Dear Patient

Dear patients,

Stigma is ever present when it comes to mental health, but I feel that it needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed over and over and over. I have never been so proud to sound like a broken record. I got into health care to break stigmas. I didn’t want patients to feel like their needs and concerns weren’t heard. I didn’t want patients to feel like they were being judged. Honest to God, I don’t judge a single patient.

I don’t judge you for having multiple partners.

I don’t judge you for being on Medicaid.

I don’t judge you because you are gay.

I don’t judge you for your addictions.

I judge people based on their character and I won’t apologize. Don’t be a shitty human. The end.

I have to say something about my experiences because I hope that it breaks the stigma of health care and mental health. I do not get up before daylight and work a 12 hour shift for the money. I don’t sit and listen to other people’s issues at some of the most vulnerable time in their lives for money. 99% of people in health care are there because they truly want to make a positive impact. We ask the same question to every single patient over the age of 12. “In the past two weeks have you been feeling down, hopeless, or depressed?”

I get so many different answers but few anger me, disgust me, and make me forget why I am in the field I am in. I want to scream at you.

It isn’t funny, don’t laugh.

It isn’t something you can jokingly say, “yes, all the time” to.

There are so many people who burst into tears as they admit that yes, yes they do feel this way. It is okay to feel this way. “I’m glad you’re here today.” That is what I say. That is what someone told me, and that is what I will say to every single person who is strong enough to say what is most certainly a hard thing to say out loud. Today, I had to out myself. I am an open book and if you ask I will tell. I don’t walk around telling people I have bipolar. I pretend. I tell half truths.

“I couldn’t sleep.” And I stayed up until 4 AM compulsively making nonsensical lists that didn’t need to be made.

“I am just not feeling it today.” I barely got out of bed and forced myself to shower after three days of not doing so.

“I’m just not talkative.” I am afraid I am going to explode on you so I am choosing silence.

Today, I did none of that. Today, I told my coworkers that I have a mental illness, I struggle to function a lot of the time, I am just like that patient you called crazy, and I am sick of hearing them talk about people I relate to so much. Your doctor’s office is a safe space. An asylum where you can be open, honest, and seek help. Shame on them, not us. Today, I was someone I do not know. I hope you know that I am honored that you trust me. I am a safe haven. I will never downplay your concerns, symptoms, or feelings. You are someone’s parent, child, sibling, best friend, or coworker. I will treat you as I want myself and those I love to be treated. Without you, I would not have a purpose or a job.

Even the assholes who choose to believe that you are immune to depression.

Please don’t be ashamed. I am at times, but never too ashamed to ask for help.

Forever your biggest advocate,

Bailey

P.S. I have an appointment tomorrow with a new health care provider. Let’s hope she is one of the good ones.

Advertisements

14 Replies to “Dear Patient”

  1. Thank you for a post like this on The Bipolar Writer blog because it gives a very different perspective than what you see here. Thank you for being a part of this great thing we are creating. Ending the stigma is my goal in life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for allowing me to share here. It helps me as much as it helps others. I can’t speak for everyone but I find it so uplifting that others can share their experiences in both management of mental illness and the downfalls. Love the community we have and love that you built a safe place for it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Why can’t we allow ourselves the freedom to have mood swings, feel irritated, sorrow and remorse without a doctor’s diagnosis? And stigmas are effectuated by the those who feel displeased or conflicted within themselves.

    We are feeling beings. When shit changes, we change—laughter, crying, apathy, excitement…it is okay.

    Great Post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also work in mental health care, and the sense that I get is that a substantial chunk of those who want to make a positive impact are considering it from their own perspective rather than the patient’s. So I think it’s so important that those of us in the professional/patient category speak up to break down those divides.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I suffer from anxiety and I often wonder how it is that a therapist can endlessly listen to one person after another, whine, cry, get angry and spew out their problems like there’s no stop plug? Are they super-human? Are they immune to emotions? Do they see us as just numbers and a chart? How do they cope? How do they go home at night and sleep, nevermind eat? They also have to get therapy I’ve been told by one of them. They need somewhere to dump their feelings, thoughts and emotions as well. Yet, day in and day out, they return to their jobs, doing what we need and they do it with a welcoming tone. Best wishes that your new therapist is a good one!

    Like

    1. I think that the same can be said for any job. It’s a passion. Some people can do it and others can’t. They are angels. That’s for sure.

      Like

  5. Hi. I know what you mean. I was a psych RN and I have a few mental illnesses. At my own risk, I have told patients about my MI. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s