Good Doc/Bad Doc

Finding a good Depression Therapist

When you have emotional problems whether they be great or small you need at some time to seek the help of a professional.  That professional may be a therapist, social worker, counselor, or if the difficulty calls for it, a psychiatrist.  In my experience, I have learned that there are good psychiatrists and then the rest.  Finding a head doctor that you are comfortable with is very important, as is being honest with them about what you are feeling.  They generally are the Doctors who will prescribe psychopharms.  That is medicines that help you restore the correct balance within your body.  They will use for example an anti-depressant to help someone like me who suffers from chronic depression that is generally caused by chronic pain. The Psychiatrist may also try some non-traditional medication to see if it will help alleviate the pain.

Back to the subject at hand and that is how do you know you have the right psychiatrist for your needs.  One way to do that is find a support group in your area that deals with your specific problem and ask them about their experiences.  The other way is the way I did it.  I was referred to a Psychiatrist who saw me the first time and then dropped me off to his resident or fellow who actually was very good.  The Resident was the one who dealt with my suicide attempt.   He was called the day after I tried it and was very concerned.  He called me at work and talked to me for a long while and scheduled me to see him the next day.  When I went to see him I was honest with him and he was concerned enough that he brought in his boss.  I talked with both of them but was no longer comfortable.  Their demeanor was at least at that time threatening.  They were going to put me in a unit in the hospital where you cannot leave until they say so.  Needless to say, the 4 days I spent there were no fun.  Now comes the good part.  I have an appointment with the first Dr. I arrived about 10 minutes early as is my custom, and sat, and sat and sat. Finally he came to the door and asked me if I wasn?t supposed to see the resident.  I told him that the card said that my appt was with him.  He grumped, said he would be right back and shut the door.  After waiting another 45 minutes, He finally came back.  Now you have to remember that I had just been released from the hospital for a suicide attempt and my self esteem was not at its highest.  He stood in the door and said to all who could hear,  ?Well I guess I will have to see you today.?  He spent 10 minutes and told me to reschedule with the resident.  What did that do to the self-esteem; I assure you it didn?t help it. I would have to label this guy a bad doc; professionally he is a very bright man but his manners in dealing with a subject as important as depression and suicide certainly lacked the compassion that I would like to have.  I felt that he was seeing me out of a sense of obligations rather than because I needed some help.

Now for the other side of the spectrum, the psychiatrist I have now was very interested in my well-being and was very compassionate.  He asked me questions, acknowledged the suicide attempt and tried to get to the bottom of things.   He changed my medications, followed up with me between appoints got me in to see the best therapist I have ever seen and generally followed both my pain problems and my emotional response to it.  He changed some medications and found a combination that helps control the arthritis pain and also levels out the ups and downs a bit.  Based on his evaluation and referrals to both a therapist and a physical therapist, I began to feel much better about myself and started learning , with the help of the therapist how to defuse my anger and how to more calmly deal with daily frustrations.  Between the prednisone mood swings and the depression, I was not a pleasant person to be around.  The difference between the two doctors was not their medical knowledge or ability to diagnose and treat.  The difference is that one cared about what happened and the other didn?t give a darn.  The reason for this long tale is to try to point out a couple of basic things.  First you don?t have to accept whatever the Dr. says without challenging him/her.  Secondly you are entitled to be accorded some respect.  You also are entitled to know about the medications that the psychiatrist gives you because many of them have tremendous side effects.  Know you and know your medicines.  The only difference between the two doctors was that one was not interested in me as a person and the other one cared.  Good dock, bad doc?. which would you rather have.  You are entitled to the best.  Remember always that the doctor works for you and you can terminate that employment at any time you become uncomfortable with it.  It is your right to find a doctor that you are comfortable with.  Not only will it help you physically, the trust will go a long way toward helping you.  I found one I trust and am well on the road to recovery.