These self-advocacy tools can help you communicate with your M.D. to get you feeling better faster. Although a doctor may not say those exact words, many people in the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) community have walked away from an encounter with a doctor feeling dismissed. Maybe you were told that aches and pains were a normal part of aging. Perhaps someone suggested that your report of pain was exaggerated—the term “catastrophizing” is often used in the context of chronic pain, meaning that your response is seen as dysfunctional and overly fixated. You may even have been treated as a drug seeker when asking for help with your pain. Some call it medical gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse that causes someone to disbelieve their own reality. But it can also be as simple as the doctor not having the knowledge or tools to help you or they are constrained by policies, such as restrictions on prescribing opioids. Either way, being in this situation feels awful, like being abandoned by the person you thought would give you answers and support you so desperately need. How do you cope when this happens and is there a way to get better treatment? Maybe you’re looking for a diagnosis right now or need someone to take your pain seriously mid-symptom-flare. Read on to learn my story and some pro tips to help you get past the barriers so you can feel better.