Today I want to share another chapter, one that has been featured as a blog on The Bipolar Writer but I have since changed it into a chapter. This chapter is part of a series that will be a part of my memoir. The revolving door of psychiatrists has been an ongoing issue as I am a part of the “system of behavioral health.” I hope you enjoy and if you have any feedback, please let me know.
My Revolving Door of Psychiatrists – Part One
I must walk through those doors again. These doors hold my memories not long forgotten.
In the ten years since my diagnosis, there has been a revolving door of psychiatrists in my life. Each has brought different things to my diagnosis. I decided to write this because it is a topic that I felt was important to talk about in my memoir. One thing that has always haunted me in the many psychiatrist changes over the years is that one thing you still must do when changing a psychiatrist— tell your story again and again— from the very beginning.
Anyone who has switched psychiatrists can understand this plight. For those who don’t have to deal with the issue is having to drudge up old memories that you would rather stay dead, I envy you. I am in the adult system of care in my local county, and I have been there since my diagnosis. Over the years every doctor has taken notes (a few times in my life I got ahold of my medical records) so why can’t they just read about my history? It can be very frustrating!
I get it at some level. My medical history is quite long, and the journey was not always pretty. But having to talk about my past suicides, my anxiety, my issues with sleep, and everything else that is a problem with me, can take an emotional toll even for one session. Then having to do it more than once can be a daunting task.
The revolving door of my psychiatrists started when the psychiatrist that first treated me at the adult system of care called Behavior Health left in 2012. I first met this doctor in January 2008 a few weeks after my first suicide attempt. What was great about this doctor was that over the years he treated my symptoms with medications, alternative medicine, and with cognitive behavioral therapy. It was this psychiatrist that helped me get to a better place by 2012 and gave me the foundation to get through some tough times. I started school just as he was leaving in 2012.
Since then I have seen close to ten different psychiatrists, and my depression cycles during time have been the deepest in the darkness. Some of the psychiatrists were a single session and also temporary. These psychiatrists still asked me to tell my story, and then they would refill my medication. That would be the end of that psychiatrist.
The funniest was in the past year where I talked to psychiatrists on the computer, which entirely takes the face-to-face out of the equation. I am starting to realize that this might be the future of treating people with mental illness, on a computer with the psychiatrist somewhere else. It’s strange that we long for human connection in the mental health community and yet they are taking it from us.
There have been a three, of what I believed at the time to be permanent, psychiatrists that helped me along with my journey to get me to today. One psychiatrist with Behavior Health got me to see a therapist for the first time in my journey, and she has been the only mainstay over the last three years. The second psychiatrist who I spent about eight months with just up and left one day.
The last “permanent” psychiatrist so far in my journey has been useful but, for some odd reason, decided to take a sabbatical for a year recently. I have no idea when or if he is coming back. So, I am back to the revolving door of psychiatrists once again.
That is where I find myself at this moment. I saw another temporary doctor a couple of months ago, and it looks like there will be a new one when my next appointment comes around. It’s tough for because I am affected by my depression more during the fall and winter months. This new doctor could prescribe new anti-depressants (my anti-depressants always seem to change during this time of year, and in the years past.) The worst part—I will once again have to tell my story.
I think that is one of the reasons I am writing this memoir. So that one day I can hand them this memoir, and it will be their turn to read it.