And things seem to get a bit heated after that.
This has happened often enough in this section that I thought it might be appropriate to actually discuss this as an issue in and of itself. Because some of us don't find it offensive, and some find it extremely so. I'm hoping this might be a place we can open a dialogue about this, without it becoming personal, or about a specific problem or situation. :-)
I'll be upfront: I would not tell someone that I thought their reactions were psychosomatic. Even if I thought they were, I wouldn't. So that's the side I'm going to come from. I'm sure there will be plenty of folks to further the discussion on either side, if there's interest.
In a pretty large nutshell, here is why I would not tell someone that their reactions are likely psychosomatic:
If someone claims that they had a reaction and someone else doesn't believe that this reaction is possible, I don't think anyone has an issue about that, generally. We can disagree about whether a physical reaction is possible or not, or about how we think Celiac Disease works, or what can cause a reaction.
Responding with our disbelief is a statement of our opinion about a physical reality. 'I don't think this response is possible in this situation. I don't think Celiac Disease works that way. I don't think gluten is present in this place, or if it is, I don't think it would be in great enough amounts to cause a reaction.' We can even provide research, facts, anecdotes, whatever, to back up our opinions.
And that? That's not offensive. It can lead to some major disagreements, yeah, but it's opinion based on our own experiences and research. It can be polite, and specific, and often helpful to all of us reading it.
However, when someone is speaking about their reaction, we know only a sliver of information about the original poster. We don't know their personality, all the details about their situation, or how their mind works. We may have some information to make an informed opinion about a situation with regards to the gluten, but we don't have enough information to make an informed opinion about them. So if we're giving an opinion about this person's mental health and how that is probably affecting their physical health? It suddenly becomes very personal.
If we tell someone that they are having a psychosomatic reaction, we're stating a strong opinion about something we know nothing about: someone else and their mind. If a person were to write about how nervous and worried they are all the time and that they are looking for help in coping, I would think a discussion about how psychosomatic reactions work would be appropriate. But I really don't see how commenting on someone's mental health is warranted when they are merely sharing an observation about their own experiences, which seems the most common time for this comment to pop up.
I imagine many of us have had this exact, same label applied to us before we were diagnosed. When so many of us had symptoms that didn't match up to what a doctor was testing for and they decided we must be having psychosomatic symptoms. And in that situation, we might have come up some odd theories to try and explain our symptoms. We might have been completely wrong. We might have figured some of it out, but not all. But being incorrect about what caused our symptoms did NOT mean that our symptoms were psychosomatic.
When a doctor, knowing nothing about us or how our minds work, makes this assumption, it feels like a dismissal of our pain AND our ability to observe and reason as we try to solve why we have this pain in the first place. It's not their intention, obviously, but that's what the patient is left with.
It feels no less unpleasant when it happens in a group, however well-intentioned the members may be. Disagreeing with a person's conclusions is one thing. Commenting on the state of their mind during the course of a disagreement is quite different.