Nadia Tasher knows exactly what it feels like to be dismissed by doctors who weren't convinced her symptoms were real. She's telling her story so that no one has to go through the same thing.
Tasher told Cosmopolitan U.K. that she started experiencing concerning physical symptoms when she was 23 and decided to visit the doctor. It started with a rash.
"My cheeks were really red as well as the bridge of my nose, and I was getting more rashes across my arms," she told Cosmo U.K. She also started experiencing hair and weight loss, and fatigue.
Despite this symptoms, doctors weren't convinced, telling Tasher she had anxiety. Nevertheless, she persisted. Nadia Tasher visited doctors "over 80 times in a year," she alleges.
"They insisted I was suffering from anxiety, and said all my symptoms were as a result of stress and panic attacks," Tasher explained.
"I’d go in and say to them 'I’m really worried because…', but that word 'worried' would instantly lead them to the conclusion I was suffering from anxiety, so their only solution was to tell me to go home and rest."
"I was prescribed anxiety medication and referred to mental health services where a women would call me to ask about my 'anxiety!'" Tasher told ATTN:.
But it wasn't anxiety. Nor was she a hypochondriac (one who is constantly worried about their health) as one doctor told her.
Tasher had lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease with no cure.
90 percent of people diagnosed with lupus are women.
"About 9 out of 10 adults with lupus are women ages 15 to 45," according to the Office on Women's Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Unfortunately, Tasher's story is not uncommon.
When it comes to women getting properly diagnosed, there's a gender bias that can impede the process. As ATTN: previously reported, "Girls" actress Zosia Mamet struggled to find a doctor to take her seriously. Mamet visited various doctors who "told me I was crazy," as she recounted at a women's conference. She was eventually diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction (and by a female physician).
And in Feb. 2016, ATTN: covered how gender bias kept multiple women from being taken seriously when they experienced severe period pain. These women were eventually diagnosed with endometriosis, but along the way, were called hypochondriacs and were accused of exaggerating their pain.
As for Nadia Tasher, she runs a blog from the U.K. about what it's like living with lupus in her early '20s.
"This blog is not all doom and gloom," she writes. "I try to be open and honest about my experiences with Lupus [sic] in the hopes that my journey will help others and raise awareness," but also notes that she is also obsessed with dogs and planning her upcoming wedding.