After my mother and I were led into the consulting room and introductions were made, Dr T started off by asking my mother whether or not I had explained to her why her presence was requested. A bit of a funny question I thought, considering even I didn’t know why my mother was there. As you may recall, when I called up to make the appointment with Dr T, her secretary ‘reminded’ me that my mother was to come along- out of the blue, without any prior warning or discussion with Dr T beforehand.
Dr T then proceeded to ask my mother questions about how she views me, what I’m like with the family, what I was like as a child and as I grew older, what was her reaction to me overdosing etc. Meanwhile, I sat there mutely, listening to this conversation whereby my mother and Dr T talk about me as if I were merely part of the furnishings.
This is different to how it worked when I first saw my previous psychiatrist at the age of sixteen. I’d consult with him first, he’d shoo me out of the room (in slightly more polite terms than that) and he’d talk to my parents separately. I’m not sure whether I prefer Dr T’s way. On one hand, it does mean that nothing is said behind my back. On the other hand, it does make it quite uncomfortable and awkward to be sitting silently while you’re talked about as if you weren’t there…
My mother asked Dr T some questions about my medication and “whether or not she [I] talks to you [Dr T].” “Well yes, she does a bit,” answered Dr T. Hahaha. Oh dear. She also obliged by explaining about the medication and some of the treatment. Yes, there can be some side effects, but that mostly occurs at the beginning of treatment. No, it’s not addictive (hmm…). Yes, I will have to be on it for at least six months, possibly longer. She then explained to my mother that the therapy side of things will be with G, my psychologist, and therapy is likely to last for one or two years. One or two years. That I didn’t know until then.
Dr T used the ‘S’ word in relation to me, in front of my mother. The ‘S’ word being ‘suicidal’. I cringed inwardly when she said it. Even during the two times my parents have been aware of my overdoses, my wanting or intending to die was never mentioned nor discussed by either my parents or me.
The second half of the appointment was spent with Dr T without my mother being present. I was asked whether anything my mother had said was new to me. “Not really…” I replied, which she took to mean ‘no’.
One thing I did find interesting though is that she told Dr T she doesn’t put any pressure on me to have to complete a certain degree at Uni. She doesn’t really, so fair enough. “What about her father?” Dr T asked Mum (I’m still part of the furnishings remember…). The reply came that my father NOW doesn’t put any pressure on me, now that he knows I have ‘problems’. …Great. I don’t know what’s worse. Having high expectations that you will do well, and feel pressured as a result? Or having no expectations, except perhaps that you will turn out to be a useless screw up with a mental illness?
Mum expressed that when she tries to get me to talk to her, I don’t. Upon my mother leaving the room, Dr T asked me why this is. I told her that when I’ve tried to talk to my Mum she doesn’t really understand and tends to give advice which, although well meaning, is generally unhelpful. An example I gave was that upon confiding in my mother about my social anxiety, her advice was, “Don’t worry about what other people think.” Right. Like it’s that simple.
Last appointment with Dr T, the same afternoon of my discharge from hospital following the overdose, I spent the majority of the appointment crying. She mentioned this today, saying, “Last time I saw you, you were quite upset and quite teary and I was wondering how unhappy you are with your life.” Well considering I overdosed, my life is clearly bundles of joy right now. I said nothing in reply.
Dr T said that if my anxiety continues to be a problem, she may increase the Lexapro to two tablets (40mg) or one and a half tablets (30mg) daily. According to her, with anxiety, the SSRIs seem to work better at higher doses. “Would you feel anxious about increasing the dose?” she asked. “Umm, kind of…well…I work in a pharmacy…and umm, not many people…umm…I see that mostly the highest dose is 20mg…” I struggled to get out, whilst attempting to avoid sounding like an amateur know-it-all pharmacy assistant. “That’s just the manufacturer’s recommendation, you shouldn’t believe everything you read,” she said. I remained silent, but gave a ‘Hmm,’ with a small, sheepish smile attached.
I think I spoke about five sentences during the whole hour long appointment.
At the end of it all, my mother confided in me that she found Dr T to be quite a serious person, and was intimidated by her. Well. Lucky for you she’s my doctor then- not yours.