Late last month I saw my shrink. It was one of those days where I woke up drowning in self-loathing. As I wrote about in this post, I showed up to my appointment about ten minutes late and was a sloppy incoherent mess of emotions. I mostly just cried and rambled before leaving in an admittedly abrupt and tantrum-y way. My frustration was not with my shrink, it was with myself and how dysregulated I felt at that time.
She called the next business day and left a voicemail saying she wanted to check in. She also offered a couple of times for our next appointment and said we should talk about “how you want things to proceed from here.” She mentioned that my medication seems to be more or less “squared away” and she’s wondering how this would “work best for me.”
It was a nice enough voicemail but I had a bad feeling about it. I mentioned this whole scenario to my therapist who suggested I schedule a follow-up sooner rather than later and suggested that my shrink was simply trying to open a dialogue about our work together.
But today I had that follow-up. I was two minutes late and I couldn’t get the door open with her buzzer so she had to come let me in. We sat down and she asked how I was. I told her I was okay and she launched into the hypothetical conversation she’d referenced wanting to have in her voicemail.
She essentially said that I have a therapist and that is not her role. Her role is medication management. She told me that she doesn’t believe it would be healthy for her to do therapy with me and that it seemed like she “had not been helpful” last session.
She doesn’t want me to be bringing up issues that are destabilizing when we don’t have the regularity or solid relationship to tackle those issues. She said we could check in about how my medication is working, if I’m experiencing any side effects, and if I need an adjustment.
I don’t even know what that means.
But what I think it means is that she is just like every other psychiatrist I’ve ever seen – she just wants the bare minimum.
I was in and out of her office in 8 minutes today. That’s the relationship she wants with me. Short, simple, easy.
I have one appointment with her where I am authentic and uninhibited with my emotions because it just happened to fall on a particularly crappy day and now she’s drawn a fucking fortress around herself.
She clearly doesn’t want any part of that nonsense and has relegated that full responsibility to my actual therapist, a woman who is also currently feeling the limits of her own boundaries and compassion around our relationship, and for similar reasons.
I am so fucking tired of clinicians who can’t handle my reality. They don’t need to save me. They don’t need to be perfect. They don’t have to have all (or any) answers. They are allowed to disappoint me and upset me and be not what I need or less than I need. But I am also allowed to be disappointed and upset and emotional.
What I loved the most about this psychiatrist is that she allowed space for me to talk about my whole life, rather than chopping it into these weird disconnected pieces that only allowed for the least amount of information possible to continue prescribing medication. I thought we made a great team in that way and I felt really comfortable adding and modifying medication with her because it seemed as though she was genuinely interested in my entire experience, rather than just symptoms and side effects.
This feels like a rejection. And it feels like the rug was pulled out from underneath me. I would love to be able to process and repair this with her, but that would require space.
And space is the very thing she took away from me.