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Dear Doctor, I Have Trust Issues

Dear Doctor, I Have Trust Issues

Dear Doctor,

I have trust issues. “Why?” you ask. “Shouldn’t we start out in a trusting relationship?” I wish, but it’s really difficult. Here are the reasons:


According to the Migraine Research Foundation1, over half of people with migraine are undiagnosed, myself included for quite some time. I struggled with migraine attacks throughout my childhood, teens, and 20’s and was always told I just had “regular” headaches. Finally a doctor caught the real problem in my late 20’s. Maybe I didn’t describe my symptoms well enough until asked by that doctor; I tend to understate my own pain. But years of hearing “try two advils instead of one,” instead of asking me a few simple questions about my headaches, has taken it’s toll.

Conflicting information

One doctor instructed to take abortive medication up to five times per week if need be, and another advised to take it no more than twice per week. The general consensus seems to agree more with the latter, but when there is a lack of consistency of advice I don’t know what to follow. Tapping into the migraine community can help mitigate some of this doubt, but I often feel I need to fact check everything. Is that trust?

Misconceptions of migraine

It can take time to filter through new information, but I still hear outdated facts, such as a diagnosis of “complicated migraine” or talk of the “migraine personality.” Um, hello, it’s 2017, not 1977. I’ve heard the most basic knowledge, such as the difference between aura and prodrome, being mixed up. So when you tell me something is part of the “aura” phase, or you think you know the root cause of my migraines, I have serious doubts.

One mistake is okay, but two?

When a trusted physician told me that coming off an anti-depressant cold turkey was “no big deal,” I did as instructed. Then I experienced medication withdrawal that probably could’ve been avoided by tapering. One mistake, okay. I was willing to give the doctor the benefit of the doubt. Until 6 months later he told me coming off of an anti-epileptic drug was “no big deal.” This time checked with my pharmacist and she told me to taper. No one’s perfect, but it seemed like the doctor didn’t care to learn from his mistake. I’ve seen this same story play out in the community over and over with different doctors.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Bottom line, I can’t trust blindly anymore. But, dear doctor, despite all this, it’s really not hard to earn my trust. If you show attentiveness and interest in the situation—listening, asking questions, encouraging dialog—that’s usually enough. There are things I can do to make your job easier, too. I can be proactive, talk to others in the migraine community, do some research, and describe my symptoms better.

You know your medicine, I know my body, and with combined efforts we can be a great team. Dear doctor, help me get over my trust issues. Please.


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Migraine Research Foundation, About Migraine, Available at: Accessed: February 13, 2017


  • Pateena
    3 years ago

    Thank you for the article. I stopped going to doctors for two years because of attitudes that physicians have. I live with this body I know this body.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    3 years ago

    Hi Pateena,

    Sorry to hear you’ve had similar frustrations. I do hope you’ve found a doctor you do trust, or that you will again soon. Glad the article was helpful to you.

    Be well,

  • Diane101010
    3 years ago

    I’m giving you a standing ovation and a hug, for such an excellent article. Oh the stories I could tell.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    3 years ago

    Hi Diane,

    Thanks and hugs back! Feel free to share your stories any time!


  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “You know your medicine, ”
    Doctors know a lot about somethings and something about a lot of things but remember they are only practicing medicine.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    3 years ago

    Hi Luna,

    As always you have such an insightful comment. Yes, agreed!


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