Answering the question ‘what is pill shaming?’ seems fairly straightforward doesn’t it. After all, it is shaming someone for taking pills, usually medication and/ or painkillers. Sometimes it is friends or family members who do the shaming. Other times it can be doctors who does so.

But how does this actually take place? Who is targeted for pill shaming? And is it often more ‘sly’ than obvious in its occurrence?

Pill shaming — myself

Back in the day, before chronic illness conditions came to be diagnosed thick and fast and medication became an absolute necessity, I used to shame myself for taking pills. …


Had I just been a victim of medical gaslighting as a woman seen by a male doctor? It was the thought that whizzed through my mind as I almost stumbled out of the consulting room trying not to cry and headed straight to the reception desk to ask to see a different, trusted, doctor.

Why the question? Well medical gaslighting can often be confusing and complex, and perhaps even unclear. How we are treated by a doctor can be bound up in medical language, as well as looks, raised eyebrows, silences even, that all convey something, but we aren’t always…


When I first started to experience the symptoms of what later came to be diagnosed as multiple chronic illnesses, there was one thing I was adamant about: this was not going to be my life. Naively perhaps, I was sure that I was going to figure out the cause of my symptoms, find the right treatment and then be cured. Illness was going to be a blip in the road, not the whole journey of my life. …


We live in a world where ‘healthy’ advice is given at every turn. People sipping a matcha latte, popping all the supplements they can fit in their bag and then going for a HIIT workout (with smoothie afterwards of course) and then suggesting you do the same . . .

Yet some seemingly ‘healthy’ pursuits can be just the opposite if you are living with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) as I am, or other chronic illness conditions. …


“You no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis of POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).”

To most people, those words would be a cause for joy. It is a huge achievement to no longer have a medical condition. To not be “unwell” anymore. Surely a celebration is in order, no? A big party, or at least a nice lunch or self-congratulatory trip to the shops for a little treat.

Perhaps not. Perhaps a celebration isn’t in order, because it leaves some of us with more questions than answers. Most people with chronic illness wish for answers more than anything —…


‘Does it make you self-conscious?’ a doctor once asked about the barely perceptible scar on my lower abdomen. A scar that came about from a laparoscopy, and that is so faded you would almost need a magnifying glass to see it. I replied that it didn’t and she looked surprised by response. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘it’s in a good place, all hidden away’.

That conversation got me thinking a lot about scars. It was my first scar from a medical procedure, although I also have one on my chin from falling off my bike when I was about eight years…


The loneliness of chronic pain in the middle of the night

Sometimes I feel as though there is a kind of language that spoonies (those of us with chronic illness conditions) speak, with words such as painsomnia probably only on our radar and not those of others. It’s like a sort of club that nobody wants to be a part of (or nobody I know anyway). Like much of the spoonie language, I had been living with painsomnia for a long time before I actually knew that there was a word to describe it.

What is painsomnia?

I tried to do a bit of googling for a ‘proper’ definition of painsomnia. I started with…


Living with an invisible illness often feels like shouting loudly into a void. Why? Because the invisibility of our conditions can lead to doubt being cast over whether we really are sick. Sometimes we even get sly allegations that perhaps we are faking, as though we have carefully crafted our lives into a giant ruse to trick everyone into giving us sympathy (or drugs, if they are a doctor) . . .

The forgetfulness, and not just mine . . .

Living with an invisible illness is often about living with forgetfulness. Not my own, although brain fog is an issue at times . . . No I mean…


Staying at home has been a strange time for many us, and perhaps more so when you live with chronic illness. While we are often used to being home either entirely or more often than others, the climate in which we are doing so now feels very different.

This time has shown us a lot about how health is viewed by others. Sadly, it’s often been rather negative and hurtful. …


Boy, this is something I wish I had known how to do at the beginning of…

When I first became unwell it happened without warning. One day I was pretty fine, the next I was thrust into my healthcare system trying to work out what was wrong. To begin with I was naive. I went along with whatever the doctor told me, but that didn’t always go well . . .

Advocating for myself has now became second nature. Some doctors have been fantastic and referred me to other fantastic doctors. In fact, some picked up on an issue before I even knew I had one. I won’t ever forget my cardiologist asking me about my…

Claire G.

Chronic illness blogger at throughthefibrofog.com and on Instagram @through.the.fibro.fog

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store