Tomorrow, two p.m., I have an appointment with my psychiatrist. It will be my last.
Those of you who have kept up with my personal blog know that we have had other last appointments before. But this one will be IT, because I have decided I cannot ever trust him again (he manipulated me into ECT and my own personal Hell ensued), and he has decided he wants to take on a less complicated caseload. Simple, even ‘less complicated’ doesn’t apply to me in any aspect of my life.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? The big deal is this. I have never changed psychiatrists before. I’m sure most of you reading this have been through many, but I had one before this doctor, whom I disliked and decided not to continue to see, and I had one after I fired this doctor (the story as to why we still see each other is very, ahem, complicated), whom I disliked and decided not to continue to see.
I’ve had loads of consults and seen other psychiatrists during my present treatment, but I’ve never had to break in a new one. It took me half a decade to break this one in, so you can understand my ambivalence. I don’t yet even have a new shrink lined up, because all of the good doctors aren’t taking new patients, and all of the doctors taking new patients aren’t any good. Apparently in the entire western region of the United States. Or at least anywhere I could drive on less than a tank of gas.
This should be fun. I can do a whole series on my experiences with people who want to f*** with my head. And no, I am not in any way cynical about the practice of psychiatry.
Point being, if I were rushing off into a sea of professionals who were not only competent, but understood my unique issues, I wouldn’t be concerned. These unique issues are as follows.
- I have tried all of the drugs psychiatrists use and don’t, in all of their combinations and their highest dosages, and they have failed. The very few that have succeeded have landed me in the emergency room. I have extensive notes detailing all of this, but I’m the patient, so that isn’t worth much.
- My very unusual drug metabolism. My primary refers to me (and has for years) as “a metabolic mystery.” Most doctors will think I’m full of crap when I tell them what I’m on and what I have taken and then see me walking upright, on balance, in stilettos.
- The fact that I have had my trust so profoundly violated in the past. I didn’t trust doctors before that experience, I trust them even less now.
- My knowledge and intelligence and ability to comprehend. Yes, I’m listing this as something that will work against me with a doctor. A very good, very rare doctor will see this as an asset. I have had one, in all of my life. Most doctors, especially psychiatrists, just view this as a threat to their authority.
- Which brings us to my final, major problem. The fact that I spit on the idea that having the letters M.D. after your name automatically makes you special. You have to earn my respect, it doesn’t come with the title.
Of course there’s another problem, but it’s going to be the psychiatrist’s: When I dig my heels in (and I have a pervasive tendency to do so when it comes to any aspect of my health), you’ll make more progress banging your head against a brick wall than you will trying to change my mind.
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I’ve moved around the country a lot because of employment so I’ve had to find doctors everywhere. I have been very lucky to find some real gems and I basically “fire” the ones I don’t like. (I wish I could get my money back!) If I am starting from scratch (no doctor in any field), I do a search online. There are several places to look and I never use just one site! At some point, you have to take a leap of faith.
That said, you are in an advantageous position in that you have a primary care doctor. Do you trust this person’s opinion? If so, then do what I did: I printed out a list of doctors who take my insurance, handed it to my PC and asked her to pick out a psychiatrist. (I also had her pick a therapist too – she even ranked them in order of who she thought would be most compatible.) Your primary care may even be willing to help you get in to see a good doctor. It’s amazing what red tape a doctor can unravel when motivated.
Of course, you could just walk into your psychiatrist’s office tomorrow and do the same thing.
LOL, Monday, you’re funny! I did actually give him a list, and he marked it with the doctors he knew and liked, and put a little mark next to the ones he thought I might clash with, personality-wise. So thanks!
Now I just have to start making phone calls and see who is taking new patients and pretty much “interview” them. Oy.
Late to the party.
Anyway, originally when I started to reply to this post days ago, I was going on about my experience with psychiatrists. I have been to about a half a dozen in the Pittsburgh area in just about a year. There were only two Pdocs I liked and only one that fit. Hence, I drive 15 miles just to see him. It’s a major inconvenience, but whatever, I’m getting quality care.
I would say that just go into the evaluation and if you don’t get a good vibe, then don’t go with them. You’ll know it when it feels right. Besides, if you don’t like a doc, just drop them and start again, even though it’s a total pain in the rear.
I’m working on it. I prefer not to invest much time in a doctor unless I feel we can truly work together, because as I said, it took me five years to break in this one. It’s not going to be particularly easy to find one who will prescribe benzos for mania and weight loss pills for depression, but those are my best options.
Also, one thing I will miss about my current doctor is the way he got me samples. I was on the newest, most expensive drugs for months at a time, without paying a cent (well aside from for my office visits), because he would flood me with samples.
There might be another one! And maybe this one will be ever better!
One can only hope.
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. . .”
Knowing you as I do, I know that this is going to be a much more time consuming and difficult process than it would be for most people, but remember that this is one of those seemingly vanishing areas in life where the reward is equal to the effort put into the task.
Oh, and try not to make too many doctors cry. 😛