Saturday, 10 July 2010

Appointment with Dr O

I wouldn't exactly call my appointment with Dr O today a success. Often when I see her I feel like she is grasping at straws, and will therefore take anything that I say or do that could possibly be construed as vaguely positive, or at least not overtly negative, and jump on it and say how well I am doing. Whilst I am sure this is supposed to be encouraging, to be honest it comes across as frustrating, because I feel like she doesn't actually know how I am really feeling, and also somewhat patronising. Today was definitely one of those days.

My mum works in a school, which I used to attend, and they had Speech Day this morning, which I went to with her, so when I saw Dr O this afternoon I was wearing a dress and had make up on. She didn't ask how I was, or how things had been - the first thing she said was that I looked different, and pointed out that I had make up on, so I explained that I had been at the Speech Day that morning. After that she said how nice it was to see me doing so much better, and how I seemed so much brighter, and how she really hoped that this good patch would continue. Whilst it is of course nice that she wants to see me doing better, it would have been nice if at some point during my appointment she had actually asked how I was feeling, rather than assuming that because I had make up on everything was great. If I had been very bright and smiley it would possibly have been more acceptable, although I really would prefer it if people judged me on what I said, rather than how I acted, as the two are often very different, but I really don't think I came across as any different to usual, bar the dress and make up. She said something about how much progress I had made, and how now all I needed to do was find something to do that I would be enthusiastic about etc. I then said that I didn't want to be here, and just couldn't make myself care about anything - that in the brief periods where things are a bit better, or I have some energy etc, than it is performing and theatre that I care about, but the rest of the time it feels like a chore rather than anything pleasurable. I explained how I was rehearsing The Tempest, and that I had initially hoped that if I started doing it then I would find some enthusiasm for it, but that it just hadn't happened, and that I don't like going to rehearsals, and I am stressed about my complete inability to concentrate on anything, as it is making line learning impossible, and I now have 2 and a half weeks to learn an entire Shakespeare play. Well it isn't just concentration - it is also a complete lack of motivation. I just can't be bothered. I told her there was nothing that I felt enthusiastic about, and that I am just here until I manage to kill myself. I said that even when I am thinking perfectly rationally and logically, I think that suicide is the right thing for me to do, and is what will end up happening.

She then told me that suicide was selfish, to which I said that I don't consider suicide any more selfish than other people forcing (or trying to) someone to stay alive when they have wanted to die for years, as it is just weighing up one person's pain against anothers, and I don't see how one can be seen as selfish, and the other perfectly acceptable, which she thought was a completely crazy way of looking at it, and said I had been given this life and that I should make the most of it and do as much with it as I could. She then said about all the people out there who are ill or missing limbs or paralysed etc, and how much they would love to be healthy etc. I said that I understood that, and if I could give them my health/life then I absolutely would, but that actually me being alive doesn't make things any better for them, and that actually the best thing would probably be to find a suicide method whereby I could be an organ donor, as then some of these people would be able to become more healthy. I was actually getting really quite irritated by all of this, as I felt like she was imposing her personal views regarding suicide and life etc on me, and I don't think that is right. Luckily she didn't seem to have a response to my last comment, and said she should see her next patient.

Overall, I felt completely ignored and invalidated by my appointment today. I know she is only my GP, and she isn't a therapist or anything, but she literally didn't ask at any point how I was feeling, or how things had been over the last month since I last saw her. She also didn't know that I had had a CPA review, although whether that was her fault or that of the CMHT I am not sure - GPs are supposed to be invited to CPA reviews, although they rarely attend, but she didn't seem to know anything about it, and in fact when I mentioned having had a CPA, she asked what that was, which following on from her asking if there were any types of therapy apart from CBT last time really didn't fill me with confidence. I was also not happy about the conversation about suicide - I know that some people view suicide as selfish, but someone telling you that suicide is selfish is hardly going to make you re-think your views, or change the way you feel, and so I don't understand why people say it. She is Catholic, and I am not religious, and I have found in the past that has been a problem on occasion - several times when I saw her she kept saying how much going to church would help me, which I thought was inappropriate.

At the moment I feel like things with all the professionals involved in my care are going downhill. As I said before, I will no longer be having any routine appointments with my psychiatrist, things don't feel right with L, and my GP doesn't bother asking me how I am, tells me how well I am doing, and then lectures me on the selfishness of suicide. I suppose I don't need to see my GP as regularly as I have been doing so - once a month - it is probably more habitual than out of any real need, so perhaps I should just stop that, and only see her when I actually need to. Although you have to book an appointment about 3 weeks in advance, as they are always so booked up, unless it is an emergency. I just want my old GP back. Which of course is impossible, but at least someone who is understanding, and has knowlegde of mental health problems and treatment. Dr O is a nice person, but right now it feels like that is the only positive thing I can say about her. I am really feeling pretty shit about everything treatment wise at the moment. There are clearly no plans to put me on medication, since I am no longer seeing Dr E. Although I have never been terribly pro medication, I don't like that it doesn't even seem to be considered, however things are. Dr O doesn't even bother asking how I am and just bases it all on how I look. And I feel like L is starting to give up on me. Which is understandable I suppose, as I gave up on myself a long time ago, but I am really feeling like a lost cause now. Which yet again brings me back to suicide...


  1. Sorry Appointment with Dr O didn't go well. Think her comments were inapprorpriate and unprofessional but GP tend to be a funny species in my experience. Very old school in lot of ways. I don't know- what to say re:your team I am in process of getting discharged from mine re:my request. Hope things get better, which won;t make it so . but I do. x

  2. Bummer. If you think your support team is falling apart, change it. Can you do that?
    In my experience, GPs are not well-versed in psych diagnosis or meds. They seem to read the ads like everyone else. They probably have drug reps visit them and glean their information in that very biased way.
    It feels to me like you are actively searching for help and no one is providing any real encouragement.
    Once my daughter went to a GP on a break between treatment centers. Apparently, the doctor didn't read my daughter's chart very well (missing the long list of psych meds) and peppered my daughter with absurd questions about her circle of friends (non-existent) and her exercise regime (also non-existent). My daughter was so undone by this encounter that it precipitated another trip to a treatment center. So, maybe I am reading more into your visit than necessary.
    Basically, Bip, I think you really want someone to listen to you and offer some real alternatives to the help you have been getting.
    I hope you find this.
    xx kris

  3. Thank for the replies. La-reve, I could discharge myself, and there wouldn't be any problems with that, but I feel like I need support. There have been quite a few times when talking to L has stopped me acting on suicidal thoughts etc, and although I don't feel like things are as good with her now as they used to be, I think I would really struggle a lot without anyone at all.

    Kris, I could change my GP, but as I live in a very rural area there is little in the way of choice. It wouldn't be an option to see a different psych though. You are right - most GPs aren't that great with MH problems, although there are some who have it as a special interest. I was just so lucky with my last GP that I probably expect too much now. And I miss her.

    Regarding the ads/drugs, that doesn't really work in the same way here that it does in the states. Anyone who works for the NHS has nothing to gain by prescribing one drug over another - I think it is one of the advantages of our system.

  4. Ugh, that's frustrating when people and professionals just assume they know how you're doing, without them asking you. Some people are very good at putting on an act. She shouldn't really push her views on you like that too. It's unfortunate your GP isn't all that experienced with mental health issues, I've found that a lot of the times GPs aren't all that experienced which needs to change.
    I'm sorry that things with professionals aren't so well at the moment.

    Take care,

  5. It sounds like it was a really frustrating appointment with Dr. O. Sorry she wasn't more helpful. And I agree-- telling someone who is thinking of suicide that suicide is selfish doesn't help anyone. I wish Dr. O were more conscientious about mental health issues.

    Wishing you well,

  6. The CMHT should have invited/informed her about the CPA. If GPs don't come (and they rarely do due to time) we have to send the details to them but I suppose it's feasible they might have been filed without being read..
    I get frustrated when there is an assumption that suicide is selfish because terming it in that way doesn't really help anyone. It is about how desperate one is feeling. Anyway, that's probably a discussion for another time. I'm sorry it is so difficult for you at the moment.

  7. Yes cb - I know that GPs are usually invited, but rarely attend - my old GP who was brilliant did attend the only CPA that I had whilst I was under her and she wasn't off sick, but that was the only time I have had a GP attend, so I wasn't expecting her to be there or anything, but to not know it had happened, and then to ask what it was seemed slightly odd - it isn't even like she has only just qualified, she is a partner. But the CMHT may have forgotten to tell her about it or something, and my psych doesn't ever seem to get out letters/reports very quickly, so I am not suprised she hasn't had the details since yet.

  8. Sorry, Bip - this is in no way helpful - but I have an urge to scream, "what a patronising fucking bitch." Her personal views have no place whatsoever in her professional practice, and to let them have done so is at best unprofessional, and in my view potentially damaging. I think you were remarkably tolerant.