Third GP Appointment

Given that the last appointment didn’t go very well and I left feeling even worse, I was feeling anxious today and dreading going to my GP appointment. Thankfully today’s one wasn’t as bad. Feeling like seeing him is pointless though, I paid $26 just to be told to continue walking for an hour each day. My school counsellor in Year 12 was very keen on me doing exercise too, but at least she didn’t push it when I tried it, came back, and told her that it didn’t do anything for me. Dr L however, even when I reported back that I don’t feel exercise does much for my mental health, still asks me to do an hour of walking each day. In reply to my being at Uni from 8am-5pm a couple of days a week he said, “Walk for an hour during one of your breaks!” The weather shouldn’t be a deterent either, “Wear a raincoat, or bring an umbrella with you.” Yeah. Sure. Walking an hour in cold, windy and wet weather is not my idea of fun nor ‘good for my mental health.’ He says, “I know you’re thinking ‘how is exercise going to help me’, but I promise you that it will help a bit. There is a lot of scientific evidence to support this.” Maybe you shouldn’t promise something that you can’t guarantee. I was relieved though that he didn’t ask about whether I have self harmed or not and about my eating. Have both self harmed and purged a couple of times in the five days between the two appointments.

As said, the actual cost of the consultation was $26 today. However, I had to pay $60 at the Medical Center and Medicare (Australia’s universal health care program, courtesy of the Australian government) will subsidise part of the cost, so that what I pay out of my own pocket is only $26. How it works is that the Medical Center will send the bill off to Medicare, and Medicare will send the benefit to my address, in the form of a cheque. Problem is that when I read the receipt, I saw that while I was listed as the ‘Patient,’ my father’s name was there under the ‘Claimant.’ I used to go to this Medical Center as a small child, so my father’s name as the ‘Claimant’ must’ve carried over, even though I have my own Medicare card now. I only realised this after I left so it was too late to ask the receptionist to change it. I feel embarassed about having so many appointments and guilty about the money having to be spent on the appointments by my parents so I went today without telling them and paid for it myself. With the bill possibly being addressed to my father instead of me, and the cheque being made to his name and not mine, it’s going to have to come out anyway after all my efforts to hide it.

Dr L has asked to see me, yet again, in about a week’s time. Last time I was referred to a psychiatrist by a GP, she just left me to my own devices during the two month waiting period for my first appoitment. While Dr L wanting to see me in this two month waiting period indicates that he at least cares enough to want to keep an eye on me, I’m getting a bit fed up with going to see him so frequently. I rarely, if ever, visit the doctor for physical health problems. In fact, before this, the last time I had seen a GP was in 2008, and that was for mental health issues too. And now this Medical Center is becoming incredibly familiar to me. I also can’t help thinking that him keeping an eye on me is just to cover his own back, so if anything should happen to me ie. I try to OD or off myself, he can say that he has been ‘treating me’ (with exercise haha) for my depression, rather than just left me without anything for two months.

I’m starting to think that going back to my old psychiatrist and avoiding the two month wait to see a new one wouldn’t have been so bad after all, if it means that I do not have to see a GP weekly or more, leading up to it. Wait, scratch that, if my old psychiatrist was harsh about me not trying enough to help myself to recover last time, it would be a hundred times worse if I went back to him admitting that I have gone without seeing any professionals for about seven months and in that seven months I have not improved, if anything I have declined. Plus, I couldn’t stand going back to him and giving him the satisfaction of knowing that he is right, that I would not improve without medication.

Guess I’ll just have to bear with the GP appointments for now then. Last time I was nonchalant about having to wait two months for my first psychiatrist appointment. This time, with having to see Dr L so frequently, two months couldn’t come fast enough!

3 thoughts on “Third GP Appointment

  1. Gosh the Aussie healthcare system sounds so complicated. It’s good that the doc wants to keep seeing you regularly, so at least you have someone there if things get out of hand, even if you aren’t getting all that much right now. I hope the walking starts to help a little, but obviously it would be better to get some more input, which hopefully you will get from the psych.

    It’s such a shame that getting medical help for mental health issues involves the individual having to actively campaign for it and fight for the support.

    Take care and don’t give up hope.

    Sarah x

  2. Ugh. I’m so sorry that your doctor isn’t exactly helpful, but at least he is trying to keep an eye on you. And maybe you can call the office and ask them to change the name because your parents shouldn’t have to get the cheque and you shouldn’t have to tell them about this if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. The Aussie system sounds a lot like the way US insurance works in some cases–not always very well lol.

    And I think it’s really amazing that you keep pushing to get the help you need. That takes a lot of courage.

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