The Revolving Doors of Psychiatrists – Part Two

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. 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.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Anthony DELANOIX

40 Replies to “The Revolving Doors of Psychiatrists – Part Two”

  1. Oh my gosh, I know I’m really lucky with the mental health system in Australia but I had no idea how lucky until I read this. We are at least entitled to hour-long appointments in the government mental health scheme. Fuck not being able to see someone face to face, or them not asking. That just strikes me as someone not doing their job.

    I get what you mean about revolving door psychiatrists and having to tell your story again and again. I’ve been through something similar since I was thirteen. Over the last few years, I’ve just been getting my GP to monitor my dosage as I can’t bring myself to repeat my story again (it doesn’t help that my last psychiatrist openly told me she didn’t believe me). It’s tough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I can’t believe your last psychiatrist told you that, that is beyond unprofessional. It is tough but to not even get a half hour is really bad. It doesn’t help the patient at all. Thank you for sharing as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stories like yours really make me want to punch the American health care system in the face. How the hell is less than half an hour meant to help you, or anyone with mental health problems for that matter? I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you. Healthcare in America is about making money not helping people. It’s not all bad my therapist is really helping me get better so it’s not all lost. But you’re right less than an half an hour or like 3-5 minutes doesn’t help anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This should be some twisted tale of the wizard of oz not how a “professional” in mental health treats a patient. I’m sorry you had to go through this.


  3. I’m sorry you got shafted by the telepsych. That sucks. Is there a midlevel you can see like a nurse practitioner in your area? They have to do an extra year just in psych to be certified as a psych NP (I’ve considered the program).

    I know midlevels are hit and miss but some are really good. AND they are face to face almost always. They generally

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure I can afford to go outside the doctors I have, my insurance allows me to use the adult system of care so I am stuck with what doctor they give me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The doctor may have had reasons for not wanting to do any changes for your meds. but he should have talked to you about it if that was the case. I had a doctor like that once, many years ago though. I stopped going to that clinic altogether, and went to my GP and told him what happened. He gave me a new referral.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe he did have his reasons. It was the first time and he was just getting to know me, at least in theory, but to not even discuss anything really bothered me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would bother me too. You are paying him to help you. If he won’t discuss the issues you have, I cannot see how that is helping.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow oh wow…that is pretty much all I can say about that! My daughter had a tele-physic or whatever you want to call them and she was good. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I also dread having to tell the “story.” It is so hard to constantly have to explain to people why we are so fucked up. Pardon my French, but when we have been lived with our problems for as long as we have, we know what’s up. If you felt like you needed a change, you should have been given the chance to explain why! This really makes me angry! 😡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is all I wanted was to start a legitimate dialogue with my new doctor. I didn’t think he would change them right then and there, but to never even discuss it bothered me so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It could be, but I am thinking its just overworked psychiatrists. So many people need help that they feel overwhelmed, and if it seems like I have a better outlook? Its hard to say.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m flabbergasted and heartbroken for you. What a very non-empathetic approach from a psychiatrist who chose a career that was meant to be built on pure empathy. No one should have to feel undervalued, especially not in a setting such as that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same way. Thanks for you concerns. It’s the unfortunate reality of health care now. I see it happening a lot within mental health especially. They just want you to continue taking the medication without dialogue.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry that your new psychiatrist “met” with you by phone. I can’t even believe that he had the nerve to do that! How utterly impersonal. You mentioned that you can’t afford a private psychiatrist, but is there any way to change doctors in the current system you’re in?


  8. I haven’t been reading your blog for long so I’m not yet familiar with how you use words – but I can say we are always our own best counsel.

    It’s been experience that when my mind shares notes from my subconscious – I listen.

    You mentioned Newton’s third law of motion – “for every action there is an equal yet opposite reaction” so think of how it relates to ice-skating – when you push back you move forward. It seems your inner voice is advising you to push back so you can move forward.

    Now, only you know who you must push back …but it’s my belief it’s our first voice that has the right advice for our progress. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh that’s terrible. I can totally sympathise and understand how it feels not being ‘heard’. After moving to my area seven years ago, I have only just now finally found someone I click with, who gets my issues and for the first time in years, can see a light at the end of the tunnel and BELIEVES they can help me. Best wishes and I hope things improve for you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is absolutely ridiculous not being able to see a doctor face to face. Going to appointments can be hard enough, and then having a doctor acknowledge your concerns makes it worse. You should be able to sit there and discuss everything without having to worry about a time limit. I am now in need of a new doctor because mine is no longer in my network, and $150 A visit is killing me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes this really is a horrible thing but I have to keep moving forward. Thank you, I am still working on style when it comes to my blog posts.


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