"The cognitive authority of medicine plays an important role in distorting and silencing the knowledge of the disabled. Medical professionals have been given the power to describe and validate everyone’s experience of the body. If you go to doctors with symptoms they cannot observe directly or verify independently of what you tell them, such as pain or weakness or numbness or dizziness or difficulty concentrating, and if they cannot find an objectively observable cause of those symptoms, you are likely to be told that there is “nothing wrong with you,” no matter how you feel. Unless you are very lucky in your doctors, no matter how trustworthy and responsible you were considered to be before you started saying you were ill, your experience will be invalidated. Other people are the authorities on the reality of the experiences of your body.
When you are very ill, you desperately need medical validation of your experience, not only for economic reasons (insurance claims, pensions, welfare and disability benefits all depend upon official diagnosis), but also for social and psychological reasons. People with unrecognized illnesses are often abandoned by their friends and families. Because almost everyone accepts the cognitive authority of medicine, the person whose bodily experience is radically different from medical descriptions of her/his condition is invalidated as a knower."
— Susan Wendell (Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability)
(Source: garbageling, via chronicallyvegan)