Another letter re: DBT!

Some of you may remember that way back in January after my first psychiatric admission, my psychiatrist referred me for DBT run by my local public hospital. After many months of not hearing from them, yesterday I clutched in my hand the first correspondence from them since April 1. I opened the envelope, wondering whether perhaps they were finally going to offer me a place in their DBT program. But no, starting the program after only eight months of waiting would be asking far too much. Instead, the contents of the letter told me this:

Another 6-12 months before I may get a chance to do the DBT program. That’s good to know. Perhaps I haven’t been annoying enough. After all, I haven’t called to chase them up on it and I’ve only ended up in their Emergency Department once this year.

The ‘list of some other services you may wish to access’ included this. He even took the time to enclose a short hand written note:

Yeah cool, but I don’t have BPD or a personality disorder.

Also enclosed is information about various other mental health services offered in my city. One of which I’ve already been referred to for their social anxiety group. I haven’t heard from that service either. According to the enclosed information sheet, they only have capacity in their ‘worry group’ at the moment which would ‘suit the GAD person’. Attending a group therapy program entitled ‘worry group’? No thanks.

Other services listed include those for mothers and fathers in the postnatal stage, relationship counselling and family services. Yes. Very relevant to me.

Lol. I think all that’s left to do right now is just laugh at how pathetically inadequate mental health services are. Which is better than the alternate, which is to cry about how I’m never going to get the proper help to get better. Not with mental health services how they are at current anyway.

Pharmacy students visiting psych hospitals

My third year pharmacy friends have been visiting hospitals this semester as part of their course prac requirements. Today L attended G Hospital, the largest public psychiatric hospital in the state. Afterwards she tweeted,

L: [G Hospital]…not scary at all. Just hell smelly ><

N, another pharmacy friend, then tweeted back to L and asked:

N: Hahaha. Why smelly?

The conversation then continued on from there:

L: idno just a really nauseating smell in the wards…:s are u gng there?

N: Oh ok. Nope, [Children’s Hospital] today, then [H Private Hospital (I’ve been a psych IP here…)] and [Public Hospital (Been a psych IP here too…)]. I miss out. 😦

L: haha it wasn’t tht special…I was expecting it to b way creepier!

N: Haha. I’m still interested, D said he got to see someone with bipolarism.

L: awwhh I got to see nothinnnng. Just couple of ppl wandering around normally 😦

N:  Oh ok lol, guess it depends on luck + the particular week day what you get to see.

Watching this conversation unfold on my timeline…really I just wanted to scream with frustration.

Why were you expecting it to be creepy, L? It’s just a hospital. A place where people who are ill can obtain treatment. What about when you came to visit me when I was inpatient in the psychiatric clinic then? Was that creepy for you? Granted, it was a private hospital and the patients there are generally not as unwell as those in G Hospital. But still.

And oh my goodness N, your friend saw someone with bipolar disorder, or ‘bipolarism’ as you say? And what, people with bipolar are such freaks of nature that you find it so fascinating that someone actually set eyes on this person?! Guess what, chances are you’ve seen someone with bipolar too! People with bipolar and other mental illnesses walk among you every day. At uni, in shopping centres, in your suburb…

L, why are you so disappointed that you only saw a couple of people walking around normally? What did you expect, everyone to be tearing their hair out, screaming and drooling everywhere, running around madly and climbing off the walls or something? It may surprise you, but yes, people with mental illness do actually walk around just like everybody else.

Sadly, these are students in their second last year at uni, in which after they graduate, will be eligible to become fully fledged pharmacists. A couple of years off being regarded as a health professional, and they still have such misconceptions about what people with mental illness look like and how they behave.

I really wanted to respond to their tweets and question them on their beliefs. But instead, I held back. I guess I don’t want to be seen as that one who’s always pulling people up on things, who’s always being too intense and over-sensitive. Then there’s also the awkward factor in reminding people that yes, I am one of them, the people you talk about who are or have been hospitalised for their mental illness.

Clueless rich psychiatrists

Yesterday I met with my psychiatrist, Dr T. She told me she had sent off another referral to my psychologist, R, as we’ve reached twelve for the year. “So I can have another six sessions for the year…” I enquired. Dr T confirmed yes, after that Medicare doesn’t provide a rebate. “And then next year we only get ten sessions…” I stated. She again replied in the affirmative. I told her that there doesn’t seem much point in continuing therapy if I’m only going to get ten sessions out of it. She started describing to me the benefits of attending long term therapy as opposed to short term therapy. “My recommendation is that you continue to see R [after you’ve used up your Medicare rebated sessions] and that your parents pay for it.” Right. Easy for her to say. I told her I’d feel too guilty to do so and I can’t justify spending $165 per session when I’m only paying $10 now. She tried to reason that I haven’t even asked my parents so I can’t know how they’d react if I brought it up. Yeah…but no. “Who pays for your private health insurance?” she then asked me. “I do,” I replied pointedly.

She’s not the one who grew up with my father, being made to feel guilty and undeserving. Memories have stuck with me all this time. Being driven home by my father after a psychiatrist appointment two years ago and being told in an accusatory tone, “We’re already spending all this money on your psychologist and psychiatrist appointments.” Being scolded by him when my grandparents offered me pocket money and being instructed that I must decline instead. Being told that I was “being selfish” and to “think of mum, working hard to earn this money,” when I was attending dancing lessons for $10 a week which resulted in me quitting because I felt too guilty. Him getting angry at me as a little girl after a shopping trip with my grandparents, because I finally accepted their offer of buying me a $20 pair of pyjamas, after shaking my head “no” to many other offers. Is it any wonder I refuse to even contemplate asking my parents to pay $165 per hour session with R, especially when I don’t even see any real benefits of going?

Oh how clueless the rich can be. It’s no wonder Dr T doesn’t get why I’m so hesitant, why I’d feel too guilty to bring this up with my parents. She earns $305 per hour! And not only does she earn that much, but her husband’s a psychiatrist too. So of course her kid/s would have none of those financial problems I face. Gosh, imagine having both parents as shrinks though… *shudders*.

Pdoc has a new role?

Oh. Woah. So apparently my psychiatrist, Dr T, has taken over as the new Director of the Eating Disorders Program at TH Clinic, where I was inpatient a couple of months ago. I learnt this through Facebook stalking those whom I met in hospital during that time.

I’ve begun worrying about the implications this will have on us outpatients. Will she cut back on the number of her case loads? Will she then have less time for us? Anxiety has also started settling in. Fears of being abandoned and people not being there when I need them. Exacerbated by a remark made by my psychologist last week when she revealed she’s now only got three appointment slots per week due to a new parenting group she’s facilitating on Saturday afternoons for several weeks.

I was doing okay before. Up until a week ago when I felt my moods taking a plunge. Then this news, this just makes it worse. Oh how I loathe that I take abandonment, or even the possibility of abandonment, so badly. This is terrible timing. I can’t afford to fall right now. Not when I have uni and study to take care of. Not when I have fieldwork to attend, in which we must write a three page essay in its place if for any reason we’re not able to attend on our allocated days. And especially not when my ‘help’ may not be around to help very much currently.

It was interesting to note that on the aforementioned Facebook post, she wrote, ‘Apparently [Dr T] is nice.’ Another person I communicated with on Twitter said her friends who also had Dr T found her okay.  Given the number of gripes I have about her, maybe I should do us all a favour and find another psychiatrist. Then those who do find her ‘nice’ can have her, and it’s looking as though she’s going to spend a greater proportion of her time working with the ED patients anyway. With any luck I may actually find a psychiatrist I like and get along with. Third time lucky and all… Not to mention I’d much rather be the rejector as opposed to the rejectee.