Running out of options

I met with my case manager at Community Mental Health today. I’ve been asking for almost a month now to see a different psychiatrist, after the one I was assigned . . . well, didn’t work out so well. The news wasn’t good.

Apparently, the process to change psychiatrists in the mental health system involves having to see the relevant party again with another worker present and try to resolve the issues. Because I don’t feel like I can do that after that first meeting that left me feeling so beaten down, they can’t move forward with the process. My options are to go back to said psychiatrist or to look elsewhere for help.

A large part of me feels like I just can’t go back to him, that he was so disrespectful of me and so arrogant that I don’t want to go back into that situation. I feel like not going back keeps me safe from the feelings he triggered in me. But there’s a part that says ‘you’re sabotaging your own treatment by not going to him. If you don’t play the game then you’ll never get treated. You need to stop being so difficult and do what’s expected of you’.

I feel trapped by these two conflicting thought patterns. I don’t know whether I should go back, whether I’m just being stubborn, whether I’m flat-out wrong. Or whether I’m within my rights, that I shouldn’t have to go back to someone that treated me badly (badly enough that my partner was fuming as well), that I’m keeping myself safe by not going back into a situation that made me feel unsafe.

My partner and I decided that we would take another path. We have the resources to be able to see a private psychiatrist, so we’re taking that option. At least when you’re paying them, you get to have the choice of who you see.

I feel a lot of guilt doing this. Most people can’t afford this option, and they have to just take whatever the system throws at them and make the best of it. So I feel guilty for being able to short-circuit the system. But the other option seems so much less appealing.


6 thoughts on “Running out of options

  1. Alison Fursdon

    I think that the issue is the same as the one that I had after your father left and I went to counselling – you are intelligent and articulate and that the “Dr” is not used to or able to accept that you can articulate the issues, the vast majority of people he sees probably sit in silence and just accept that he is “God”
    I have always used the resources that I have available to me to get what I want, and that you can afford private care, frees up your space for someone who is less likely to argue the point, and just accept.
    and that, my love, is not guilt worthy
    Love always

  2. aviets

    No guilt, please! You deserve respect and you weren’t receiving it. Do whatever it takes to get better, and gve yourself credit for having the guts to do just that. Thinking of you!

  3. Carrie Lange

    What ever resources and income you have that allows you to see a private doc, you have EARNED, so don’t ever feel guilty about spending your own money to get the medical help you need. Would you feel guilty if you could afford some new cancer curing treatment that most could not afford? I think it’s ok for you to feel bad for others who can’t afford it, but please don’t feel guilty. There’s a difference. 😉

    1. Wombat Post author

      Maybe I’m too much of a socialist for my own good, but I find it really hard to accept that when it comes to matters as essential as health care, you really do have to pay to get decent treatment. People with mental illnesses are often hard-up, especially if they’re ill enough that holding down a steady job is difficult. How do I justify giving them crappy treatment? The system is not giving us the care we need, and while I can opt out, there are just so many that have to grit their teeth and take whatever they can get. I find that so hard to accept.

  4. Mixx

    I’m fuming at this. You shouldn’t have to go back to see someone who you feel uncomfortable with! Almost everyone I’ve talked to has said you have to go through quite a few mental health professionals before you find someone who is right for you – and that’s not even meaning when they were downright rude and disrespectful like yours was. You should be taken at your word and swapped. The only situation I can see where all this extra “working it out” bullshit could maybe (MAYBE) be neccessary would be if the patient had requested changes a large number of times. You shouldn’t feel guilty at all, I’m just infuriated that because of that guy’s bullshit attitude you end up having to spend your own hard-earned money. Yes, maybe you can swing it, but you shouldn’t have to. I know a psychiatrist is different and I’m not sure what the money’s like for them, but I got 8 (after fighting, and after having to re-plead my case for 4 more after the first 4, which also had to be with a different person) funded sessions with a psychologist, but have never been back to anyone since due to the price. It was like I think $130 for an hour or less. I can’t remember if I was working or not at that time but even if i was i couldn’t have afforded that after expenses. And what if in your situation was someone who couldn’t, who desperately needed that help? So frustrating.

    1. Wombat Post author

      There’s no funding that I know of that’s available, so this is coming out of our pocket, at somewhere around the same rate you’ve come across. Everyone I’ve ever talked to says it can take a few changes before you find someone who’s right for you – why the hell does the system not allow for this? There are eight (as far as I know) psychiatrists that work at CMH in varying degrees of part-time-ness, but because they’re divided into team I only have a choice of two, and one of them is full up. So I’m shit out of luck there. I really do feel for anyone who is trapped in this situation and doesn’t have the option to go private – they’re stuck with care that doesn’t suit them, or they just fall through the cracks. This system is failing the people it’s supposed to be caring for.


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