Since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I have seen six different psychiatrists. My first psychiatrist closed her practice to become a hospital staffer, after I had just seen her twice. A few psychiatrists remained a mystery since their RNs saw me most of the time. One horrid doctor expressed that I was too picky when I said I wouldn’t endure life-changing side effects if there were other meds and varied combos still to try. Another doctor’s office couldn’t seem to handle scheduling and billing — or my exasperation. By far, my current psychiatrist, Dr. P., is the best I have ever encountered. I once told her about writing this blog, so I am hoping that she reads this.
Dr. P. is extraordinary because she helps me feel like, well, me.
Without being a pollyanna, she always points out something positive about even my worst episodes. Sometimes it is just as simple as the fact that I am coherent enough to recognize that I am overreacting. Unlike some other psychiatrists and therapists I have consulted, Dr. P. speaks without the slightest hint of judgement. And, unlike other healthcare providers, she truly has seen me at rock-bottom. She extends a helping hand without a single “can’t fit you in,” “why didn’t you call me before you ended up in the hospital?” and, “didn’t you think before such an impulsive action?”
When Dr. P. recommends a tweak to my medicines, she is forthcoming with possible side effects, and what I should expect if this new med/dose does its job. She was more informative than my gp when said gp tried to treat my underperforming thyroid. Dr. P. is understanding, but not in a smothering way; more like how your primary doctor treats you when discussing a bout of bronchitis. She gets it that bipolar spectrum disorders are medical conditions. Dr. P. also offers a measure of true caring that I (sadly) had never before experienced from a mental health provider. Like when a family member acknowledges that you have a hard condition but lovingly steers you past the pity party, toward actions that will benefit you.
Her office is low-key and efficient. There is never drama with Dr. P. – no mishandled billing, no craziness of not being able to schedule a timely appointment, no weeks needed for refills….. Dr. P. calls me personally to reschedule when her private life interferes. Like a friend calling you to reschedule lunch and make sure that is ok with your schedule.
I can’t imagine what it is like to treat people like me, hour upon hour. I often exhaust myself. And I recognize that I don’t always follow through with exercise, eating right, reducing stress, not drinking, etc.. But Dr. P. never reveals frustration with the sometimes needed repetition of habits that will help me. And when I excessively vent about my husband, or even something relatively inconsequential like a cutting remark by a cashier, she calmly listens and makes a sensible, considerate response.
But why am I really writing about Dr. P. today?
REASON ONE: To let everyone out there who is struggling with a bad dr. fit to know that there is hope, that a better psych dr. is available.
REASON TWO: Because Dr. P. is battling cancer. My thoughts and my heart go out to her and her family. This is my way to thank her. She has made a wonderful contribution to my quality of life —- I actually look forward to seeing her every single appointment. And I leave her office feeling better, every single time.
Dr. P. I hope you know you are valued for your knowledge, your competency, your calm patient interactions, your kind heart, and admired for your quiet courage. I hope everyone will join me during this season of thanks, and recognize the people who help us live with bipolar. See you in 2017 Dr. P.!
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community