I have been under medical care for my bipolar disorder for twenty years. Please note, I have had some good providers. I have also had some bad providers. I am writing today about the bad medical care providers in hopes that you will see that this happens to all of us and so we can learn to become our own advocate.
It takes years for someone with bipolar disorder to be correctly diagnosed. This is part of the reason why.
The first psychiatrist I went to when I realized I was ill was a really nice guy. His office was close and he had an opening. Yay!
I was hopeful. I had really not talked to a professional before. I needed help. I wanted help. And I thought he was the guy to help me.
The first appointment was a big day. It took me a long time that morning to get ready. I was depressed and it was difficult to face leaving the house and seeing anyone. I was nervous about opening up to a stranger. Getting ready and getting to the appointment was a big accomplishment that day.
I got there early and sat quietly in the outer office. There was silence. I did not know if he was behind the door or not. I heard nothing. So I waited. The appointment time came and I still waited. Finally five minutes late he opens the door and invites me into his office.
He asked me how I was doing. I took a deep breath and began to tell him.” I am depressed”, I said. “Everything is hard. And I am always anxious. “
“I understand”, he said.” I have a brother with anxiety too.” And then he proceeds into a 15 minute self-disclosure about his brother’s anxiety which is nothing like mine. And I sit there wondering what the heck he is talking about.
I am frustrated. After 10 minutes I am stressed, extra anxious and angry. At the end of the 15 minutes I am anxious, stressed and mute.
He asked another question. I don’t remember what. I spoke a few sentences and then he started talking about himself again.
After 40 minutes I was done. This appointment that I was so hopeful about had turned into me talking for three minutes and him talking for 37. I was drained of all my energy. I was numb. This appointment that was so hard for me to make and then so hard for me to get to, ended up being therapy for the therapist and misery for me.
When I got home, I went directly to bed where I could lay down and start to recover. It took me months before I could make an appointment with someone else. The appointment that I hoped would be a beginning towards healing ended up setting me back for months.
In later years I became angrier and angrier that someone in a caring profession was so incompetent. He should not have a license to practice. He did more damage than good. I was more than just me. I was in bad shape and it hurt me. He also hurt other
Another psychiatrist I had was like talking into a cloud. I would talk and my words would just drift away into the mist. She would take notes but didn’t empathize. As a matter of fact, she didn’t talk at all except to say hello and time’s up.
The sad part is that I and other’s like me are vulnerable. We give up control during our appointments thinking the professional knows best. We don’t know what a good provider looks like until we finally have one.
I ended up diagnosing myself. I read books and studied on the internet. I researched medications. I became my own advocate.
Finally I found a psychiatrist that I could be my own advocate with. She listened and together we found the right meds that help me be productive and stable.
This took unnecessary years. I tell this because my story is not unique. Many, many people with a bipolar diagnosis face the same challenges. It takes years for us to be diagnosed correctly and to find the proper medications. We somehow take responsibility for this. I say, “Stop it!” This is not our fault.
We could save many years of being undiagnosed or having the wrong diagnosis if the helping profession would truly help.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community