What is medical gaslighting? A How To Guide to prepare you for any doctor appointment about your chronic illness

What is medical gaslighting?

Medical gaslighting refers to a situation where a healthcare professional undermines or dismisses a patient’s symptoms, concerns, or experiences, making them doubt their own reality. It can be particularly harmful for individuals who are chronically ill, as it invalidates their experiences and hinders their access to appropriate medical care.

To prepare for medical appointments as a chronically ill individual, consider the following tips:

1. Educate yourself: Research your condition and treatment options beforehand so that you can have informed discussions with your healthcare provider.

2. Keep a symptom journal (Check out the Chronic Illness Baddie The Workbook recently released by HTLABW): Document your symptoms, their frequency, and any triggers. This information can help you present a clear picture of your health to your doctor.

3. Write down questions and concerns: Before your appointment, jot down any questions or concerns you have. This ensures that you don’t forget to discuss important matters during the limited time you have with your healthcare provider.

4. Bring a support person: Having a trusted friend or family member accompany you to appointments can provide emotional support and help advocate for your needs.

5. Be assertive and clear: Express your concerns and symptoms openly and assertively. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if something is unclear or if you feel unheard.

6. Request referrals or second opinions: If you feel your concerns are being dismissed or not adequately addressed, consider seeking a second opinion or requesting a referral to a specialist who may have more experience with your condition.


Remember, you have the right to be treated with respect and to receive appropriate medical care. If you experience gaslighting or feel dismissed, it may be beneficial to consider finding a new healthcare provider who will take your concerns seriously. If a medical professional refuses to help you, tell them you want that documented in your chart. Furthermore, request copies of any imaging and imaging reports as well blood work to review for yourself. Often times doctors will only point out things that they consider important, however, they may miss things things because they are “normal low or normal high”. You want to see the results for yourself and asks questions to confirm with symptoms.

Chronic illness baddie: the workbook (<– LINK TO WORKBOOK)

I created a compact workbook that allows you to be able to record important information to help defend ourselves against medical gaslighting. The workbook is over 200 pages that includes the following:

  • Emergency contact page with spaces for 3 emergency contacts
  • Patient information
    • Name
    • DOB
    • Address
    • Email Address
    • Phone Number
  • Questions about allergies, medical devices, and medical implants
  • Medical Conditions (40 spaces)
  • Surgical History (60 spaces)
  • Medication List (60 spaces)
  • Notes section
  • Daily Symptom tracker
    • Pain Tracker
    • Food habits
    • Pain intervention
    • Pain Scale

I use this workbook every day to track my symptoms and other important notes to prepare for upcoming medical appointments and potential emergency hospital visits. Check out the video on my instagram to see the workbook in action!

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