This post is a reply I wrote on a depression support forum to someone who was having a bad experience with her psychiatrist. The file is dated 29th Sepember 2002 so I’m guessing it’s when I wrote it. It shares some of what I went through in 2002 and some of my history up until that point.
I talk about my first private psychiatrist, Dr S. I described him as nice and he did act nice to my face and I’m sure in general is a nice person, but he was very dishonest with me, not disclosing a major conflict of interest and made it very clear he would not be helping me with the PTSD from the abuse I was getting from the public psych hospital in the previous few months and rather chose to focus on problems he’d “been told” I had that I’d never had. I’ll write a full post about it one day.
I also talked about the first marriage counsellor my first (and only) marriage counsellor my first husband and I went to. It was so hard to get him there. I thought maybe if he heard from a counsellor that his abusive behaviour and drug use were unacceptable, he might listen. He didn’t. Our sessions would deteriorate into him and the counsellor arguing and me having to act like the professional and mediate their fights and eventually during our last appointment (I think we had maybe 3?) he stormed out, slammed the door and she told me to leave him. She was right but I still don’t think it was appropriate for a counsellor to say just give up on a marriage and leave.
Anyway, here is the post:
if you have a choice in who you see, you definitely have a right to like who you see. and even if you don’t have a choice about who you see, you have a right to be involved in your own treatment and be treated with respect.
unfortunately my luck with psychiatrists and others has been terrible. It started five years when my school guidance counsellor was told by my best friend that i was self harming. i didn’t feel comfortable with him so the school got a psychologist from the child and youth mental health service to come out and see me. she rarely let me get a word in and when i did she obviiously wasn’t listening. so i refused to see her again. several weeks later after a suicide attempt, i went to stay with a friend and didn’t go to school for a week – the school only accepted this on the condition that i go and see the child and youth mental health people again. i went to them and this time saw a social worker who was exactly the same. so after that i never saw anyone else again for five years.
Earlier this year i went to see a counsellor with my husband. all she did was deliberately make him mad so after a few weeks we stopped seeing her. not long after that i completely fell apart and as i happened to be right outside of centrelink when what made me fell apart happened, i ended up going in and talking to a social worker there. she was absolutely amazing. she comforted me. asked what was wrong. let me talk. and although she couldn’t see me again herself (it wasn’t the centrelink that is closest to me) she made sure i found someone who i could go to that was supposed to be good.
in the end that wasn’t enough and after i left her i went to my local hospital. after waiting five hours, i eventually got to see a psychiatrist who i told i was going to hurt myself and her response was to make an appointment for me in three weeks and give me one night’s supply of a med she told me was a sleeping tablet when in reality it was anti-psychotic at a dangerously high dose which basically really f***ed me up for days.
So no suprise when i went back to the hospital a week later. This time i waited about three hours or so and then a got a nurse who i told that i was going to hurt myself. She told me it was all in my head, to go away and she would speak to the psychiatrist but he probably wouldn’t see me because i didn’t need it. so no suprise, while i was waiting, i did exactly what i told the nurse i would do. at least they had no problems letting me see the psychiatrist then. all he did was send me home with zoloft and told me to wait for my appointment.
unfortunately that made me worse and i ended up back at the hospital a week later after a really severe reaction. that night i got the only psychiatrist in the whole hospital that has been nice to me. he was kind and told me my reaction was normal and wasn’t all my imagination (like the nurses had tried to tell me) and he sent me home with a new medication.
after that i started seeing a GP who was highly recommended for her counselling skills. she tried to do CBT with me but to be honest she sucked and only upset me so after seeing her weekly for about two months i never went back.
during that time i was supposed to see a psychiatrist from the hospital at the community health centre. i turned up at my first appointment to find out the hospital had told me wrong day and i had missed my appointment and had to wait another two weeks to see her. So i waited and the next time i went, she wasn’t there. so after waiting more than hour past my appointment time, they got someone else who happened to be the nice psych from the hospital. he listened to me, asked me intelligent questions, gave me a diagnosis that made sense, gave me helpful suggestiong and most of all, treated me with respect. unfortunately i have never seen him again as he was just filling in for the day.
i would have had to wait another month for my first appt with the psych assigned to me but i eventually cracked and went to the hospital and my psych (who i hadn’t met before) was on duty with the consultant psychiatrist (her boss basically). within in five minutes (of not letting me talk) they had changed my diagnosis, admitted me to hospital and i found out later they decided to try and get more daughter taken away (which was completely undeserved – i self harm, i would never hurt anyone else).
from then on, i had nothing but trouble. they refused to say why they were trying to get my daughter taken away. eventually by the end of the week i found out that they had told family services i would abuse my daughter (a complete and total lie). and even when i did get this out of them they were so nasty. after that, every time i saw either of them, they treated me like dirt. at that stage i couldn’t afford to see a private shrink and couldn’t find a good GP so i was stuck seeing them. eventually in July the psych registrar changed to a new one (since they change every six months) but the psych consultant is still the same guy.
and as long as he works for the hospital, i am still technically his patient, no matter how many times i have complained about him. he also the same **** who, after telling everyone i would abuse my daughter, has prescribed me many meds without ever finding out whether i was breastfeeding – and many of those meds could have seriously hurt my daughter if i had been. its the first time i have been happy that she is bottlefed. he is also the same jerk who refused to listen to me when i said some of those meds don’t work, refused to listen to my mum when she told him i should try what she takes because sometimes if depression is genetic, good repsonses to meds can be too, and he also wouldn’t change my meds when i had unbearable side effects – had to go my GP to do that and then the psychs all got mad at me for doing it (even though those meds have worked).
anyway, luckily i usually see the new registrar rather than him. she’s a little bit better. she lets me talk a little and is never nasty to me. but she never lets me talk about what i want to – i am not allowed to talk about my bad experiences with other psychs and in the hospital – and those are my main problems that still upset me. she also never discusses anything with me – she tells me what she’s going to do and i have to go along with it, good or bad.
luckily i have managed to find a private psychiatrist that i can afford. he is nice and i am finally able to start talking to him. so there are good psychiatrists out there.
but there are also bad ones. i have never hated anyone in my life before i met that psych consultant from the hospital. i have been abused and used by people all my life and i can forgive and forget. but that b***rd tried to take away my daughter because he was on a power trip and i can never ever forgive that.
sorry this is so long. i really hope you can find a good psychiatrist. they are few and far between but they are out there