This is Going to Be Difficult

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The blog title is (are?) the exact words I heard my primary care doctor utter out in the foyer with his receptionist as I was waiting in one of his two exam rooms on Tuesday morning. (I’ve always known those rooms have no sound-proofing; now I know it for a fact.) The issue at hand was my old psychiatrist–an old school friend of my primary care doctor–abruptly retiring and referring his patients to a small list of other, allegedly comparable therapists.

Dr. Knowles walked into the exam room and asked me how I was doing. I jokingly repeated his exact words I’d just heard him say: “This is going to be difficult.” He brushed it off and laughed, but I wouldn’t let it go. “How so, is this going to be difficult? Am I that difficult?” I’d caught him; he was embarrassed and couldn’t respond in a witty manner. The rest of the appointment doesn’t matter much; I called three of the recommended therapists from the list provided by my retired psychiatrist’s receptionist and had gotten nowhere. It wasn’t until today–Thursday, 2/02, two days later–when I called my corporate health insurance and got transferred to the NV Dept of Public and Behavioural Health–that I got a clear answer on who might be a proper, new therapist for me. The first and only question the nice, empathetic-seeming, very young-sounding girl on the phone asked me was,

“Are you suicidal or thinking of taking someone else’s life?”

I should end with that; there’s no need for me to rant on why people seeking mental health assistance in this country (or any other one, for that matter) feel ostracized when seeking out help. Again I should’ve asked, “How so, is this going to be difficult?” How/why/”I-don’t-get-it” that asking for referrals for therapists who accept my health insurance is sufficient grounds for asking me if I’m going to kill myself or someone else? (I’m sure it’s state or national law to ask that, but still.) If I were still the scared, 20 year-old version of myself (the first time I sought out therapy, and it ended up being at no cost to me from a very qualified psychiatrist in my hometown), I wouldn’t have gotten past that question on the phone. Simple as that; I would’ve retreated back into my depressed and–yes–suicidal shell and probably wouldn’t still be here today. So there’s my take on that, politics, religion, etc. re: mental health at the wayside. Is is that bad to ask for someone’s impartial advice/guidance to speak to about life, love, work, vices, etc.? Apparently in this country it is, and that’s been made clear to me time and again during the last few days.

This blog was going to be about my experience at Sundance (it was amazing and I had a great time…we had the most snow they’ve had in 10 years during the film festival). Now that trip doesn’t seem to matter so much, nor does staying in the chalet with Parker Posey and a few friends of my friend Larry, who asked me to go. I’ve taken the last four days off as a mental health staycation, which again–I’m quite sure–means that *I’m losing it*. I don’t actually believe that, but millions of people in this country do. It’s, “cowardly” and, “out of character” to take a few days for one’s self. I certainly don’t agree, and I don’t care if that makes me, the situation, or my life difficult. Maybe it’s going to be difficult, or maybe it’s not. There will be lots of meditation, walking, and prayer in my near future.

Here’s to a (not-so-difficult) February,

brt

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1 Comment

  1. “I’m sure it’s state or national law to ask that, but still.”

    No , I think it is worse than a law. But you’re close . I think it is a liability disclaimer, because several lawyers and families have profited off of people’s actions of murder and suicide. Basic hunt for the deepest pockets to sue after a tragedy. Therefore now we all got to suffer with this “canned disclaimer” and greedy people still sue. It may be causing more deaths than it has prevented, by running off “shy” people, because it never was meant to help in the first place, IMO. Sorry for the downer. But yea, I hear this question almost every time I go to or even call a doctor and it perturbs me when I think about the “why”, as I mentioned above.
    It is definitely a question most sensible people would never answer yes to, because a yes, will force that provider/doctor/etc. to look further possibly resulting in loss of freedom and property which could well just depress a depressed person further.

    Reply

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