She Will Shake Away The World

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 19, 2019

(My seven-year-old daughter was recently tested for ADHD, which means she and I have to go back to the psychiatrist’s office two weeks later to review the results. While I am talking with the psychiatrist, my daughter is sitting on the floor playing with an Etch-a-Sketch. The psychiatrist is explaining to me that although my daughter does now have an ADHD diagnosis, she wasn’t able to specify a subtype. Specifically, the tests are less accurate with exceptionally bright children because if a task is designed to take ten minutes but the child solves the problem in two, the test is only able to measure two minutes’ worth of attention span instead of the ten it was supposed to.)

Psychiatrist: “So, it’s clear that your daughter’s brain is working on a different level than her teacher expects–”

Daughter: *interrupting* “Mom, look! Can you guess what I drew?”

(She’d gotten almost the entire Etch-a-Sketch screen to be black.)

Me: “Um… a black bear at night?”

Daughter: “MOM. No, it’s the void! And now I’m going to magically make the void disappear…” *shakes Etch-a-Sketch* “There, now I’ve deleted that dimension.”

Psychiatrist: “So, as I was saying… different level.”

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You’ll Stress-Knit A Whole Outfit At This Point

, , , , , | Healthy | August 1, 2018

(I’m waiting to see my psychiatrist for a medication check-up. This office schedules meds appointments in fifteen-minute blocks; they’re a quick in-and-out to make sure the meds are working before the prescription is refilled. I arrive five minutes before my appointment and am told I’m seeing a new doctor. I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t tell me this when the appointment was being set up — my father works in the mental health field and I’m uncomfortable being seen by his coworkers — but whatever; maybe my regular doctor is out sick. So, I go to the waiting room. And wait. And wait. At twenty minutes past my appointment time — so, five minutes after it is supposed to be over — I hear the receptionists chatting. They say something about the new doctor having computer problems. Okay, stuff happens. Forty minutes past my appointment time, the person who is waiting before me gets into a shouting match with the receptionists about how late things are running. I’m frustrated too, but an extra person yelling won’t change anything, and I have plenty of time, so I keep waiting. Finally, fifty minutes after my scheduled time, a harried-looking man calls my name and introduces himself as the doctor. I’m expecting him to apologize for the delay, or offer an explanation, or anything. Nope. He doesn’t say a word until we get to his office. Now my appointment starts in earnest.)

Doctor: “So, do think you’re depressed?”

Me: *pause* “This appointment is literally to treat my diagnosed depression, so, um, yeah.”

(He doesn’t respond at all to this. He doesn’t even look at me. He has a walking desk, so he’s power-walking in place while he types on his computer. And he keeps typing. For almost ten minutes. I almost stand up and walk out. But I’ve already been here forever, I don’t want to have to do this all again, and I need my meds refilled. So, I take out my knitting and work on that for a bit.)

Doctor: “Do you want to keep taking [Medication #1] and [Medication #2]?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

(He types for a few more minutes.)

Doctor: “I’ve sent in the prescriptions for those. I’ll see you again in five months.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(I get up to leave.)

Doctor: “Wow! You’re so fast at knitting! What are you making?”

Me: “A sweater. Bye.”

(I was at that office for over an hour, but in the appointment for less than fifteen minutes. He said almost nothing to me, and half of what he did say was about knitting. And when I went to the pharmacy, only one of the prescriptions had actually been sent over!)

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A Depressing Statistic

, , , , | Healthy | March 7, 2018

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

(I have severe ADD and take Ritalin. I have been seeing a psychiatrist every six months for over a decade because it’s necessary to keep my prescription up, but normally we don’t do anything else. He asks me if I’m having side effects, I say no, he asks how school, work, or whatever is going, I tell him, he writes me a new prescription, and we’re done.)

Doctor: “And how are your classes going?”

Me: “Pretty well, except for this one lab where the whole grade is based on group work and my groupmates have disappeared…”

(I’m very frustrated with my classmates, and as I explain the problem with the lab, I start crying.)

Doctor: “Here, take these tissues! I had no idea you were so depressed. I’m going to prescribe you some medicine, and I want you to come back in a week for a follow-up.”

Me: “What? No, I’m just sleep-deprived! Your office is an hour from my house, and you get behind schedule so fast that my mom insists I book an appointment at seven am. I had to get up at 5:30 to be here! I’m a night owl; I get up at 10 or 11 if I don’t have anything I have to do earlier. I always cry too easily when I’m tired.”

(He doesn’t believe me and prescribes the medication, anyway. A week later, I’m back in his office.)

Doctor: “How are you feeling? If we need to, we can adjust the dosage before your next follow-up next week.”

Me: “Fine, like I was before, when I had slept. I know antidepressants take a while to kick in, but I don’t think these are ever going to affect me, because I’m not depressed. And I really can’t afford to keep experimenting with them; you know I don’t have insurance.”

Doctor: “I tried to find the cheapest antidepressants I could. I thought these were only about $10 a bottle.”

Me: “Come here. I want to tell you a secret.”

(He comes closer.)

Me: “You know those nice ladies behind the window in your lobby? They make people give them money before we can talk to you.”

(It had never occurred to him that visiting a psychiatrist every week instead of every six months might be a little pricey! I went off the antidepressants and am fine, as long as I don’t have to get up before dawn. Doctors, I know that lots of people really are depressed and it’s a serious problem, but people also know their own bodies, minds, and situations. It helps to listen.)

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Doesn’t Have 20/20 Psychiatry

, | Healthy | December 7, 2017

(I’ve suffered from mental health issues since I was young, but I wasn’t able to do anything about it because my family has issues believing that mental illness is real. A few years ago, while I was in college, things got really bad so I finally tried to tell my parents about it. It took a few months of frustration and arguing, but I eventually managed to convince them it was actually an issue. They found a psychiatrist I could see and I was excited at first. I thought I’d be able to get some help! I’d hardly walked in the door before I realized there would be a problem.)

Psychiatrist: *shaking my hand* “So, how old are you?”

Me: “I’m turning 20 next month.”

Psychiatrist: *laughs* “20? You’re far too young to have any problems! Why are you even here?”

Me: “Young or not, I actually do have a lot of symptoms I’m worried about.”

(I hand her a list I’d made of symptoms I’d been struggling with, including some rather severe ones. She sets it aside after barely glancing at it.)

Psychiatrist: “Why don’t you just tell me about yourself? Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Um… no, I don’t?”

Psychiatrist: “Why don’t we talk about that. It might be causing some of your ‘issues.’”

(It was only downhill from there. She dismissed all my symptoms, including my suicidal ideation and dissociation, as nothing more than school stress or lacking a boyfriend. I was told I just needed to get out of the house more often and make a few friends, something my parents insisted was a cure-all as well. Ever since that day, nothing I’ve said has been able to convince them otherwise. The only reason I’ve improved at all — and mostly stopped being suicidal — is because of my college’s psychologist. I’d only found out there was a doctor on campus afterwards, and after meeting him, he was shocked I’d managed to make it as far as I had without any help at all. I’m living back at home now that I’ve graduated, only until I can find work, but he helped me immensely while I was still enrolled. I don’t think I would have survived school without his help.)

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Will Need A Therapist After This Service

, | Working | February 19, 2016

(I’ve been suffering a serious lack of motivation, excitement, and other generally positive emotions recently, so I decide to see if I could get prescribed some anti-depressants, or something of the sort to help me start functioning. Being a person with relatively bad anxiety, I decide to try to contact my old psychiatrist that I had when I was being given ADHD medicine. After a bit of contact, I learn that since it’s been over a year since I last saw him, I qualify as a new patient, and am told he’s not taking new clients. However, the lady on the phone offered to send him an email, seeing if he might be willing to make an exception. Understanding that it was no guarantee, and that it was even unlikely, I accepted. About a day later, I receive a call from the psychiatrist’s office, this time from a different, older sounding woman.)

Secretary #2: “I’m calling [My Name] about a request to see [Psychiatrist]? I’m sorry, but I’m afraid he’s not taking new clients at this time. Would you like to schedule to see another of our doctors?”

(I’m a bit upset, but I understood from the beginning my chances of getting back in were low. I politely decline for the time being, intending to look more into the other doctors before picking one. About two days later, I get another call. This time, it’s from the secretary I originally spoke to, who offered to send the email.)

Secretary #1: “Hi. [My Name], I’m calling back about your appointment request for [Psychiatrist]. He hasn’t gotten back to reply yet, as he only comes in a couple days a week. Would you like to keep waiting, or go ahead and try another doctor?”

Me: *confused* “I thought he wasn’t taking new patients? I got a call telling me he wasn’t going to see me…”

Secretary #1: “Yes, disregard that. Sorry for the confusion. She didn’t see the note I left her. Your reply is still pending. Would you like to keep waiting?”

(I eagerly agree, glad that I hadn’t already scheduled an appointment. Again, about another day later, I get a call, again from the older woman from the first callback.)

Secretary #2: “Yes, I’m calling again to tell [My Name] that [Psychiatrist] is not taking any new patients.”

(Since the wording is so similar to the first time, I explain that I had an email sent and was waiting for a reply.)

Secretary #2: “Yes, I saw that. Unfortunately, he’s already incredibly booked and we’re lucky we have him the few days we do. He is not taking any new patients; this is an order from his boss. Would you like to schedule with another doctor?”

(Thinking this as final, I decline again since I’m nearing tears of disappointment. We hang up, and I start looking up other psychiatrists. However, again, a day later…)

Secretary #1: “Yes, I’m calling back about [Psychiatrist]. He has agreed to see you, so long as you agree to first make an appointment with one of our psychologists to get diagnosed.”

(I’m shocked.)

Me: “Really?! I was told that there was no way I was allowed; he had orders from his superior…”

Secretary #1: “Well, I apologize for the confusion, but I can assure you he has agreed. Will you come in for a counseling session?”

(I agreed, and we set up an appointment. Since neither secretary gave me their name, I couldn’t file a complaint about the one who, for seemingly no reason, was rather desperate to keep me from seeing the doctor I was comfortable with. Oh, well.)

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