Doctors who blame me for my problems


Can I just take a minute to mention how crappy medical professionals can be at being patient and understanding??

I’m super forgetful as part of my inattentive-type ADHD, but before being diagnosed, I always felt like it was my fault and that I was just stupid and lazy. Now I know that’s not the case and I’m working on building my self esteem back up.

But it isn’t helped by doctors, and dentists, who just tell me off all the time! If I miss an appointment, I get judged and told off like I’m a child who forgot their PE kit at school! No matter how much I tell them I can’t help it and it’s not my fault, they always blame me and say I need to remember things or they can’t help me. Not a shred of compassion, even.

I KNOW they can’t help me if I don’t turn up, or if I forget to take the medication they give me - I’ve been reminded of this my whole life. But why can’t they see that I’m trying? And there are ways they can help! If they wrote things down for me at appointments, or sent me reminder letters, or sent me a text even, it would be so much easier! But even without that, is it too much to ask that they have some god damn compassion so that I don’t come away from every appointment feeling like a failure and like I don’t deserve to be healthy?

My friend tells me to just ignore them, and I do always move past it, but I’m really getting fed up and demoralised by it all. Tell me I’m not alone here?



An impression I’ve gotten from some Doctors (both in the ADHD world and out) will aggressively ignore anything that they don’t view a pathology around. Difficulty with organization is not something that fits into this neat ADHD pathologie so they pretend it doesn’t exist.

My last psychiatrist visit went like this .

me: “I feel good about my ability to get work done, but my home life has been really bad due to my organization recently, especially in the evenings”

him " Here’s concerta it will really help you focus at work, take it when you wake up, it should all wear off by the time you get to the evenings so you can sleep"

me : :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I was working with a therapist at the time and ostensibly she was supposed to help, but… uhh… we never worked on it.

Can you find a professional that will specifically help you with that like a coach or some other role specific to ADHD?

As for your dentist… I dunno it sucks. they are kind o being a jerk, but a lot of people don’t undestand The Struggle ™. Maybe try some of the techniques in the apologizing video?



Yeah, they’re right, but they don’t have to be dicks about it.:disappointed_relieved: And especially when they (should) know about it, like doctors (as opposed to dentists), it’s very frustating. As for taking medication, I always recommend the ‘MyTherapy’ app. I find it helps a lot.:sweat_smile:



Ahhh I’m so sorry, that sucks!! Yeah, I don’t know why the etiquette is, “You’re obviously embarrassed? Maybe even apologizing? Let me just reiterate how this is all Your Fault”



It does suck, to have deal with anyone who isn’t properly informed about ADHD, but it multi-maxi-sucks to have to deal with someone who is SUPPOSED to be informed about it but isn’t. I haven’t had such negative experiences with my professionals, so I guess I’m lucky (so far). Then again, a lot of supposedly helpful people throughout my life, many of whom SHOULD have been on the lookout for ADHD, including medical doctors but also career counselors, mentors, teachers, professors, parents, all were engaged at one time or another in some investigations into my conditions and yet never mentioned anything even distantly related to ADHD. So, whereas I have good professional care now, I didn’t get ANY care at all until I was 43 years old and finally got a diagnosis, and this despite seeking out (but not entirely finding on my own) exactly the type of care that I now receive.

It’s a tough world to cope with. We’re sympathetic here on the chat and bulletin boards. I’d suggest carrying around a few print-outs of the top-points about ADHD which have been created by Jessica The Little Red Haired Girl who runs this website, so you can fling them at your detractors and dash away in a huff.



I can totally relate to this. I wish I had advice to give, but I don’t. I have a hard time letting peoples negativity towards me go as well. Just know you aren’t alone. We can get through it!



Thanks everyone.

It angers me on the basic level of decent social interaction, you know?

Whether someone has ADHD or not, of even if you have no knowledge of mental health or neurological differences, it doesn’t mean you can’t be nice. If someone is saying “I’m overwhelmed and struggling with this and it bums me out”, why would your response be to get angry at them, roll your eyes and say “try harder”?

I understand why people like doctors and dentists etc might not have patience. They’ve got a long day, a lot of people to see, and strict timescales in which to see them. But I think they’d save time in the long run if they put more effort into being understanding, since I wouldn’t end up hating myself and subsequently not looking after myself and ending up right back there.

I recently found a dentist who is really nice, for the first time. The dental assistant is lovely too. And you know what? For the first time in my life, I’m looking after my teeth SO well. He’s shocked by my improvement. He’s not any more skilled in dentistry than anyone else I’ve seen - but his positivity and belief in me has made a HUGE difference. Again, he has zero knowledge of ADHD, but he’s willing to listen to me, and when I say I’m struggling he BELIEVES me that I’m trying my hardest. It doesn’t take much, it actually saves time, because he doesn’t stand over me and lecture me. He listens to me, and lets me work things out my own way, and trusts me to do it. Why is that so hard???



Other thoughts:

First, some people simply fling “try harder” at another person whenever a request or plea for help is aired, because they TOO are feeling overwhelmed and unable to help, or because they TOO are already trying “harder” than they feel like they ought to have to try. They deserve our sympathy, though it’s a subtle investigative act to figure out if that’s really the case about them.

Second, and to the contrary, sometimes, people who have a vested interest in the current power-systems, will demand that you participate in those systems (they do so because, otherwise, their own past investments will seem to diminish in value, of course), so they’ve become adept at spouting whatever verbal challenge will most insinuate THEIR system into YOUR values. This happens with the Protestant Work Ethic, for example, among people who have spent a great deal of their lives working at regular jobs only to find that they have gained merely marginal rather than stupendous success; then, when faced with someone who seems to reject the idea of putting in the same loads of life-long effort, their defensive instincts kick in and they trickily demand that this new-thinking person please revert to old-think, and they do so for their own peace of mind, not for the new person’s benefit.

For both the types above, we probably should not forget to look at their OWN interests in the matter, when they say something like that. Maybe they’re hurting because of their own inability to exert that effort, or maybe they want to demand that you waste effort like they did.

Or maybe they just don’t know what advice to offer and therefore (wrongly) spout whatever the prevailing system says is the “right” way to success. In 1264 AD in medieval Europe, one peasant wouldn’t have said to another, “thou shalt plow thine furrow deeper and with more assiduous effort in order that thou shalt prevail to gain riches and wealth and have greater attention in thine schoolrooms.” Instead, unlike in our culture, the medieval peasant was more likely to have said, “know your place and trust in God.” In 43 BC, the Roman citizen said, “Rome is in the eye of the beholder, and if you crave riches you should cultivate good friendships with powerful other citizens,” or he said, “because you are a female / slave / foreigner / whatnot-else, you should shut up, stop trying to have a good life, and simply plow your furrow like you’re told.” Thus we can see, the “try harder” mantra is a product of our time and culture, not a central tenet of the human condition. Many cultures believe that it is foolish, even immoral, to put in excessive or under-productive work merely for the value of the expenditure of effort. Most rich people even in our culture have figured out that under-productive effort is not the way to riches.

“Please apply just a little more effort”? This has been a very difficult piece of advice that I’ve received from a large number of sectors in my life, and on nearly all occasions it has turned out that I should have ignored the advice. In Law School I was told I wasn’t “trying hard enough” only to learn that no matter how hard I tried, I would still get the same old B-minus or C-plus grade, and in fact I knew more of the legal doctrine than nearly all of my classmates. Yet, unbeknownst to me, I also had a wrong-ish verbal style, the wrong parents and family name, and the wrong typeface on my computer (really!). Finally, as well, my undergrad school had been recorded by the Admissions office incorrectly as a tier-5 last-chance-type school rather than the highly-selective tier-1-type school which I actually attended with a similar name. After I corrected that minor record-keeping error, suddenly and magically my supposedly anonymously-graded work got much higher marks, even though I changed none of my verbal style or parents or family name or computer typeface. In other words, they TOLD me to try harder because they didn’t understand that there were possibly other problems, some of which THEY would have to take responsibility for.

Similarly, every time I wanted to date a pretty girl during my high school years but the girl didn’t want to date me, or maybe the girl was simply ambivalent, on-the-fence, she never said, “I’m sorry, I think you’re OK for a lot of reasons but I don’t want to date you.” No, she always said, “Please try harder and maybe you’ll get a chance to go out with me,” or implied as much through subtle verbal cues and hints and so on. Thus, I wrongly believed that I should try harder, when in fact I should have tried DIFFERENTLY. I should have learned better to woo and please a high-school-aged girl (not a transferable skill!), or I should have found girls who were more “my type” and were more predisposed to liking me in the first place, or I should have in some other manner adjusted another part of my approach. Instead, I slavishly ACCEPTED the subordination that they were peddling, by going further and further out of my way to humiliate myself at their hands, which, of course, was just a mild ego-boost to their self-congratulation (high-school-aged girls being, like the boys, rather emotionally insecure and in need of some reassurance about their desirability) and therefore caused them even MORE to reject me and demand I try harder. In other words, by voluntarily accepting the suggestion that I should try harder, all I did was prove myself to be a limp milquetoast doormat. Whoops, that won’t ever work.

See, it’s a bad piece of advice. Glad I had a chance to discuss it a bit. I think I’m well on to MY history and problems and out of the realm of YOURS but maybe you can gain from reading the anecdotes anyway …

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