Friday, November 11, 2011

Interviewing Shrinks

It's 5 am, and unfortunately for me, I've been awake since 3. I fell asleep at 7:30, and my body clock is all out of whack - as per usual, my bipolar brain is fighting my attempts to get a regular sleep schedule down. The plus side: more uninterrupted time for blogging!

Last week I had my first visit with the second of two psychiatrists I've seen in the region. The first is an eminent guy at a famous university. Let's call him Dr. Schmidt. He's a colleague of my grandfather's (my grandfather is a well-known Australian psychiatrist who's written a number of books on child psychiatry). Dr. Schmidt is a child psychiatrist, but he agreed to see me as a favor to my grandfather to give a second opinion and referrals to other docs. He's the guy who referred me to the psychiatrist I saw last week - let's call him Dr. Dumas.

I didn't like Dr. Dumas, but because I was so damn tired I was completely sedated through our first interview, and I didn't get a chance to interview him the way I wanted to. I'm at the point where I've seen enough different shrinks to know what I like and what I don't, and I don't want to see a guy I dislike, or with whom I disagree about important stuff. I'm hoping that, on a second visit, Dr. Dumas will improve. Here's what I didn't like about him:

1. His office was a total mess. Piled high with books, food, papers, all the way to the ceiling. Very uncomfortable to be in, very weird to be in. Bespeaks a disorganized mind - I'm frequently messy, too, especially when I'm doing poorly.

2. He swore, a lot, inexplicably. I think he works mostly with adolescents, and maybe it's an affectation he's picked up, trying to impress the kids with how "down" he is. Whatever his reason, there's no excuse for a shrink saying, of my side-effects, "That fucking sucks."

3. On a related note, he treated me weirdly as a child. For instance, he insisted on showing me magic tricks with a deck of cards. Why on earth should I care? What's the point? How does it relate to my treatment?

4. I just got a bad vibe. Harder to explain, but everything from his messy office to his ugly bowtie made me feel uncomfortable with him.

5. Finally, he prescribed me benzodiazepines for zleep. If I'd been more alert, I would have insisted- HELL NO! I'm not taking /anything/ with the possibility of drug dependence. HELL NO!

It might all be me, but I doubt it. During the meeting I have with him today I'll try to hash out what his treatment plan might look like, what his goals are, and what his methods might be. I'll ask him about his training and his affiliations.

And I expect him to get snippy about it. Doctors are used to being treated with unquestioning respect, and it's hard, as a patient, to convince your doctors to treat you with any respect at all as an educated consumer. Doctors don't like the consumer model of health care, and it has its problems, but I'd much rather be empowered through the consumer model than not at all.

I have no idea what the therapist I'm seeing this morning is going to be like. I was referred to this guy by Dr. Dumas, so I hope he's alright and not a weirdo, because it was hard enough getting an interview with him.

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