Monday, October 14, 2019

Comments by wtrector

Showing 3 of 3 comments.

  • Dr Datta says:

    “I discussed the case with the attending psychiatrist. I wanted to know how to fill out the paperwork, confident she had no psychiatric diagnosis.

    ‘Put mood NOS.’

    Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, I mumbled. How could I diagnose her with a mood disorder when she had none? The answer was it was necessary for reimbursement.”

    Do we really need to look any further for the cause of a “mental illness epidemic” in this country?

  • Rossa’s story both saddens and angers me. If a young man drinks and drives, he and his family know he risks a heavy fine or jail, or both. If he joins the army, he risks getting injured or killed. If he starts a business with borrowed money, he risks bankruptcy. Everybody knows this. Sometimes the payoff is worth the risk, or the temptation is too great. But nobody is astonished or feels betrayed if matters turn out badly. We knew from the beginning it was a risky thing to do.

    But what if a young man is brought to a psychiatrist? We have certain expectations of wearers of the honorable cloak of Hippocrates, primarily that they will do something to restore health. We don’t ordinarily think in terms of the risk the young man is incurring at this point: a terrifying diagnosis on the basis of a few questions, the degrading rituals of involuntary commitment, powerful drugs with disabling side effects, loss of friends and self esteem, stigma, helpless anger and hopelessness. And yet these are the risks he takes the moment he enters the door, unless he has considerable presence of mind and control of his emotions.

    Some years ago I walked through a psychiatrist’s door and faced the same risks. I came for help, because the things going on in my mind frightened me and made me want advice from an expert. I felt I was in serious danger of losing control of my emotions and I would make a fool of myself and destroy what little credibility I had with my family. (Yes, I was the sensitive one that carried the generational burdens.) I tried to explain my predicament to the psychiatrist, but he kept interrupting me and disagreeing with what I was saying. I knew I was soon going to lose my cool in frustration. I was beginning to realize he had no idea of what was happening in the strange world behind my eyes, and that I was on my own in dealing with it.

    Finally, in desperation, I asked the psychiatrist if he thought I was crazy. No, he said soothingly, not really. You haven’t come here with any wild theories or tell me people are out to get you, stuff like that. You’re not acting crazy.

    A great light dawned on me. You mean I’m not crazy if I don’t act crazy? He hesitated. Well, yes, something like that, he said

    I’m sure he went on to give me advice about not getting all upset about things, but all I remember is that. I wasn’t crazy if I didn’t act crazy. It was as simple as that. No matter what happened behind my eyes, I couldn’t let it make me act crazy. No matter what. Not unless I wanted to end up in the looney bin.

    I thanked the psychiatrist politely and took the prescription he offered me, but never went back again. I did what he said: I didn’t act crazy, no matter what. And yes, it got bad, so bad that I finally had to go to the ER one night for a shot. I told them I had a terrible migraine, though the agony went much deeper than that and filled the whole world. But I had read enough about psychosis by then to suspect it would soon subside enough to be bearable, and it did.

    The net result? My family relaxed after a few days of worry, and life went on – better than ever for me, because I went back to school, got an advanced degree, had a successful career, and retired a few years ago to enjoy my children, grandchildren and travel.

    I’m afraid my story has a depressing moral: that we should teach our young men and women the risks of going to psychiatrists who deploy their dangerous potions and powers in such blissful ignorance. Consider the need for a psychiatrist with the same prudence needed in selecting a family doctor: don’t wait for an emergency. See if you can find one with a reputation for prescribing talk therapy and family communication before powerful drugs and institutionalization. Learn from Rossa’s story, and protect your children.

    I dislike speaking so harshly, but sooner or later the emperor’s nakedness has to be recognized, along with the priests’ rape of alter boys and psychiatrists’ abuse of their patients’ trust. Otherwise the lie goes on and on.