Sitting in that room alone with just the computer, I might as well been in complete darkness.
This part two of the series chronicling the issues that I have had over the years with the revolving doors of psychiatrists in my life. Today, I had my first doctor’s appointment with my new doctor. It was, well to be expected in some ways and extremely annoying in so many other ways.
I wanted to preface this with some background. I have been in the adult system of care with Behavioral Health since late 2007. The revolving door of psychiatrists in my life has also coincided with major changes within my local mental health department. When I first started out my doctors we always met face to face for many years. I got used to the fact that this is they a patient and doctor should meet. They can see you, and really look at how your feeling. Most of my doctor’s visits have gone this way over the years.
This is the way that it should be. How can you know what a person is truly thinking if he is lying because the depression is so bad that the patient hides it? Often my first doctor was great at knowing that there was something seriously wrong with me and could get me help accordingly. I am in a better place now, but who really knows about the future?
That takes me to today. This being the first time seeing this new doctor there was real anxiety both last night and when I first woke. I stated in part one of this series about my frustration and anxiety with having to tell my story all over again. Ten years of anxiety, depression, ups and downs, insomnia and everything else that comes with my diagnosis of Bipolar One makes it difficult to talk about over and over. I woke up this morning with real anxious feelings, and there was a moment that I almost decided to not get out of bed.
Eventually, I got out of bed, start my morning routine, and got my early appointment. I was determined not to let my past experiences of telling my story affect my ability to tell my story to a new doctor even if he might be another temporary doctor in my life. I came prepared this time and wrote down a cheat sheet of my past. I was even ready to give my blog website to my doctor so that he could get a better sense of who I am.
It was expected that this doctor would be seeing me but not face to face as I was told beforehand. The nurse takes you to a room with a web camera and the doctor on the screen talks to you. I was annoyed, but in changing times there is not much you can do about these things. There I was sitting in the room, and my doctor somewhere else and on a computer screen.
This was the conversation that lasted three minutes:
- “Are you taking your medication?”
- “Yes. But I was wondering about my Ativan I find myself taking extra some days. Is it possible to change my dose it used to be higher?”
- “Well, you should try and not extra. Just take your medicine as prescribed.”
- “But sometimes I have to take extra because my anxiety is high.”
- “You have to get your lithium checked so I am going to put all your medication in and I will see you in six weeks.”
That was it. Three minutes. No trying to get to know me or what makes me who I am as a mental illness. It’s like getting a quick bite at a fast food joint, you’re in and out in no time. Is that where healthcare is going? The way of the fast food? On some level there was relieved of not telling my story, but how can this doctor know what medications work and what doesn’t without asking more questions. I wanted to talk about my Ativan and a possible change in my antidepressant, and yet nothing. I walked out of there so frustrated that I came home really depressed. I got no help from this new doctor, and it really was frustrating.
I knew the process in my county’s mental health department is changing, and I know that I complained about having to tell my story. At the same time telling my story would help this doctor better understand me and all the medication that I take. It sucks on so many levels to be powerless. I can’t afford to see a private psychiatrist, and my therapist with mental health department is good and she helps me. It feels almost like a catch-22.The revolving door of psychiatrists in my life has taken an interesting turn. I guess we will see where we go from here.
The revolving door of psychiatrists in my life has taken an interesting turn. I guess we will see where we go from here.
Photo Credit: Anthony DELANOIX