Why oh why can I not fire this shrink?

Thanks so much to everyone who commented supportively. It means a lot.

I was going to cancel the shrink, having hit such a low that I knew that I’m beyond help by anything human. But then I thought, “That’s ridiculous, to not go to the doctor because you feel too bad.”

I went today and laid out how I just can’t take much anymore and to please help me. That I am terribly independent and stubborn and all that, but I’m really reaching my breaking point, that a year of mood episodes almost non-stop is breaking me down. I had no idea how hard it would be to admit this.

His answer: “You can’t be that bad off. You’re wearing makeup.”

Never mind that I had just come from work at a new site rather than coming in after a call night, or that makeup is often my last defense. I subscribe to the “at least you looked good” school, which says that when everything else goes to shit, at least try to look professional.

This provoked a moderately angry response, which earned me a lecture on how bad a person I am, how if only I weren’t so angry all the time I wouldn’t have a mood disorder, how I’m too negative, that I need to just grow up. I’m an adult and a doctor now, I can’t allow myself to slip into manic episodes because they are fun (this was in response to the complaint that lithium is making me an idiot).

I have a  bad temper, but I don’t think I have anger issues – I never have exploded at someone in an inappropriate way. Yes, I am angry at this guy, but fucking up a year of my life and then blaming me for not wanting to help myself – when I have not taken ONE sick day or anything – seems like I have a right to be a little angry.

Anyway. I don’t know why I can’t quit. Part of it is that he’s convenient – conveniently located, flexible about seeing me at the freak hours I can actually make it, and not affiliated with any hospital or clinic I work at. And at least he’s seen my actual episodes. And honestly, most shrinks are idiots – incidentally today I had to call for a consult from the psychopharmacologist he wanted to refer me to and that guy was a complete idiot as well.

It seems I need to just stop going. That’s the odd thing about it all; when I actually seek help, I seem to get worse fast. (One of my complaints today was that over the past year, I’ve turned into a full blown psych patient.) When I am forced to get by on my own, as hard and lonely and scary as it may be, I do.

I guess I need to remember that psychiatry isn’t the answer, isn’t even much of an answer.

It’s the time of year to be thinking about repentance, being better, making amends. I think that might be contributing to my guilt-drenched nightmares. If I am that horrible of a person, which I certainly might be, though not for the reasons he thinks, then I pray for forgiveness from everyone who has ever had to deal with me. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. This is all I can think of lately, when my brain manages to function at all: how very very sorry I am for everything, for poisoning this sorry world further, for all the people I have hurt and will hurt. I am so sorry.

Soon it will be signed. I’ll do the best I can in these seven days that are left. I wish it would just be signed and sealed, come what may. I hope for a better year, though I don’t think I deserve one.  And I’m too drugged to even have enough feeling to repent. Still, may the God that lithium erased have mercy on my soul.



  1. You don’t need to deserve teshuvah. You just need to need it. That’s the mercy of it all.

    May teshuvah and tzedakah and tefilla make easier what the year has in store.

  2. Hi Sara,
    My sense is that you are a good person. I really do not see any “out of line “anger with your pdoc. If ANYONE said ““You can’t be that bad off. You’re wearing makeup.” to me I think I’d blow a gasket. That is just plain uninformed stupidity. Yes for some, not being able to dress or wash etc are symptoms, but like you I can pull myself together if I have to. Lots of people with depression and bipolar are like that.

    Also, for him to tell you to “grow up”, when you are explaining that Lithium is not suiting you is where I think I might let him have it. Mood disorders and mood functioning have nothing to do with growing up….we have FUCKING ILLNESSES!!! Now he’s making me mad! Grrrrr!

    I know this note it very derisive of your pdoc, but, while I do not like to tell anyone what to do, my advice for you is to get out of his sick hands before he has the opportunity to do anymore damage to you.

    I have had the experience that my mood disorder is worse since seeing a pdoc, but I believe the cause is not the pdco, it’s the worsening of my condition, a lot of crappy therapists before I met him, and how long I left my illness without getting help. It has been a difficult and long struggle for me.

    I survive and keep trying because I know I have a pdoc who cares abiout and respects me and has a great deal of knowledge about mood disorders. Please, please, please find a person who will care for you and dump the jerk who seems to have absolutely no idea how much he is hurting you.

    You are a good and caring person, you deserve compassion and acceptance. Make amends to yourself and care for you this upcoming year.
    Compassion and hope and hugs,

  3. Please, you are seeing the wrong therapist. Yes, you need someone to prescribe your medication, but that does not mean that this is the right person to also have your therapy with. Promise me that you will find someone else to look after you, as a matter of fact, I think you can do that almost better than anybody else can. You should be able to find someone with compassion. Why are you not taking care of this? It almost sounds as if you are boycotting yourself and half believing the things this shrink tells you. Come on, stand up for yourself and find another therapist in another clinic.

  4. He sounds like he’s as big a pr*ck as my former pdoc. What an ignorant, prejudiced and just plain stupid thing to say. Wish I could help.

  5. Your psych sounds just awful…i get the idea he actually wants you to feel even worse about youself than you already do….how can such a person live with himself…he is the “bad” person, certianly not you! i know you for what you truly are…a kind, loving caring individual, who maybe even cares too much and never gets any of that love and caring back…and i am sooo very sorry for that. You deserve so much to be loved and treasured…and you are by me and by many others.

  6. Thank you everyone, thanks T. And I hope I don’t give the impression that I never get love and caring back. I’ve been especially blessed and lucky and received far more love than I deserve.

  7. And I don’t really think he “wants” me to feel worse, I think maybe somewhere he is trying to push me to change…it’s just that his grasp of everything is so far off that it isn’t really helpful.

  8. You have to keep in mind, you are not your illness, your disease…

  9. Sara, i am also in the habit of putting a lot of make up on when i am not well. it is my cover. i know about the stigma that the society has about paranoid schizos and i do anything in my power trying to avoid it. coz i HAVE an ugly disease but i AM NOT the disease itself and i hate it when my shrink treats me that way… it is just a shallow point of view. in my case i went off my anti psychotics and just coz i looked good, so i must had been well off and he didn’t even notice it! otherwise he had threaten to lock me up sooo many times if i ever went off my meds… so that one pretty much came right back at him (my shrink) and hit him where it hurts!
    smile Sara and i think you are beautiful! love, Milo

  10. I could not agree with Jay more. I just wish I could have said it like that.
    Ditto to Irene on boycotting yourself (thanks, Irene – think I’ll use that phrase with some other good folks I know).

    The fact that your shrink thinks your anger causes your bipolar is absolutely ludicrous. COME ON!!!

    Bipolar is not caused by moods. It’s a chemical condition in your brain that causes mood swings (which in my experience can be exacerbated by external factors).

    Any shrink worth the diploma on her/his wall should know that.

    Whew. Vent over.

  11. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog about the world of “shrinks”. Wow, we do share alot – Wellbutrin/Lithium the whole 9 yards, and now the shrink issue. A long road isn’t it – but we’re strong, and we’ll weather it.


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