My Medical Trauma and How It Happened

June 2, 2020 Miranda Card

Many patients with chronic illnesses find themselves with some amount of medical trauma. When you're a child, it's hard to make sense of surgeries, blood tests, and hours spent in hospitals with the sick and dying. But there's also the medical trauma that, for many of us, could have been avoided if our doctors had been better listeners.

I've had ulcers form in my mouth and throat for 14 days out of every month for as long as I can remember. While I had other symptoms, my ulcers were the most visible. But not one doctor questioned the initial diagnosis, and their inability to question their initial assumptions left me feeling hysterical, overreactive, and still in pain.

My Medical Trauma Came from My Doctors' Disbelief

Year after year, my doctors dismissed my symptoms. Doctor after doctor told me that my ulcers were no more than "canker sores" and that the pain in my joints was "soreness" from ballet. Although I saw many doctors over the course of my childhood, it wasn't until early adulthood that I was screened for underlying conditions.

In the meantime, I was learning to ignore my pain signals and to respond to my pain by telling myself that I was overreacting and that I needed to toughen up. Now, I need to unlearn the lessons about myself that my doctors' disbelief taught me.

Rebuilding My Self-Trust Is Essential to Medical Trauma Treatment

Today, I am re-establishing trust in my own experience. I am learning to pay attention to my pain signals and to express symptoms when they occur, rather than giving into shame and keeping quiet. With the help of a competent medical team, I am working to treat my medical symptoms and my medical trauma. 

How has medical trauma affected you? Share your stories in the comments.

APA Reference
Card, M. (2020, June 2). My Medical Trauma and How It Happened, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Miranda Card

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