, to the point where i had left my job and was having constant anxiety and panic attacks. I had lost over 2 stone in weight and was feeling suicidal. I sobbed my heart out telling her what had brought me to this point and how I felt afraid all the time and couldn't go anywhere without panicking.

    She listened without showing any warmth or empathy, and then turned to the student and said to him (as if I wasn't even there) "You see, the trouble with patients like this, is that they worry about things that never happen"

    The student looked shocked and looked at me as if to say "I can't believe she just said that!" She then wrote me a prescription for Seroxat and sent me away. I was distraught, not to mention angry, but in those days I could only see that particular GP.

    When I couldn't tolerate the awful side-effects of that particular drug, I went back and explained, and she further compounded the problem by stating that I "shouldn't be off work at all", and if I stayed off any longer "the DWP would investigate me and find out I was just a malingerer"........How helpful :-)

    Needless to say, I switched to another surgery as soon as I could. 15 years later I still have an anxiety disorder, panic attacks and a tendency toward agoraphobia. She was SO wrong about me, but these people can get away with the most appalling behaviour!

  • Hi funkychicken. No, No, I really think you have got it all wrong!!!!. Your doctor should have been put forward for the Nobel prize for medicine. My goodness, what a fantastic diagnosis! The greatest names in medicine must look upon her with awe. She probably has so many letters after her name you run out of paper!! I bow to her, she has made my day! Seriously, what depths of sheer stupidity can these people sink to. Most people in medicine do have a little empathy, she had none. If you get any more blogs on this then perhaps we can talk about your present troubles and suggest help. Take no notice whatsoever of this pure ignorance. We come upon it all the time. Bless you and good luck. jonathan. (Sorry if I sound a bit facetious but we must keep a sense of humour, although it is far from funny).

  • When I was anorexic I was referred to a psychiatrist who gave me 'recipe ideas' that basically amounted to how I could put more sugar on each meal to help me get more energy and put on weight. I was too tired to explain to her what anorexia was.

  • Back in the 80`s, I was going through a rough patch what with one thing & another. I told my gp that I was depressed about my life, & all he could say was " well that`s because your mother was depressed", I ask you! how unhelpful can any doctor be, to tell a patient that they`re condemned to unhappiness because of their genes!

  • Hi aug2012, my worst ones are, "do you want to get better", who the hell wants to be like this!, "its all in your head", "sorry, so why cant you work again?" ........what can i say, they are all a bunch of pratts. x

  • first time i told my GP about my anxiety or the symptoms that i am suffering from, as i didn't know then what it was, he just mumbled some things and dismissed me. Then turned to his PC to write something and turned back again and said well just do more exercise and lose weight nothing more but i can give you something for the spot on your face?? i was like what? he said i do my own creams at home and i can for sure give you something for your spots on your face!!! needless to say no more :) happy day everyone :) hahahhaha

  • My GP told me last week to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day as its a known to aid anxiety. As i was leaving her parting shot was... "so eat up and pull your socks up"!

  • Hi FUNKYCHICKEN (and everyone)

    It's shocking isn't it? I think one of the worst things is that they look at you (if they bother to look) with such a blank-faced, objective, lack of human empathy - and that's what effects me the most I think; we may as well be talking to a brick wall - but at least a wall won't reply with an idiotic and/or condescending manner!

    I really don't think these people have ANY idea at all how much they negatively impact on patients who are in mental/emotional distress. It shouldn't happen should it?

    A few months ago I poured my heart out to a GP about how I'd tried to kill myself around Christmas time and that the police were called - he sat there like I was reading a grocery shopping list; then afterwards gave not one word of human empathy or advice, or a psyche referral - just sent me off with some new meds to try. Later I thought... "How un-human and how inhumane" - to sit and listen to someone's misery and not be moved one tiny bit (it's rather psychotic, I think).

    Well, I just hope that one day, some day, we will ALL find that special GP, psych worker, or therapist who will be what we need.

    Stay strong.

  • Hi a dr once told me if it was serious you'd be dead by now and there are many more all the best. Mel

  • A cbt therapist told me I was handling my panic disorder well and wouldn't need to see her again two nights later in the AnE at the local hospital after a big panic attack which I didn't handle well

  • Hi all.... I remembered another one - a real 'classic'

    My GP asked me when I was psychotically depressed several years ago - "You can get yourself out of bed can't you? You can dress yourself and eat? So that's all you need in life. You don't need any help from me."

    What a complete and utter tw*t!!

  • I didn't get diagnosed until I came to uni after telling my GP at home for most of my teenage years that I kept having panic attacks and hated social situations. His responses were: lose weight and go open up your friendship groups. My interpretation was 'your an overweight friendless teen stop wasting my time.' My uni doctor diagnosed serve GAD and mild depression with suicidal thoughts...

  • These responses sound classic. We should make them into a book - seriously!

    Last year I finally BEGGED to be referred to a psychiatrist my the psychodynamic therapist I was seeing at the time. When it finally happened she was a locum because they were in-between appointment of new consultant - and she giggled good-humouredly throughout the visit while I was sobbing out my story and trying to get her to understand how bad my feelings are and how low I feel with them. Completely inappropriate to LAUGH, however kindly meant, when a patient is so obviously distressed....or am I missing something?

    Her response was to ask a) whether I had a faith; (!!!!) b) telling me 'You nice lady, you have nice husband, why you worry?' and c) to do more dusting and housework.

    To cap it all off, she related a tale of how competitive she and her sister used to be over their exam results (this was in response to my trying to explain how inadequate I feel with people and how guilty that I find it so hard to feel happy for their success, but only envy).

    I was gobsmacked, to say the least - were her pronouncements really the result of years of medical training, paid for by our taxes? WOW. Could have got better treatment from our cat.

    I refused to see her again - waited till they appointed a permanent consultant psychiatrist, who was the first medic to listen and take me seriously. (And now he says I am not ill enough to be seen by him any more because resources are limited, so once again I feel let down and abandoned....)

  • Hi hedgecrone. I cannot understand what is the matter with you people! The following advice is obviously necessary!.

    1. Blow in to a brown paper bag (Must be brown) 2. Eat plenty of fruit and veg. (With sugar).

    3. Snap out of it and pull your socks up. 4. Have a large family. (10 or more preferred).

    5. Keep busy and ensure you have a good understanding husband. 6. Have 'faith'. 7. Do not get depressed, it is not good for you. 8. Go for a walk. 9. Stop doing it. 10. Get out and about.

    11. Run on the spot. 12. Stop worrying. No such thing as anxiety, so stop getting anxious.

    No further comment. jonathan.

  • Hi Jonathan hope your well iv been reading the answers on this question where do you get brown paper bags these days they'r nearly all white I did ask at the chemist after a dr had told me that one and they didn't stock them . You look after you and yours all the best Mel

  • That I shouldn't be a Counsellor (now, in my mid-thirties) because I was diagnosed as having GAD and OCD from the age of 13...

    Anyone can have anxiety, OCD or depression. It is not because you're a GP that you have never had it yourself or will never have it yourself... it's not because my GP saw me in the role of 'patient' for 20 minutes one morning that the bad period lasted forever and defined me as a person either.

    'Everything is (supposed to be) in flux', if I remember rightly :) 'Nothing is, everything is becoming' and all that... anxiety and OCD do not define who we are as people, and whether we would be competent in a caring job or not.

  • As a PS to the above the answers given in this thread are amusing and depressing all at the same time although I do want to say I have had three inspiringly wonderful GPs along my own GAD/ OCD journey and to be fair to the medical profession, anxiety has only relatively recently been (more) understood. Some GPs will have only be quoting what they were taught in medical school, which at the time when they trained may not have been a lot. And I also think that you get logical thinking GPs and lateral thinking ones, just like people doing any job. I don't think anxiety is very easy to get when you've never had anyone instil in you just what it entails.

  • Hi All. I am sorry if my recent blog above sounded facetious but it is better (for me) than getting angry which is my immediate reaction to the nonsense some of these so called professionals come out with. Of course there are excellent GP's who do understand. While in hospital I found a nurse who fully understood how I felt, while the Sister did not have clue. We cannot put every helper in the same category and it would be wrong to generalise, but, there is a point in all the above blogs that UNDERSTANDING is not common in the medical profession. Perhaps I was a bad engineer thinking I was a good one!!. Ah well. Bless you all. jonathan.

  • Another one iv just remembered I told him gasping I was having breathing problems he said well what are you doing now . you take care. Mel

  • I am going to see a neuro about my migraines and ha an MRI scan in September which came back all clear.... Following a scary surge of adrenaline etc I visited A&E.

    The doc said 'why did you have an MRI and to see a neuro, do they suspect MS? or maybe they send you because they think it's early signs'

    Ever since I've thought I've got MS.. Not ony that when I told him I knew two people with MS he said 'well being an anxious person you would jump to the worst conclusion that you have it'

    I thought omg I didn't think I had it until you mentioned it! Lol good times

  • Ive been so lucky with my gp's. The one I first told what had happened in the past to was so supportive and lovely. He ensured I went back to see him every few weeks and was really there for me. Ill never forget him even though he has retired now. He has created an image in my mind of a GP so I'd be totally floored if I met one of the above. I miss him still to this day. Some people are amazing.

  • That is a horrible thing to say to someone!

    To answer your question about Doctors........My longtime Dr, Retired and a younger NEW Dr, took his patients......I have multiple conditions....one being Chonic anxiety. I met this new Dr and asked him if he thought I needed to have the new "Prevnar" pneumonia shot. (I had a splenic rupture in 2003 and lost 2/3 of my blood). I said "I just wondered if I really had to have that PREVNAR Shot because I don't have a spleen". He looked at me and said "What makes you THINK you don't have a spleen?"

    I could NOT believe it! This was at my 2nd appt and if he had read my records he would have seen it! I couldn't get out of his office fast enough!

    I think our town gets doctors that graduated from the bottom of their class! I want to report him for being incompetent but don't know who to turn him in to. These doctors should be reported. I've been hurt by them more than once and now I don't trust them!

    Hoping for better treatment for all of you!

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