What The Mental Healthcare Professionals Don’t Tell You

THEY JUST DON’T KNOW.

We’re taught to respect doctors because they’re educated, they’re experienced, science is science…But when it comes to mental healthcare, for every one thing that’s been learned over the last hundred years, there’s a dozen of questions they still have no answers for. A lot of counselors and psychiatrists do NOT admit this to patients. And the ones who do, downplay it because they have their precious DSM that tells them which cluster of symptoms qualifies you for a disorder.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Meaning, lots of research of lots of people and a consensus on what the masses suffer which qualifies as disorder A, B, C, D. It is not the least bit comforting to know when I talk to a psych professional, I am little more than one more number, one more statistic. Not an individual. Not someone with different genetics, physiology, different past experiences that left an imprint. Nope. Just. A. Statistic.

Also not publicized by the professionals are their own personal experiences, biases, beliefs. Some still use rorschach tests and consider it combative if you tell them it looks like someone spilled ink on paper. Some are old school and think Freud had legitimate points rather than just some sort of obsession with phallic symbols and mommy. Some are against medications. Some do nothing but push pills and “hope” a counselor keeps you from killing yourself. It’s a mixed bag, and for many of us, we’re kind of stuck with what we can get when you consider the average cost of a ten minute med check is over a hundred dollars.

This means we are also stuck with whatever their issues are, their beliefs, their experiences. If they knew a string a patients who were faking it or simply addicted to substances and creating their own mental issues…YOU get stuck with that, no right to individuality. Mental healthcare professionals are HUMAN. They go into the field for the right reasons for the most part, but make no mistake. THEY ARE JUST AS FUCKED UP AS THE REST OF US. Your male doctor might have issues with females and objectivity can be tainted by such feelings. Your female counselor may hate brunettes and not take you as seriously as a blonde client. That psychologist with all the alphabets behind their name, all the experience and beaming smile…may think all mental illness is behavioral and treat you as such.

It’s easy to feel doomed so most just choose not to think of the reality of what I am saying. And I get it. We’re programmed from an early age that questioning those in authority- doctors, cops, et al- is some sort of defiance issue. But it’s all a case of “who watches the watchmen.” If you don’t question your doctor and stand up for yourself, who will advocate for you? I’m not talking defiance for no reason. But if you don’t feel you are being listened to, you have EVERY right to speak up. Few of us would put up with a rude, dismissive cashier at the store. Yet none of us think twice when deferring to doctors and such.

Professionals may have the education, the training, the experience…But they are fallible, same as we are. Which is why it’s important to SPEAK UP. And if the doctor brushes you off, speak up louder. I’m that situation right now with my doctor. He is insisting Trileptal is the right choice over my faithful Lamictal and I do not agree. The trileptal has made me feel as bad as Lithium, which was the whole point in switching to Lamictal. Did he think raise the dose? Nope. Just toss out the flavor of the week mood stabilizer. I am shocked by how many people are on Trileptal and yet this is my first doctor to ever even mention it to me. Which means…along with the Latuda and Seroquel, the flavor of the week has changed. Because the STATISTICS say X amount of people respond better to this than the others. Not because Z works better for patient Morgue. Nope. Flavor.Of. The. Weak.(Not a misspell.)

I have no intention of caving in to this doctor. I will speak up because I’ve proven to myself part of my problem is Trileptal. Does this make it a bad medication? Hell, no, lots of people respond very well, have no problems, and it helps. But for me, if side effects prove to be a hindrance and the medication doesn’t work so well…Deal breaker, even if the doctor is the expert. Because none of his education and experience entitle him to know me better than I know myself. I am a patient of mental healthcare. I am not feeble minded, lacking in intelligence, and unable to gauge when things are worse rather than better. Will he listen? Who knows. But I am to the point where I’d rather go off all meds than take Trileptal. I was blaming the Latarda aftermath but the last couple of weeks of nightmares and numbness, feeling disconnected…I don’t care if three million people surveyed didn’t experience it, I AM.

It’s insulting, really, to be put through this living hell because psychiatry is an inexact science. Twenty years ago, I was on Effexor for almost a year. It quit working. My doctor told me to just stop taking it. I started coming unglued, hallucinating. I called his office. They insisted it was my imagination, there’s no withdrawal from anti depressants.

Nowadays, tapering off SSRI’s is common because they do know there can be withdrawal in some patients.

My new doctor, unfortunately, is of the mind that there’s no withdrawal from SSRI’s and you can take your dose once a day at any time and the levels in your blood will remain the same. Which is at odds with what the ten doctors before him said. And honestly, I like his way better, I suck at remembering to do this at 8 a.m., that at noon, this at five, that atten pm…Once a day works for me. But am I getting the full benefit? Mind you, this is the one who said Latuda had very few side effects, suicidal thoughts wasn’t one of them, and there was no aftermath. Once again, it’s based on STATISTICS. I just happened to be one of the unfortunate souls who reacted outside those stats and was basically told I made it all up. This doctor is super nice, friendly, not a jerk at all. Yet I find myself questioning his medical advice. Not out of disrespect, but out of my own research and experience. I don’t think this guy is even ten years younger than me, which means in spite of his education and all…I’ve got ten more years experience living with mental illness and treating it.

I have a right to be skeptical, to have concerns, to ask questions, to do my own research. Because while he may be a wonderful human being and a great doctor for the statistics…It doesn’t make him one that is going to help me. Do I hold it against him? No. Doctors are entitled to be individuals, have their own beliefs, biases, and operate within the nicely wrapped box of the DSM and the cases they’ve treated. I think I’m giving him more benefit of the doubt than he’s giving me or else I wouldn’t walk out feeling like I’m somehow troubling him by not caving to his every edict. He has the experience and statistics to go by. I have only my own personal experience. Until you’ve fallen victim to the horrendous side effects experienced by too few to be considered “serious”…You don’t really know, you’re just guessing based on numbers and studies.

The point of this post is…Remember doctors are only human. They make mistakes, have biases, and your best interest is often just the party line. Psychiatry doesn’t really know how the brain works so intricately as far as mental illness goes. You can’t expect an expert on what is essentially a guessing game. What you can do is, be an advocate for yourself. Speak up. If you’re not being heard, speak up more loudly. And if that doesn’t work, reach out to the staff, the nurses, receptionists. I did and it got their attention. I don’t regret it. Rather being a number, I suddenly became a name with a voice who wasn’t going to be quashed.

I wish this post were better written, filled with studies and facts and numbers. Actually, I don’t. Because we get enough of all that from our “treatment”. This post is one individual’s point of view. Because we are allowed to have one even if our years of mental healthcare tries to deny us of one with threats of non compliance and being “irrational.” So repost this anywhere you think it needs to be heard. We are the patients, but we are also the ones PAYING for their services. That does not include rudeness, dismissal, or having to accept their treatment making us worse as opposed to better.

Speak up. Be heard. Politely. Calmly. Leave the sporks at home.

 

 

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8 Responses to “What The Mental Healthcare Professionals Don’t Tell You”

  1. After watching three of my friends go to medical school I can testify that they’re (doctors) not the smartest people ever nor do they deserve extra respect for the hardship they endured going to school for this. If anything I’m 100% more fearful of them seeing my friends go through med school. I thought it was truly tougher and more challenging but apparently they don’t even remember half of it by the time they graduate and just constantly refer to books and research when it comes time to choose treatment plans. Except if you’re an old ass doctor who has already developed a “sure” method for treating shit. Heaven forbid anyone tells them there are better options and questions their often mediocre intellect on it.

    Or maybe I especially hate doctors today for being fuckers.

    • I hate all doctors because I grew up watching shit like Trapper John M>D. and Mash, thinking doctors were these kind people who want to help you. Experience taught me the opposite and I’m still seething because it never really changes.

      On Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:59 AM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:

      >

  2. As a mental health professional, I applaud you for saying this. Yes, we are all human with our own biases. I echo your message….we cannot help if we don’t know what our clients are feeling or experiencing. Be honest. Be direct. Be assertive if you don’t feel heard. If you are seeing any mental health professional who does not welcome this, find someone else!

    • Thank you for the input. I’ve been told I am too direct which could be a result of the bipolar, or it could just be that I am tired of being dismissed. It’s good to hear encouragement, for me as well as others, to speak up, by someone in the field.

  3. This is so true–many psychiatrists (I won’t rant on counselors) have no idea how many lives they are ruining. My latest post would correlate with this one well. The DSM-V is where all of our labels come from; major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, personality disorders–WE ARE LABELED BY THESE PEOPLE FROM A PURPLE BOOK. My topic is on how much worse life will get once you hop on the pharmaceutical train, and according to most people I know (and I’d like to say I know it the most), it doesn’t stop. They are merely licensed drug dealers, which don’t care how much you suffer from their synthesized “happiness.” It’s a lie–all of it.

    “So you feel content with the dose you’re on? Let’s up it to 30.”

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