A woman has shared her concerns online after reading notes from her GP which she found ‘rude’.
In the post on the popular discussion site Mumsnet, user Ispy9 explained that she suffered from anxiety and depression a year ago and visited her doctor for support.
During the COVID outbreak and the immediate aftermath of the past year, the number of adults with symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder has increased in the US. According to the CDC, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms rose from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent, while those reporting an unmet need for mental health care rose to 11.7 percent.
Explaining the situation, the woman from the UK wrote: “This isn’t really relevant anymore because I’m in a much better place now than I was, but I’m still quite annoyed about it. A year ago I was having quite a bit of trouble. of anxiety and depression, so I went to see my GP.”
The patient had downloaded the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) app, which allows patients to access their medical records. But when the Mumsnet user started reading her own, she discovered something that upset her.
“I noticed that at my mental health appointment my GP had written these notes: ‘Examination: no sleeping, no taking care of themselves. Unkept, looking down, shrugging shoulders, not wearing a bra, not brushing hair.'”
After reading the notes, she asked, “Am I unreasonable to think that these comments about my file are rather rude?”
While the woman may have felt the notes in her file were rude, the links between the ability to perform self-care and depression are well-documented. In fact, research shows that depression can make it difficult to maintain personal hygiene, with examples like leaving hair unwashed, not brushing teeth, washing hands less, having trouble showering and wearing the same outfit for several days in a row.
Changes in self-care and lack of motivation to perform usual self-care tasks are a formal symptom of depression.
Researchers have long linked depression to dysfunction of the frontal lobes — the area of the brain responsible for executive functioning, which supports problem solving, judgment and reasoning.
After the Mumsnet user shared her feelings, others rushed to share their comments in more than 140 comments.
One response said, “I think they’re just a factual account of what you looked like?” while another wrote, “They were supposed to reflect how you presented yourself during your period of depression and I assume they were factual, in which case they were rude but observations. It would prove you were depressed.”
“It’s just a factual observation, understandably it’s hard for you to read,” said another Mumsnet user, “I’m not sure the bra comment was meant for you.”
“So many people are so willing to take offense at factual observations. Being unkempt is ONE of the classic signs of depression, it’s not judgment when it’s fact,” said another commenter.
News week could not verify the details of this case.