It was surprising how many of the other patients when I was an inpatient didn’t actually have a regular psychiatrist. Many of them had their mental illness managed by their GP. Which has led me to believe psychiatrists, particularly those in the public system, are really for those with more severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. If the statistics are correct, 1 in 5 of us have depression. In other words, it’s rather common. Too common to be seeing a specialist in the public mental health system for?
One of my fears when meeting with a new mental health professional is that they won’t take me seriously. Or they think I don’t really need to be seeing them as there are plenty of people sicker than me. I tend not to talk very much when confronted with mental health professionals. When it’s someone new who knows nothing about me, what if they take my reluctance to talk about my issues and struggles to mean that nothing’s wrong? Or assume that I’m deliberately being ‘shy and secretive’ as the first psychiatrist I saw accused me of being? Another barrier to talking is I can’t help thinking if I do describe in detail what I’m struggling with it will be assumed I’m exaggerating. That I’m deliberately talking up my symptoms to ‘prove’ I have depression and therefore deserve help.
Hopefully what may make tomorrow’s psychiatrist appointment a little easier is that D has been in contact with I, one of the clinical psychologists at A St, and told him a bit about me. While I’m not exactly keen on being discussed without knowing what’s been said about me, if it helps them understand a bit more about where I’m coming from I won’t object.
I’m meant to make an appointment to see my GP as well, but on top of a psychiatrist appointment on Tuesday and a psychologist appointment on Wednesday, a third appointment in a week seems rather excessive. I went to renew my Learner’s Permit in relation to driving and because I’m mental, the Department of Transport seems to be questioning whether I’m fit to drive. Being the honest person I am, I ticked Depression where it asked us to tick whether we have any of the medical conditions listed, and dutifully wrote down Pristiq and Seroquel where it asks for medications. I was then told because of that I have to have a medical, get my GP to fill in a form stating whether I’m fit to drive, and come back next time. Ugh, seriously? My ability to drive isn’t affected at all. And I’m smart enough to know not to drive after taking Seroquel because of the drowsiness it causes. Ever since I’ve been thinking I should have left those sections blank to save the hassle it’s causing.