Today, I saw the crisis team psychiatrist… it didn’t go well.
He showed me to the interview room, with this pleasant, eager young woman following in his wake. I was a little puzzled about her presence, but had a sneaking suspicion that she was a training psychiatrist come to sit in on the interview. Having had this before, I knew that they always asked if it was acceptable for the trainee to sit in, at which point I was ready to politely decline her being there.
We entered the room, and he sat down briefly, flipped through my file, noticing that there weren’t any blank pages, so left to get some. Saying over his shoulder to the eager young woman (who had scooted her chair up to the desk), to introduce herself. She was incredibly polite, saying that she was a trainee nurse. When the psychiatrist returned, I asked if she was studying at the same institution where I worked – she nodded eagerly. I asked that she not be present as I worked there and didn’t want to discuss the issues I was facing in front of a student from the same institution. His immediate reaction… “But, she’s here for my safety”.
Apparently I look like someone who would either physically attack this old man, or scream sexual harassment.
What was interesting, was that at no point did he consider my safety.
His compromise, was to sit the student in the corridor just outside of the office with the door wide open. It was a busy corridor. At one point a woman stood at the doorway for over a minute trying to close an adjoining door – while loudly talking about her inability to do so.
Then there was the interview…
“So you didn’t show up for an appointment last week with Dr X”
“No, I’ve shown up for every appointment that has been made for me”
“Accusation number 2”
“No, I took care of myself”
“Accusation number 3”
“No, that didn’t happen”
So it went on… “What’s your mood level?” “How are you sleeping?” “What drugs are you taking?” “How much and how many have you got left?” “What do you want?” “Why are you here?”
Then it got worse. “I’ll prescribe X drug”. I asked what that was… he went into a long description about how benzos are addictive and their effect diminishes over time. He didn’t actually tell me what the new drug was, just how bad my current medication is. When I asked what the new drug would do, he said it would calm me down. I asked about another drug that I’d been recommended, and he scoffed. Saying that’s an anti-psychotic and that I’m depressed; and they only give that drug as injections up at the hospital anyway.
As I’d checked about the use of the drug before going into the appointment, I knew that it was also used for PTSD symptoms – my main problem at the moment; so I knew he was wrong about it’s use. But I didn’t correct him… he was not a person to be corrected.
We’d started the interview pretty low, but this crushed us. We crumpled. I asked if it was ok to leave, he said yes; so we got up, thanked him for his time and left. As we were doing so, he flipped my file shut with a sigh and leaned back on his chair.
I know I didn’t handle the situation well… I know I should’ve taken the drugs he was offering… but I couldn’t cope.
When I got back to work, I put my things down and told my cynical friend that I thought I was going to cry… we went into a spare meeting room and it all came out. How I dissociate, how unsafe I am, everything… She contacted the work place therapist who sat with me for an hour talking about things. When I described the appointment to him, his comment was… “Yes, the psychiatrist had done his job. He’d mentioned all the right things in all the right ways; but he didn’t care what happened beyond his vision of what you were and needed”.
It was this therapist who gave me the two creative expressions that I put up here today. I decided to remove one, as although parts of it were powerful, the potential for triggering someone outweighed those benefits.
I’m still at a loss as to what I can do. The birthday has now past, and that seems to have eased things internally. I’m back at work, and that has forced a level of functioning. I also have my cat back home… that always makes life good.