(What happened with Dr. Bird? Good question. She literally just never responded to me again. Even though she changed my medication, I guess she never felt the need to follow up on that. Or even send me a bill for the consult.).
The therapist I’m seeing now found this woman’s name through colleagues or something. She’s both a shrink and a psychologist, so I think she generally does both therapy and medication management, but she also charges nearly twice what I pay right now per session, so no thanks. Also, I like the therapist I’m seeing right now so I want to stay with her.
The shrink (I shall call her Dr. White) said that she wanted me to know she’s never met the therapist. I was confused, but I said, “Yeah…I mean, I assumed as much.” and she responded, “Well, I don’t generally work with clients unless I know their therapists.” I just rolled my eyes and said, “Well whatever then!” Because, honestly, if you don’t want to work with clients unless you know their therapist, and you just admitted you don’t know this therapist, WHY DID YOU SCHEDULE A CONSULT WITH ME?! Ugh!
I think she sensed my disgust because she quickly said, “But we’ll just have to get to know each other.” Fine, lady. Whatever floats your boat.
Then she asked me a million questions about my past, which is always annoying and exhausting because it’s all in pieces for me. I have answers to questions, but I don’t actually remember much or know a lot of this stuff. I’m generally just going by what I’ve been told or what has come through in flashbacks. And what I do remember does not feel like my own experience, so I feel strange talking about it.
She asked about trauma (never fun). She asked about hospitalizations (also not fun). She asked about things like losing time, being told I did something I don’t remember, or noticing an object in my home that I don’t remember buying.
She asked me what my diagnoses are. I explained that my diagnoses while in treatment previously were Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Complex PTSD, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. She asked why my former doctor listed Major Depression as my primary illness. I told her that when I asked him that myself, he basically said that listing a mood disorder “opens more options” for medication. Then she asked me what I thought my diagnoses were. I said Complex PTSD and DID.
She didn’t seem to disagree with me. With my level of trauma, my psychiatric history, and my specific symptoms, it would be hard for her to find fault with my assessment. I could tell that she believed I had DID and that was oddly comforting. Dr. Bird also believed me within the first consultation. Both of these women are experts, so although I don’t necessarily need an expert to confirm how I live my life every day, it was admittedly nice to feel that she wasn’t questioning my diagnoses.
She also asked if I’d ever been suicidal (yes), have I ever attempted suicide (yes), have I been suicidal since then (yes), am I suicidal now (no). Then she goes, “Well I guess I’ll just have to trust that you’re truly not suicidal now” to which I thought, “Yes, and I guess I’ll just have to trust that you’re not a total idiot” but I actually said, “Yup. Guess so.”
She asked about the meds I’m on and who prescribed them. This was a mess of a story because over the last year, I’ve had five different meds prescribed by four separate people in two different states. So then I had to explain how that all came to be and finally she asked, “Well what happened with Zooey then?”
“She left me.”
I explain it to her. She asks what reasons Zooey gave for terminating treatment. I say that she gave a lot of reasons, but none of them were the truth. She asks me if there was an argument or disagreement going on between Zooey and I. I tell her, “No, just normal therapeutic stuff that happens in normal therapy.” She follows that up by asking, “Does your wife agree with that?
“Does your wife agree that there was no argument between you and Zooey?”
“I don’t follow.”
“Well since you sometimes lose time or don’t remember things, I’m just wondering if your wife noticed some disagreement between you and Zooey that perhaps you don’t remember. It’s just… I don’t know Zooey, but I know her supervisor and these other therapists you named. And these are good, ethical therapists. This seems very strange.”
“Well her supervisor didn’t terminate with me, she did! She said she had the support of her “DID expert” supervisor as well as her colleagues in deciding to transition me to more intensive treatment. But she didn’t actually do that. There was no transition. She just kicked me out the door with nothing but the name of a strange male therapist written on a piece of paper.”
“Well it sounds like you’ve been through a lot with therapists and doctors then.”
“Something like that.”
“So I imagine you’ll be a little gun-shy here, then?”
She asked me to describe my wife. Then she asked me to tell her about myself – what kind of person am I? What do I like to do? What are my hobbies? I actually answered that question by telling her about this blog, which took her aback before I explained what it is and why I started it. Then she said, “Wow. That’s actually a very strong sign of emotional health – that you took such an awful situation and made the best you could out of it.”
Yeah, sure. Honestly? It felt a little bit more like trying not to drown, but I appreciated the sentiment.
“How did you find your current therapist?”
“By calling name after name after name. I interviewed 14 therapists in total.”
“Oh wow. That’s a lot. And that’s very impressive.”
“Do you like her?”
“Yes. She’s strong. I need someone strong.”
Then she said that she’d like to work with me, but she would want to see me at least once a month. I agreed to that, but internally I was screaming. I hate psychiatrists. I hate psychiatry in general. I hate being on medication and needing a psychiatrist to refill it. It’s just awful. Psychiatrists have been very unkind to us, so even their basic line of questioning is a huge trigger.
Then I said I had to go because I had therapy at 4pm and it was a ten minute commute. To which she said, “Okay” but then preceded to take 25 freaking minutes to boot up her computer, connect it to wi-fi, put my info into some software program, connect it to my pharmacy, and send in the scripts. I watched the clock until 3:55pm and said, “Okay, can I please call her just to let her know I’m going to be late” Which she said was fine, so I did, but at this point I was shaking because I was so upset.
The therapist had brought this up with me when I said I scheduled a psychiatric consult for an hour before session. I specifically said it wouldn’t be a problem. But I did NOT predict the fiasco that was the end of this consult, so I ended up being 15 minutes late for session despite running there. Nor do I understand why Dr. White couldn’t have done all of that computer stuff once I’d left and then just let me know the scripts went through?!?! Especially because she knew I had to go!
Regardless, this doctor was good enough. She was nice enough. She seems competent and informed enough about both trauma and dissociation. I didn’t like her weird questions about Zooey, but I think she was just so repulsed by the idea of a therapist abandoning their client that she was caught off guard and responded a little clumsily. That’s forgivable. She also said she wasn’t a big fan of me being on propranolol, but I think it actually helps me a lot, so she agreed to prescribe a refill (thankfully). Next time I might have to battle her on this though, so…
But there IS a next time. Despite all of my protestations against psychiatry, I do need someone to write those scripts. And as the therapist would say, “Why not let it be someone who knows what they’re doing?”
So Dr. White, I sincerely hope you know what you’re doing.