Being a Mental Health Patient: Swallowing Your Pride
I was not sure what to title this post but the word pride came to mind. So, what is the theme here? Well, I was on my way to visit my lovely psychiatrist and I started thinking...
What Is It Like Being a Mental Health Patient?
Yesterday, when walking into the "AFFECTIVE DISORDERS CLINIC" I felt, as usual, a little shame. I know, I know, I should not. I have come to terms with my illness! I have, for the most part, accepted it. But still.
I checked in with the receptionist, who is certainly younger than I am and I am a whopping twenty-seven years old, and told her my name and the name of my psychiatrist. She took a brisk irritating note and asked me to sit down. I don't really like being told to do anything and, further to this, be told to do such an obvious thing. Clearly, I would sit down without being told!
She sits down in her very large office and so do I (grateful she did not tell me to sit down!) and we carry on with our usual every-six-weeks-and-no-exceptions-Natalie appointment.
"So, Natalieeeeeeeeeeeeee, how are you?
Ugh. Must she draw my name out?
Sometimes, I throw in some innate sarcasm and reply to each question as such:
"Good. Thanks. And how are things going on your end Dr. (insert long name here)?" Of course, she will always tell me things are going well. If her home burnt down the night before everything would be great. Isn't psychiatric etiquette great?
She continues on asking me about my moods, my life, whether or not I talk to my parents. Really, she does.
But here is my point: The entire time she is taking notes. Scribbles. When I tell her that, yes, I am visiting my family once and a while, she takes notes. About that. About whether or not I have learned to eat breakfast yet. I am serious.
I have never asked her what she is writing. This is not something patients do, right? And it bothers me. I tell her personal things and she writes them down. I have no idea what she is writing, maybe something like: "Patient ate a boiled egg this morning. Progress?"
In summary: It bothers me. I feel exposed. Shame. I guess I can be sort of self-righteous. I'm not sure. I should ask her, surely she has written a note about narcissism somewhere.
Swallowing Our Pride
It is, at least in Canada, legal for patients to request copies of the notes being taken. And I have done this (purely for research when writing my memoir) and found I could not even read the damn notes! Psychiatrists must take some sort of "How to Write So Patients Cannot Read The Notes" class in university.
That aside, I do understand that it's part of living with a mental illness. These people are there to help us recover and, dammit, if we want we can take notes of our own!
Walking out of the "AFFECTIVE DISORDERS CLINIC" I decided to swallow my pride, not an easy thing for me to do, and understand that those notes, scribbles, come in handy when I falter. They aid me in recovery.
Still, I see no point in asking me what I ate for breakfast. From now on I will tell her I went to Denny's and ate an unlimited amount of sausages. I figure she would write, "Natalie seems to have acquired an issue with overeating. Regression. Not progress?"
Now, excuse me while I boil an egg.
Champagne, N. (2012, August 9). Being a Mental Health Patient: Swallowing Your Pride, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2012/08/being-a-mental-health-patient-swallowing-your-pride
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
Enjoyed the read, thanks again.
Pride is a tough pill to swallow--bad pun, I know:) Exercise...it's easier in the spring and summer my mood dips the other months. All we can is try our best.
Thanks for your comment,
Glad you can relate to the post. Nice to "meet" you as well:)
Thanks for the comment!