What do you do when you’re falling down the rabbit hole, and the one person who should be able to pull you back is someone who seems to keep dropping pianos, shoes, lamps, couches, teacups, hats, dinner plates, and potted plants down onto you?
I need a new psychiatrist. Beginning and end. I’ve lost all loyalty because I finally realize that the amount of time I’ve spent there can’t be a reason I stay. Reminding myself that she used to be a great doctor with great advice can’t be a reason I stay. Liking who she used to be can’t be a reason I stay. Feeling in my gut that maybe she has something wrong in her own physical health or neurological health can’t be a reason to stay. In the past two years, she’s gone from: a great psychiatrist; to quirky; to OMG Who Is This Woman; to I’m Going To Throat Punch You Hard If I Stay.
The only reason I’m still there is because I’m having trouble finding a new psychiatrist and I need someone who will prescribe the two medications I take. I’m warning anyone right now, there will be cussing. If you have sensitive eyes or tend to clutch pearls when there’s an F-bomb then this may not be the post for you. I think there are more F-bombs in here than I’ve said or written in my entire life. I know God forgives me because he loves me. Baby Jesus might have a hard time with it, but he loves me too so he’ll eventually forgive me. As soon as my stove works I’ll bake him some cupcakes as an appropriate apology.
The reason I’m writing this post is because I needed to get it all, or most all of it, into one spot so that I can see it and realize that I’m not imagining things. I’m also writing it because it’s important for people to see others who are having issues with mental health providers that they’re not alone. Finally, it’s important for others who are experiencing mental health issues to see they’re not alone in having mental health problems, and it’s okay to talk about issues surrounding mental health and the mental health industry. We have to be the ones to change how we’re treated. We have more of a voice than we realize. We CAN self-advocate. We CAN’T wait for other people to do it for us most of the time.
Reasons To Find A New Shrink:
- She likes to talk about herself for most of the appointment and you still have to pay the co-payment
- She’ll even go so far as to walk you out of her office into the break area to show you all of her vacation photos to
- She sometimes confuses your file with someone else’s file
- She confuses YOU with other patients to the point of calling you a bad mother; too permissive; passive aggressive; not a good example to my children; and you know for sure she’s not talking about you when you’re ready to cry when she finally says that I’m “not strict enough especially my son” except, well, I don’t have a son
- She tells you that you have unreasonabe, unattainable high expectations as a complete and utter perfectionist about anything and everything, being rigid and essentially comparing you to Mommy Dearest when moments before she told you that you were too permission, passive aggressive, not strict enough with your non-existent son, etc.
- I’ve been seeing her for 11 years now and she apparently hasn’t heard a word I’ve said
- She can’t read her own handwriting most of the time in my multiple files
- She complains about how Americans are very petty with the whining they do during sessions
- She mocks Americans for “all of the medications” they need when she figured out the proper foods and spices to take to get of any and all illnesses because apparently, ALL ILLNESSES ARE IN YOUR HEAD AND YOU CAN GET RID OF ANY PHYSICAL AILMENT IF YOU ONLY CHOOSE TO
- She used to consider herself a one-stop psychiatrist: Talk Therapy plus Meds-If-Needed plus Natural Methods and skills
- Not any longer; She seems to consider Talk Therapy beneath her and a waste of her time EVEN THOUGH SHE’S GETTING PAID
- She forgets to tell you diagnoses she’s made and lets them slip out such as diagnosing Fibromyalgia within months of beginning therapy with me but waiting until I told her when I got the diagnosis from two other doctors with, “Oh, I know, I diagnosed it seven years ago! See? It’s in your file.”
- In spite of physical, documented, scientific, medical proof with DNA and at the cellular level narrowed down to an actual thing of its own…
- AND Fibromyalgia having an actual physical MEDICAL diagnostic code of ICD-10 Fibromyalgia M79.9…
- She thinks it’s a junk diagnosis and purely caused by uncontrolled anxiety a.k.a. it’s all in my head [when she told me that last appointment I said, “Yes, you’re right… the pain I feel in every nerve and cell and fiber in my body is interpreted in my brain and it destroys grey matter. And THAT is in my head but not the way you think it is.”]
- This is relatively new: She thinks that childhood traumas should simply be “let go, forgiven, and forgotten” and that’s the path to happiness, especially if you simply look at the situation from the point of view of the person/people who abused you
- She used to be nice to work for, based on observation; now she goes through office assistants like Post-It Notes
- This is very, very new: She thinks that the way to heal yourself is to simply choose to be happy; choose to never have anxiety again; discover the secret to perfect health and you’ll never ever be sick again and she has found the secret to complete health and happiness but SHE WON’T SHARE THE SECRETS, GUYS!
- She’ll share every detail of her life but SHE WON’T SHARE THE SECRETS TO COMPLETE HEALTH AND HAPPINESS!
- WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?
- I think she’s closing in on 75 and possibly flirting with Dementia because she’s had a complete personality change since I met her and it came on suddenly within the past two years
- She holds opposing viewpoints in the same conversation, sometimes the same sentence
At least she’s stylish?
Maybe I expect too much out of my psychiatrist.
That would be the old me talking. That would be the old me questioning myself and my judgment. I may not stand up to her as much as I ought to, but I’m finding that the more angry she makes me the more I’m speaking up. For a while I thought that she was testing me. I thought she was saying some rude asshole things to me to get a rise out of me to see how I would handle it and if I could control my anxiety visibly. Telling me that pain is all in my head, searing screaming pain that requires pain management plus back pain due to injury, is really all in my head and reliance on pain meds is why pain increases. I reminded her scrawny ass how I was completely without pain meds except for occasional Advil for 36 years and she brushed me off. I was SEEING HER BEFORE I EVER TOOK PAIN MEDS. She knew the lengths I went to with naturalistic methods.
I reminded her of all of this:
“Of course the pain meds work, you want them to work. You’re reliant on them. It’s all psychosomatic. If you could just control your anxiety and eat properly, eat vegetarian, you wouldn’t have any at all. You choose to be this way.”
“Doctor, I’m vegetarian. I use yoga. I do everything right and I still had emergency room level pain. No meds equals level 10 pain.”
“Of course! Because you don’t know any better! You’re dependent on those medications because you don’t know any better!”
“I’m dependent because I want to live and not be suicidal. I’m dependent, not addicted. As a doctor you know the difference. I’m not on anything addictive. But I depend on my medications to work, and because they do, I rely on them and depend on them to keep me healthy and productive.”
“Why are you so argumentative today, Jessica?”
“My session is over. Do you have my scripts?”
“Yes, don’t forget them. You clearly need them. What are they again?”
Nope, she’s just turned into some strange, rude, sometimes mean, forgetful, immovable asshole.
I don’t really have many expectations.
I certainly don’t expect that if you advertise yourself as a talk therapist that you should then tell your patients they ought to find a therapist in addition to meeting with her because she prefers not to deal with it. Right. Separate my services so that I have to pay more on a very low income with a tight budget.
I just… I can’t. I’ve lost all of my even. Gone. Withered away.
It’s funny how in the current culture, expecting kindness and honesty are”high expectations.” It’s funny how when you tell someone exactly what it is you need, want, or expect, their response is one of confusion. Now… this following conversation occurred a year ago with The Mister. I remember this conversation well and I’ll simply refer to it for cake-making purposes this year so that the conversation need not occur again regarding cake.
“Honey, would you like chocolate or vanilla cake for your birthday?”
“What do you mean? Why go to the trouble?”
“Because I enjoy it and it’s less expensive. Plus the kids want to help. So would you like chocolate or vanilla cake? Or another flavor?
“What? What do you want from me?”
“WHAT what? I want you to tell me what flavor birthday cake you want. I’d like you to do it kindly. That’s all I expect.”
“Oh. Can you make chocolate chip cookie cake? It’s kind of… my favorite.”
“Sure thing. That’s all I needed to know. I love you.”
“Love you too. I have things to go do.”
I don’t know if I forgot how to use the English language with my cognitive impairments thanks to ICD-10 Fibromyalgia M79.9 😉 but this isn’t uncommon throughout weekly interactions. It can’t all be me. It’s like people forgot how to interpret language, and their receptive language skills are just dead. I don’t think my expressive language skills are totally shot yet. I know I can be wordy but most of the time it’s in an effort to be sure I’m understood. I try to make sure that my expectations are clear. I guess that makes me a control freak.
I know that not all of my expectations will be met. I don’t expect all of my expectations to be met. They’re just expectations. I’m fine as long as I know that best efforts were made. Best efforts and truthfulness are huge. So is responding to me when I say something. Acknowledge me when I speak. Acknowledge my presence. When I call you, when I say your name, don’t call back “WHAT?” in annoyance or stare into space. Come to me. Look at me. Treat me like a person. That’s a reasonable expectation.
That all said, there are some jobs that you would think have established expectations built in and there are standards for the field that would be observed. A code, even. I know that many psychiatrists are “only prescribers” and don’t offer talk therapy but many, many, many do and so when they advertise their practice that way, then there are reasonable expectations of what that job entails.
Reasonable Expectations To Have Of Your Psychiatrist:
- Listen to your patients more than you speak because that’s your fucking job
- Remember that the appointments are about your patients and their lives, because that’s your fucking job
- Appointments are not time for the Dr. Whackadoodle-Pants Show where you show your patients how much better your life is; It’s appropriate to sometimes draw a vague comparison to your own life but your patients don’t need or want to know about your personal life because sharing every aspect of your personal life every chance you get is NOT your fucking job
- Offer advice, tools for coping, and emotional support because that’s your fucking job
- Discuss various additional options for self-regulation with Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorder, and other psychiatric issues because that’s your fucking job
- Discuss pros and cons of medications because that’s your fucking job
- When your patient tells you that a particular medication gave her A, B, C negative and/or allergic reactions you listen, take it seriously, and you report it because that’s your fucking job
- When you make one or more serious diagnoses of your patient, you TELL THEM ALL OF THE DIAGNOSES like a fucking boss because A. That’s what they’re there for and B. It’s your fucking job
- When you feel superior to your patients, as if your patients are whiny complainers, and you can’t get your shit together enough to have the correct files in front of you, close your office and quit your fucking job