Dear Doctor

Thank you for taking the time to see me today, I really appreciate that you are busy and that you could have been doing something else, like seeing another patient. Jokes aside, I really do appreciate that you are giving me time over allotted scheduling, and that you are not watching the clock through this meeting but rather that you seem to be relatively present to our conversation.

I just wanted to start by acknowledging the important work you do as a public psychiatrist because I know that you often see the most acute patients and have to make the most difficult decisions about their mental health care when the plan goes askew. You have the most experience and knowledge in this field and I don’t want to discount that at all in writing this note for you, but I do want to draw your attention to the fact that this is my mental health we are talking about and at the moment I am stable and able to make clarifying decisions about my health. I just want to start this conversation with a mutual respect in that you recognise the strength that I have in my support networks, to ascertain healthy from sick and make the necessary decisions based on this. I screamed for help from you last time – which was also the first time – that I had a psychotic episode, told you that something else was going on besides my diagnosed anxiety and depression, but you did not listen. You went ahead with your diagnosis and increased my medication which heightened the episode, making me more manic and hypervigilant. Despite this, I trusted you and returned to this service this pregnancy, in the hope that now we can work together from a place of health.

I hear your plan involves some acute care and I respect that however do not feel that this would be the entire reason why we make a health plan. Unfortunately it seems that you do not respect my wellness and are instead looing to use scare tactics to make me fear the worst is going to happen, again. Perhaps there are elements of reality in your words, but jumping right to the most severe case can only further anger me given what happened last time I your inability to listen to what is going for me and my family. I am not comfortable with ECT being the first thing we talk about when we discuss about managing the postnatal period and I also don’t appreciate the socioemotional bullying that is embedded in your language and tone when you surmise the ‘inevitable’ separation from not only my husband and toddler, but also the newborn. It makes me feel belittled, disrespected and disempowered.

So I guess this is a kind of breakup letter. I am going private and paying an exorbitant amount to see another psychiatrist, referred by a friend, in the hope of getting some more realistic information. Because while I respect your experience in mental health this last appointment has me doubting your expertise in my wellbeing and the importance of my family in making decisions about my mental health and care plans.


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