4 January 2012

My Psychiatrist Called in Sick

My psychiatrist called in sick.

I must admit to being annoyed, as I’d planned my entire week around this meeting. Dr. L had been assigned to be by my social worker, who said that an appointment, whether or not it was necessary, was a healthy pre-emptive strike. So I agreed to do it as long as it didn’t involve any group activity.

Put Patient Here
My first, and only appointment was in November. My second appointment would have been this morning if things had gone according to plan. During our first meeting, Dr L focused on getting to know me. To see if I had any suicidal thoughts (no), depression (no), or mother issues ( All dealt with, thank you very much).

After talking for two hours, she came up with this diagnosis. Apparently I spend too much time worrying about other peoples reactions. Admittedly, others' feelings are often foremost in my mind. I thought that most people experienced this concern, to which Dr L replied, ‘Most people are selfish pricks’, or something to that effect.

She recommended that I don’t worry about what others think. Offer no explanations if people look at my hair. Don’t hide the fact that I’m going through chemo, but if people get overly sympathetic, say matter-of-factly, ‘I appreciate your concern’. Let's move along, shall we?

So today I was looking forward to talking to my Psychiatrist. It’s true – I did enjoy talking to someone who had no emotional investment in my situation, and I liked saying whatever I wanted without being self-censored or articulate. Over the holidays I’d even come up with a few choice topics – and I was looking forward to our conversation.

So when Dr. L's secretary called to tell me she was ill, I felt I should say something generous about a speedy recovery. But I was a little angry, and I’m trying not to care about other people’s feelings. So I said that I’d turned down an out of town event for this appointment, one which I’d been waiting anticipating for seven weeks. I told her that I was upset. Unapologetic, she said she’d try to squeeze me in next week. I wanted to say more, to tell her that their system of having appointment two months apart is ridiculous, even without the cancellations. I also wanted to tell her that I didn't like her attitude, but just in case she was having a bad day, I didn't want to hurt her feelings.

Clearly I need another appointment. Not caring what people thinks takes work.

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