Turning Point

With my hand on my heart, I promise that everything I am about to tell you is 100% true. I have not embellished or exaggerated anything. I like to think I can spin a good story, but even I could not make this shit up.

Last Thursday I went to see a psychiatrist for the very first time in my life. I had told my GP how incredibly low I had been feeling; all the self-hatred I felt and the comfort I got from imagining ending it all. He listened, reassured me I was not in fact crazy and referred me to a private psychiatrist.

I sat outside the psychiatrist’s office waiting to be seen. My appointment was for 3pm. Another man arrived and sat next to me. This made me wonder, as I had been told the appointment would last an hour, so I thought this man must have arrived incredibly early for his. After waiting about 10 minutes, the doctor came out and just looked at us both, nodded to the man next to me, who got up and went into his office. I was confused. I called the number of his secretary to confirm I had the appointment time correct and she came out to confirm I was right and said he was running behind. I asked if the appointment would last an hour and she said yes. Ok. I was rattled – having been referred to him for depression and anxiety I thought this was a careless way to treat a new patient.

At about 3.40pm he came out of his office again and just nodded to me, which I took to be my invitation inside. As I sat down, he asked me what had brought me there and I began to talk, giving him a history of how I had been feeling. Midway through this he suddenly leapt from his chair and bounded across the room to invade my personal space and stare into my face, stopping me cold. I was so taken aback. He returned to his chair and asked me if I wore contact lenses because my eyes were “incredibly green”. Stunned at this bizarre turn of events, I replied that no they were just my eyes. Then, as if nothing had happened, he told me to carry on.

After listening to me and taking notes, he looked at me and said, in a sing-song voice, “But you’re lovely.” Yes, he said that. He then went on to tell me that Estee Lauder couldn’t exist without women like me, that looks don’t matter, that I shouldn’t care what people think of me. Basically, he hadn’t listened to a word I had said. I told him he seemed to have formed an impression that I was a superficial and shallow person who judges people solely on their appearance, which was not at all the truth. My feelings of self loathing and disgust were nothing to do with how I felt any one else perceived me, they were entirely coming from inside me. He looked at me again and said, “But look at you, you’re svelte!” and carried on to tell me about his love for the Kardashians. Really!

Readers, I am far from svelte! A recent weigh in at a hospital appointment revealed my BMI to have nudged just into the overweight range, and I was sitting across from this doctor wearing a G cup bra… not svelte at all!

I usually never stand up for myself, certainly not in the company of someone in what I perceive to be an authority position, but I simply couldn’t stop myself this time. I told him that by calling me svelte he had made not only question his understanding of the word, but also his judgment in general. (Incidentally, when I told my GP about this later he was delighted with my response!)

I told him that when I was underweight, wearing age 11 clothes and teeny-tiny that I still saw a fat person in the mirror and wasn’t happy then either. His reply was, “Have you ever seen anyone in Somalia look happy?” I was pretty speechless by now.

He enquired what hobbies I had and I told him I blog. He didn’t know what a blog was so I had to explain it to him. He asked what type of fiction I wrote and I knew I didn’t want to tell him about my erotica – I wasn’t going to hand him that nugget to play with. I told him I write dark stories about the darker side of humanity. He quickly told me I shouldn’t be writing “that stuff” and instead I should write “happy stories”. He then went on to tell me the TV shows I watch and the books I read were wrong and that I should be watching Modern Family… he repeated this several times. The man really loves Modern Family.

I could tell you more of the ways he blithely dismissed my thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs but to be honest it is exhausting to repeat it all. Suffice to say he brushed off everything I talked about, including my love of dogs, as in his opinion cats were better.

The final nail in the coffin of this delightful encounter was this:

I was so very ready to turn my life around, so desperate to feel better, that I disclosed something to him that only the OH knows, I have never told another soul about this. It is a secret that carries with it a burden of shame for me and it was not easy to divulge it. In my opinion, I showed tremendous courage in sharing this information and I am sad and disgusted to tell you how it was received. His jaw dropped, he leaned forward in his seat, a look of complete shock on his face and gasped, “Really!!” I felt judged, shamed and embarrassed. I was not expecting such a reaction from a mental health professional, who surely must have seen and heard things far more shocking than what I had told him.

I had tears in my eyes as I left his office and was visibly shaking. He shook my hand and told me it was a pleasure to have met me and that he wanted to see me again in two weeks. I was numb.

The OH was angry as hell when I told him about the whole thing, but he was delighted that I had stood up for myself and affirmed that I had shown courage and strength.

I spent the rest of the day mulling over what had happened and trying to decide how to proceed. As it happened, I had an appointment with my GP the morning after this so I went and told him everything that had happened. He was astonished and could not apologise enough. He said he felt he had let me down by referring me to that psychiatrist and was concerned and angry about my treatment. In particular, he felt the comment at the start about my eyes was incredibly inappropriate and he agreed about the comment about me being svelte was also wrong. He looked genuinely remorseful and saddened by what I had told him and asked me how I wanted to proceed. I told him I was not going back to this psychiatrist and that I would rather look at new meds and be monitored by my GP. He agreed that this would work and we discussed treatments.

I have sent a letter to the illustrious Dr. Byrne cancelling my next appointment and enclosed a cheque for the €100 payment as I just want an end to it and do not have the energy to dispute his charge. My GP told me my story will certainly change his referral practice and I suspect Dr. Byrne will not be getting any more business from my GP!

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So, today I will take my first dose of my new meds.

 

I am hopeful. I am positive. I feel stronger than I have in a while. I think in a strange way that psychicatrist provoked something in me that made me think, “I deserve better than this”, and revealed to me how determined I am to feel better.

Here’s to what I sincerely hope is my turn around.

Ciao!

💋

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82 thoughts on “Turning Point

  1. Pingback: Sinful sunday – Turning Point | illicit thoughts

  2. How the hell does he have any patients? Can’t believe how he spoke to you!
    I’m really glad you stood up for yourself though, at least your GP sounds like one of the good guys.
    I feel doubly lucky now, I’ve been meeting with the manager of the ‘Home Treatment Team’ for the last three weeks and I haven’t had to deal with any judgemental attitudes from anyone.
    I think my meds are staring to kick in but I’m still a bit up and down.
    It’s a long road and I really hope you can keep the positive attitude. Keep standing up for yourself because we all deserve better!
    You are beautiful and I’d love to see you kick ass!
    Love and hugs.
    x

    • Thanks love. Yeah I really hope he is not representative of the norm! My GP is such a lovely man… I’m a wee bit in love with him! Kind, clever, compassionate and he really listens.
      Glad to hear your experience has been better than mine and that the meds are kicking in. It is a long journey but the good thing is that we are doing it and not giving up. much love to you xx

  3. Keep going. Those feelings are hard to fight but you can. The meds will help. Please don’t abandon all thoughts of therapy. He is quite clearly not fit to treat people especially people like you. He sounds as though he escaped from the 1950s.

    I have seen different therapists at different times according to what I need. I haven’t one time that I stopped because the therapist wasn’t a good match. Research and look carefully but do try again. The right therapist can have such a huge impact on your progress and your ongoing resilience.

    Most of all, take care and ask if you want anything.

  4. What a complete twat! I can’t believe he treated you like that, it’s awful. I’m glad that it has sparked something positive in you though and that you can use it to help you feel better. Take care, I look forward to reading more posts about your journey. You’re right you definitely deserve better than that. xxx

  5. Wow, Kitty, what a story? That man, the so called mental health professional, ought to be inoculated with some heavy elephant trank, dressed in something sheer and gossamer, then tied to a post in the centre of town, in a platinum wig and makeup by Whip My Bitch, Up

  6. The hardest thing, is to ask for help, especially when it’s matters of the mind.
    This mental health ‘professional’ sounds like a disgrace, am glad that you came to it from an angry place, I had a bad experience and it led to a back slide in my recovery, so you dealt with it better than I did.

    Turning points happen often, its what follows. Good luck, it’s a hard road to walk and you’re going to need OH. But that step of pushing for the right sort of help, it’s that kind of stuff that’ll make you stronger.

  7. Wow, Kat. Just wow! I’m so glad you stood up for yourself, that sounded totally inappropriate coming from a professional. Good for you! Whatever route you take, let it work for you and not to appease some quack.

  8. Fucking Hell! Absolutely unbelievable. TWAT. The man should have his licence to practice reviewed. The personal comments were totally unacceptable and the patronising way he spoke to you – pretty much ‘Just pull yourself together, dear’ – is so out of time and out of sync with modern psychiatry. The man is an absolute disgrace.
    So sorry you had to go through that, but well done, you brillant, ballsy lady for standing up for yourself and for coming away with a renewed sense of where you want to be and how you want to feel. The tragedy is that for a different person in a low place, this could put them off therapy entirely.
    Hope the medication helps you, lovely and well done again – you’re brilliant 🙂

    • I’ve never seen you swear before Lynn! Haha!
      Yes, I considered filing a complaint but I simply don’t think I’ve the energy for that. I feel bad for anyone else who gets the same treatment but I need to take care of me I think. I don’t need the stress of taking him on.
      Thanks for saying I’m ballsy, I love that! it did feel good afterwards to know I took a stand. Too many times I’ve beaten myself up for letting people walk all over me. Wow! Maybe a new Kat is being born!
      Thanks for the lovely comment Lynn… and for swearing!

      • Haha! Never been thanked for swearing before. And yes, you need to focus on looking after yourself – getting and staying well is the priority.
        I’ve had a couple of much more minor run ins with health professionals – the gp who basically told me to stop wasting her time when I went to her for help with my anxiety: the physical therapist who gave me a lecture on not taking the NHS for granted as I was lying on my back in my underwear (a very vunerable feeling, being told off by a stranger while wearing next to nothing) but on both occasions all I did was scurry from the room, tail between my legs, feeling ashamed for being such a waste of time. Well done you for giving the guy what for – he so deserved it.
        Only onwards and upwards for you now, love. Good health and happiness are winging their way to you, I hope. Hugs X

      • Fortunately, she was just a locum – never saw her again. Though, it put me off going for a while. Maybe she’d had a bad day – had to tell a ‘properly’ sick person some bad news. Who knows. But yes, I’m rubbish at talking to GPs or anyone in authority. I’ll just sit and nod and go ‘err, okay then’ even if I’m thinking ‘nah, that’s rubbish.’ 🙂

      • Good points. My problem is, I’m not very good at analysing pain. Is it sharp, dull, ‘drawing’ (whatever that means!) And where is it exactly? When do you get it? Does it happen after this, that, the other? What I should really do is keep a diary on the run up to a GP visit and thrust it under their noses – ‘Here! Don’t ask questions, just read and diagnose!’

    • True. This is what happened to my Mom. She went to see a psychiatrist, told him her issues, he told her she seemed to be very aware of all her issues and there was nothing more he could do for her.
      It was the first time she was reaching out to a therapist of some kind in 50 years. She never accepted it may just have been the man was not a good match to her, or was a twat, she felt she wasn’t good enough for failing to solve her issues on her own. So never went back, and never looked for anyone else.
      Ugh!

      • I agree! To this day, almost 20 years later, we are still struggling to get her to get her depression treated, but… she won’t.
        😦

      • That is really tough. I am sorry to hear that.
        It might sound trite, and I don’t mean to be, but it’s like so many other things – the person really has to have a mind shift and be ready to reach out or tackle the demon. I speak as one who has been on both sides.
        It cannot be easy being the support person either, I hope you have your own support network too.

      • I gave up trying to support her, she needs to find out for herself exactly what it is you say: only she can help herself. I’ve got enough of my own problems to deal with. I can incite her to seek help, but I can’t be the provider of it. That’s what brought me to where I am in the first place! :-/
        My support network… well, for now, it’s my blog, and a few friends here and there. It’s The Dancer, in his own way.
        It’s not easy every day. But I’m determined to make it through, to do what I need to achieve what I strive for in life.
        Good luck to you too!
        XO

      • Really sorry to hear about your Mom’s terrible experiences. I think sometimes medical professionals take what they do for granted to the extent they disconnect from what their actions can do to their patients. Your mum’s therapist might not have even realised that was not she needed to hear. I hope she managed to cope even without help

      • Oh, copung, she’d been doing for 50 years. We were more hoping for healing. That hasn’t happened yet. Not by a long shot :-/

  9. I’m so angry on your behalf and so awed by your response to it.
    I can’t believe such an incompetent sleezy douchebag could get a licence to practice. I’ve met my share of assholes in the medical field but this guy tops them all.
    Good for you that it disn’t deter you from getting better. Best of luck on that journey.

  10. i really am speechless, and you should report him. but the fact that you could come out of that feeling hopeful fills my heart! you deserve everything lovely, everything you want! xxx

  11. Holy shit. From whence did this clown get his doctorate, I wonder?! As I read, my jaw continually dropped, I’ve never heard of such poor and unprofessional behavior from a mental health professional!

    But, I am SO proud of you for standing up to him! It took such bravery to go in the first place, and that you haven’t allowed him to add to your distress, but used it to find your strength, that’s amazing! What is utter failure for him is nothing but success for you, sis. Good for you!!!

  12. Unfortunately, I’ve met doctors like that, but I didn’t have the confidence to stand up the way you did. There are too many unqualified doctors out there, dealing with us when we are at our most vulnerable, and taking advantage and doing serious damage. I’m so glad your GP stood up for you.

  13. Since you had your hand on your heart, I’ll believe you. But, it is pretty unbelievable someone would treat you that way. In spite of his despicable behavior, he may have helped you find a part of yourself that you did not know was there. What a jackass. Don’t give up on seeing a therapist, as there are many who can help. I was glad to see a pretty smile on SS, keep it up.

  14. In the US, that dude would get sued and get his license yanked and blacklisted in all 50 states!

    Yes, you deserve to have a better image of yourself and you definitely deserved to be treated by someone who is damned competent and professional!

    Be well and don’t stop trying to feel better.

  15. Fucking hell Kat, that psychiatrist sounds awful
    I believe every word of this, as sadly it is not uncommon in MH care for “professionals” to make inappropriate comments.

    I wish you nothing but good things, and hope that you and your GP can work together and you can find a way through xx

  16. I read this earlier but I was too fucking angry to write anything!

    I’m so glad you found the strength to speak up, you should be incredibly proud of yourself for doing that. It’s very easy to sit here and say you should also report him and possibly stop him doing that to someone else but I can understand if you chose not to.

    Right now I want to give you all the hugs and tell you what a wonderful woman you are.

    Bee xx

  17. Oh my gosh, what a horrendous experience! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that – I always feel almost personally responsible when people are let down by medical professionals as I know that it’s really not that difficult to listen and be empathetic, which he clearly wasn’t!! He sounds like a nightmare…

    I do think it shows such strength that you’ve been able to see the positives in this and I hope that you can find a therapist who can help you. Good luck! Xxx

    • Thanks Livvy. I think for the overwhelming most part, people who enter the profession have all the right intentions. Maybe this guy just got stuck and stagnant. I have no idea of ongoing and refresher training is a thing here, but it should be!

  18. Pingback: A Note on Turning Point | Kittykat-bitsandbobs

  19. He is no ‘professional’ in any sense of the word! Unfortunately this stigma & this inappropriate encounter that you faced, happens far too often. Well done for standing up for yourself & for knowing & recognising that you deserve better! Xx

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