Psychiatry claims another victim

…or Dona Juana falls for it again.

I have been having a really horrible week. So horrible, in fact, that almost every night on call I get to a point where it is difficult to avoid thinking about suicide seriously…climbing up to the top of a tall building and jumping. I have been inconsolable. I haven’t really been able to talk about this to anyone. Just…all I can think of is the relief I could have from being me.

I wonder what happened to the version of me that was okay. But I know. Therapy happened.

Now, today I had to see the shrink again. I mentioned that I hadn’t been feeling well, that it had been difficult for me lately. I did not go into detail about the chronic suicidal thoughts and so on. Figured it would come up if it would. I went into the appointment knowing that I am in desperate need of some kind of relief, comfort – maybe a med change, definitely a little support…and also knowing well that I wouldn’t find it there.

Finally, I just asked rather simply, “What the hell is wrong with me? That I have everything and can’t just live.” I also may have mentioned how it seemed like being in therapy – again, his idea, not mine – seemed to just be making things worse. That instead of living my good moments and enjoying them, I was stuck on monitoring my feelings all the time, noticing pathology everywhere.

His answer to what was wrong with me: “I don’t think anymore that you have bipolar. It’s a personality disorder.”

This came out of nowhere, though I guess deep down I knew somewhere not to trust him. This is after letting me spend over a year mourning the fact that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, taking that to heart, coming to see myself as broken and learning to live with that. All, of course, on the basis of his diagnosis.

I didn’t think it would be possible to go into that appointment and come out feeling even worse than I already did. But he did.

I just feel sick and betrayed. Someone who encouraged me to trust and trust – despite my better instincts – encouraged me to do talk therapy, despite the fact that it only caused me harm in the past, was so dishonest with me, never would have even told me unless I pushed for an answer, and even then couldn’t be honest enough to name the name.

The most horrible part: his solution was to increase the frequency of therapy.

No, wait, that’s not the most horrible part. The most horrible part is that I was reasonably happy with my life until I went back to him in late winter. Now, thanks to all this therapy, I’m back on the same med cocktail I was to start with after losing months of my life to the misery of many unsuccessful med changes, and am an absolute fucking mess.

So when they ask how therapy is harmful, here is my story. I feel okay, and that gets me a bipolar diagnosis. I spend a long time in mourning, trying to come to terms with that. It hurt. Then the so-called helper decided it wasn’t even a right diagnosis and actually did not even intend to tell me that.

I am out several thousand dollars, at least six months of needless suffering, and once again, cheated by psychiatry.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t been through the same thing four years ago, promised myself to never, ever go back to therapy, for these exact reasons, and then walking into it again. Six more months of wasted time, wasted money (money is a big worry for me), and most of all, personal hurt and dashed hopes. I can certify that I came out of therapy worse than I went in.

For a while, when I quit last time, part of what I promised myself was that if I felt the urge again to go back to any kind of therapy, to immediately go out and spend the cost of a session on something that would give me pleasure. It made me feel infinitely better than therapy ever did.

So now, after another painful and expensive lesson, I am back to where I was four years ago, with additional hurt, in a fairly severe crisis with nowhere to turn, and with no med doc to fix this shit. And a new, deep wound to add to it all.

I probably should go out right now and buy myself something nice with the value of a session. But I’m too fucking tired, too fucking full of wishing for death, for relief. Of course, now I can’t even kill myself, because that would just be some crazy borderline manipulation.

God, I promised myself then never to do this to myself again. Back then, I said to myself, this is it. No more therapy. No more money and time and hope in a dead-end. No more subjecting myself to the judgment of some of the most fucked-up people on the planet. No more looking for relief, for humanity, for help, where there is none to be found. I swore to myself deeply then to never go back.

I guess with time, the reasons I was so adamant got blurry. I managed to forget. Managed to buy into all that crap about how people in that profession really care, are committed to service. Are sensitive. Are empathetic. May even care about patients.

So now, I am out a drug provider. And I am, if anything, worse off than I was this morning with no hope in sight.

I’ll probably call Jake. Just to get reassurance that I’m not personality disordered, a touch of real life, real people. The things that psychiatrists shy away from more than anything.

Thanks for listening, whoever is out there. And if you learn one thing from me, it’s this: don’t go to a fucking shrink. And if you do, never trust one.

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5 Comments

  1. That must be awful having come to terms with bipolar and then being told that actually its a bersonality disorder. If you dont trust your psychiatrist, do you trust your new diagnosis?

  2. No. The truth is, if that’s what he really thinks, this means time to quit.

  3. …and I, as a doctor, am allowed my opinion, and personality disorders, in my mind, don’t even exist. It is a pejorative way of describing a patient the doctor doesn’t like. I have never accepted a diagnosis like that on any of my patients.

  4. Personality disorders are often just a word for “the doctor has a problem they are projecting onto their patient”. I once heard an ER attending say “personality disorders are people who you meet and want to punch within 5 minutes”. He was a complete jerk in other ways as well….particularly towards women. It is a pejorative, and often a lazy diagnosis (or non-diagnosis). Who needs a shrink who pathologises everything?

  5. wow I am really not sure about that dx. I could see how it is possible there is a borderline component (the sort of trauma you endured), but how is it possible to say youre not bipolar? Youve got all the classic symptoms of it. Unless the hypomanias were caused by medications and Im not seeing that you were on something when you went hypo.
    I would seriously get some more opinions on this if indeed youve been hypo without a medication causing it.
    I still really think you need to dig into that trauma in order to heal it, though.
    I suffered through a lot of abuse myself and I cant imagine how broken Id still be without the relief Ive gotten through therapy. At least now im functional and I can turn off a lot of those big red butons that used to set me off.


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