Last appointment with Dr E the psychiatrist

October 12, 2011

The psychiatrist I’ve had for the last year and a half is moving to another job. I had my last appointment with her yesterday. I’ve had a bristly relationship with her and yesterday was probably the best appointment I’ve had with her in terms of rapport and getting myself to speak with more openly without self-censoring and second guessing everything.

This last year and a half isn’t the first time I’ve seen Dr E. Several years ago, she was the consultant in charge of my area’s particular version of the crisis team and I saw her a few times then. I also saw her once when my own psychiatrist was on holiday and he arranged for me to see her. I can’t really remember much about those appointments and I don’t think there was anything remarkable about them. What stuck from that time was that her then registrar diagnosed me with emotionallly unstable personality disorder the one and only time I saw her but that only appeared on one GP letter and was never mentioned again. It was not even mentioned to me and I only found out about it a couple of years later when I read my notes. I was pretty fucking pissed off about it, but that’s another rant.

The most bizarre thing about Dr E was that she used to be my ex-boyfriend’s psychiatrist. That was about ten years ago and predates any of my appointments with her. Still, it always seemed kind of weird to me: a bit of a strange overlap. The really weird thing is that she intensely reminds me of my ex-boyfriend’s mother. Same accent and voice and similar appearance. I didn’t get on very well with my ex-boyfriend’s mother, neither did he, and that my new psychiatrist was her doppelganger gave me some easy jokes. Really it was all pointless posturing from me.

I had some bad experiences with psychiatric services a couple of years ago and I went from “well of course you should trust your doctor, why wouldn’t you?” to “why on Earth would I trust this random stranger I have just met?”. I don’t want to trust them, I want to keep away from them. I think? But I’m frightened too. I’m conflicted ;-) I’m really questioning that now after the last few appointments with Dr E. But it seems like I can only go very slowly in my thinking and like I’m very unsteady in coming to any conclusions.

So, lucky Dr E had me paraphrase the above in my first appointment with her eighteen months ago. I think I was distant with her. I didn’t really volunteer things and I didn’t expect her to make any good difference to my life and I made that clear I think. God, I sound like a bitch when I put it like that. I think I said to her that it wasn’t personal that I had a problem with psychiatric services now but I suppose it was always going to be at least a little bit personal. But she did try with me. I really feel that she tried with me and put in effort. Writing that makes me feel tearful, I don’t know why. Like “wow, someone put in effort with me”. I wasn’t easy and I described myself as “petulant and annoying” to her. I was a bit taken aback when she agreed with me about the petulance. I can be immature and I think I was passive aggressivly blank and withdrawn at her a lot. Fuck, it sounds so pointless now but for those first appointments I couldn’t even start to see myself thawing towards a psychiatrist or saying anything to them that I hadn’t analysed and checked first.

I think she started to win me over a few months ago by saying that she realised that “time was marching on” and that “you don’t ask for much”, “you have talents and intellect” and “you could do something [worthwhile]”.

I feel sad now. Like I didn’t make the most of this psychiatrist and that I should have done more. That maybe the next one will be bad and I’ll really regret it. The next one is a man. I don’t think I like that. Maybe he’ll be fat though. That would be great and I think would make me feel more comfortable. Not that a fat person is necessarily fat-friendly or fat-neutral but I feel like there is more chance of it and at least they are more likely to listen if I talk about what it’s like for me to be fat.


How deep is your depression?

October 12, 2011

This is the last bit that I wanted to record from Overcoming Depression by Dean Juniper before I finally give it to a charity shop.

How Deep Is Your Depression

Though depressions come in varying degrees of depth and length, they are often longstanding, moderately troubling, states which make life seem pointless or trivial. If you agree with the majority of the following statements about yourself, then you are probably suffering from mild to moderate depression.

  • Secretly you are sorry you were ever born.
  • When you look back on you life it seems a succession of crises and struggles.
  • You are easily hurt.
  • There is always some relationship or other coming apart.
  • There is always a huge gap between what you want and what you are.
  • There is always something to depress or worry you.
  • You deny you are guilty, but your thoughts and actions reflect little else.
  • You find the prospect of death a little thrilling or, at least, a kind of solution.
  • Most common life-satisfactions seem to you overrated, but you cannot do without them.
  • Secretly, you despise everybody, yourself included.

You are also probably still within reach of the type of self-managed help that this book offers and, if you let yourself work within its systematic betterment programmes, there should be sustained benefits for you.

But depressions can be significantly deeper than mild to moderate. They can reduce mental and physical efficiency to levels of virtual half-functioning. If you agree with the majority of the following statements, then you ahve moved into the severest category of depression.

  • You often feel tempted to stay in bed all day. There seems no point in getting up and dressed.
  • Eating meals has become a chore, and you know you are undernourished.
  • You find it hard to concentrate for more than a short period. Conversations fade in and out.
  • If feels a huge effort just to walk about. As for going to work, this is almost impossible (or is impossible).
  • Starting conversations is extremely difficult. It feels as if your lips are frozen. It is an effort to speak.
  • The nagging need to escape to the safety of your bed asserts itself in work or in social events.
  • Feelings of contentment or pleasure (if they occur at all) are very short-lived and are soon blanketed by moods of despair or bitterness.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion are with you continuously, even at the moment of waking. Sleep is difficult to attain and maintain.
  • Often you weep but usually only when you are alone.
  • Irritation with other people increases. You make angry asides under your breath.

If you have agreed with most of the above statements, this book can certainly help you, but not on its own. Your safest, most reliable, but not necessarily easiest course is to seek professional aid. You have a legal right to ask your doctor to refer you to a clinical psychologist for a diagnosis and a therapeutic recommendation. This may be difficult. Your doctor may not want to refer you. Insist on it; if necessary change your doctor or see another partner, but make sure you get professional help.