In Praise of Crazy, Bitchy Women in Pain

Jennifer Kane
Feb 8, 2018 · 4 min read

Have you ever had a Bailey moment?

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too familiar for many women, especially those who have visited ERs due to invisible illnesses or chronic pain.

  • Health care professionals are more likely to dismiss women’s pain reports as “emotional, psychogenic, hysterical, or oversensitive” and therefore “not real.” In other words, their pain is more often misdiagnosed as a mental health problem instead of a physical one.*
  • Racial/ethnic minorities consistently receive less adequate treatment for acute and chronic pain than whites. Across every therapeutic intervention, people of color receive fewer procedures and poorer quality medical care than whites.

Embrace your bitchiness

Thankfully, there are medical professionals out there who are aware of these biases and are working to fix them by conducting further research, educating health care professionals, and expanding public awareness.

  • Trust your intuition.
  • Assertively advocate for yourself (or call a friend to do it on your behalf.)
  • Call out instances when you suspect your mental health issues are being used as a scapegoat for your physical ones.

* From the report: Chronic Pain in Women: Neglect, Dismissal and Discrimination: Analysis and Policy Recommendations, Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women. (May 2010) Mary Lou Ballweg, Carol Drury, Terrie Cowley, K. Kim McCleary, Christin Veasley,

Pain Talks

Stories that share the lived experience of chronic pain opens up the dark space that people living with it experience. This is a collection of stories of resilient action, thoughtful questioning and defiant resistance to the daily challenges that pain brings.

Jennifer Kane

Written by

Author, advocate, educator, speaker, and chronic pain warrior. More info at jenkane.com

Pain Talks

Stories that share the lived experience of chronic pain opens up the dark space that people living with it experience. This is a collection of stories of resilient action, thoughtful questioning and defiant resistance to the daily challenges that pain brings.