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Don't like my new psychiatrist...what should I do???

(24 Posts)
pie Thu 05-Jun-03 12:02:33

I just got home after meeting the psychiatrist that runs the antenatal psychology clinic attached to the maternity hospital.

A bit of background. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression when I was 15 after my first suicide attempt, 2 years in therapy, discharged. Another attempt when I was 19, no therapy. Breakdown when I was 21, 2 suicide attempts in 2 weeks, put on drugs for the first time. Had DD, been on and off drugs but no more breakdowns and suicide attempts in 5 years. No therapy as no one would treat me, not that I care as I think all my local psychiatric services are crap. When I had my breakdown at 21 it was coupled with an acute period of bulimia and laxative abuse when my BMI dropped to 17. I haven't 'been' bulimic in 18 months. I had a severely physically and emtionally abusive childhood at the hands of my schizophrenic father which I think bascially triggered my behaviour at 15.

Anyway as some may know I was on anti-depressants when I got pregnant and came off over a 3 week period (too quickly, but I wanted to come off as I was so worried about the effects of the pregnancy). I had begun (just before I found out I was preggers) to think that I was reaching some sort of level of self acceptance. As I said I wasn't actively bulimic, no longer even thought about acting on suicidal tendencies, even when my first marriage broke down and I had a m/c I managed, with medication, to hold it together. I felt like I had turned a corner.

Some may also know that I have been VERY ill with this pregnancy and that DH intially asked me to have a termination. We have no money, we live in too small a place.

Knowing these things the midwife at my booking appointment offered to refer me to the guy I saw today.

Honest to God, I'm not going to do anything but quote him when I write what he said...

I'm not depressed, infact I may never have been. I'm simply over emotional and think of myself as a victim. If I want my DH's support then I have to be kind to him and complement him, then he will be able to be supportive. He said that I have to take control over how I react to things (which was the only thing he said that I agreed with) and that basically if I feel bad then it is my doing, that I'm locked into destructive thought patterns, of my own creating and that I have no one to blame but myself. He repeatedly told me that I'm too emotional and oversensitive and I have to stop. He doesn't believe in drug therapy (not that I could have any as I'm pregnant) and wants me take up Yoga. I told him I couldn't do yoga, what with the crutches and the SPD. He said he didn't see why not, so I pointed out that the phsyiotherapist at HIS hospital told me not to, one slip and I could fracture my pelvis etc etc. So he railroaded me into making an appointment with im in 2 weeks to teach me meditation, which must work (his words) because people in India don't have problems like mine.

When taking my history I only got to tell him about my first suicide attempt and didn't mention my breakdown or bulimia because, honestly, he interrupted me to tell me that I was too emotional. He just kept stopping me each time I talked to say this. And when I tried to interrupt him as I felt he was repeating himself he said 'Do you mind letting me finish?'

I have been asking myself all the way home, was he just telling me something I didn't want to hear? Do I need someone to be aggressive with me? Have I been conning myself these last 5 years that I have been on the road to recovery? Do I think of myself as a victim? Is my DH being the way he is because I'm unkind to him? I'm in total tears thinking that I really have maufactured this whole situation. Is he right?

Should I go back?

Finbar Thu 05-Jun-03 12:23:32

I'm not sure if i can be of any help - but it strikes me that his constant use of the term ' over-emotional' is strange ....what does he mean? He's not being very specific and therfore not v. helpful is he?I though we were always taught with childrearing or any sort of feedback to criticise the behaviour not the person - he sounds like he's talking about you and not the behaviours.

Hope you are feeling Ok, I can't believe you have manufactured the situation - don't be hard on yourself.

bondgirl Thu 05-Jun-03 12:30:44

God pie, I've just read your message. What an utter w*****! No, no, no and no. He should be struck off. AS for that India comment, he can just f*** off. He's probably been on some one day course telling him to not rely so much on meds, so he comes up with that crap at the first instance. If he wants you to be less emotional and sensitive , he should give you the tools to do that, offer you CBT or whatever, not just tell you to do yoga. I've never heard such nonsense.

I haven't been on mumsnet for long, so I didn't know your history or anything. but it sounds as though, far from being a victim, you are coping extremely well with an extremely difficult and horrendous history.

You need to find some proper support. I don't know what kinds of therapy you have tried, or
how supportive your midwife is. But please don't be browbeaten by some arrogant twat of a psychiatrist into thinking it is all your fault.
Good luck and please let us know.

aloha Thu 05-Jun-03 12:34:30

Hmmm... I'd say don't go back to this man. You don't like him and he doesn't sound like he'd be any help to you at all. If you want to carry on seeing someone ask for someone else. He sounds unkind and harsh, particuarly to a pregnant woman in a difficult situation, poor health and a lot of pain. I agree that sometimes the truth can be hard to hear, but this sounds very different to that IMO. I think that psychiatry is wildly overrated anyway. Cognitive behavioural therapy on the other hand is shown to work as well or better than pills and to be of proven worth in all sorts of conditions, including helping people find ways of coping with chronic pain. Maybe if you wanted to continue seeing someone you could ditch Dr Mean and find a CBT therapist to help you through what could be a very emotionally gruelling few months coping with your illness.

M2T Thu 05-Jun-03 12:40:36

NO NO NO - unless it's to punch him in the nose! Speak to whoever it was that referred to to him in the first place and ask to be referred to someone else! If they ask why then tell them what you've just posted here.

I think it's disgusting the way you were treated. And it was totally unconstructive. I mean, do you feel better.... more in control.... stronger?? Doesn't sound like it. He is NOT helping.

Poor you Pie - you've really been through it though! You deserve some proper professional HELP not hinderance.

Good luck.

marialuisa Thu 05-Jun-03 12:41:38

This isn't exactly my are of psych but from what you've written here I think the guy was way out of line!

He hasn't got a proper history and in my (semi-professional, I'm a psych workingP/T in student counselling, P/T research) opinion he should not have been making such judgemental comments at an initial meeting.

Yes, it's possible that you are too emotional and over-sensitive but that alone doesn't trigger the problems you mentioned. I think relaxation may help, BUT only insofar as it can benefit just about anyone and i do not think he is the person to go through this with you.

You say you feel you've been managing ok, if you now want extra support that's fine. However you do not have to see this particular guy again and you can request to see someone else without giving a reason. From what i've read here he shouldn't be near pregnant women. I think what really bothers me is he has made such statements on a first appointment, it's not professional, I wouldn't dream of doing this and don't know anyone else who would. If he'd known you for a number of years, maybe...

Please don't start to question yourself about your behaviour etc too closely as it sounds like you've done a lot of good work and it would be sad if that was undone by a jerk!

SueW Thu 05-Jun-03 12:41:47

I think it's fantastic that you have been relatively stable for 5 years since having your daughter. Do you think having her to think about has helped you to stay on track, even with the occasional help of drugs?

About the psychiatrist - I think if he thinks that taking a tough line with you will spur you into a positive frame of mind, then he is taking a huge chance. Do you think he feels you would rise against this and try to prove him wrong? (I have to admit that if someone told me I was a victim, I'd go all out to prove I wasn't.)

I agree with you that he has a good point about taking control over how you react to things. I've read this in various life coaching articles in magazines that one of the keys to feeling better about yourself is realising that it is easier to change how you react to someone else than to change the way they behave towards you.

Perhaps now you've written all this down, you could take it apart bit by bit and think about why you reacted as you did and explore different reactions and see how they make you feel. When you find a reaction that makes you feel good, hold that feeling and work out when you can use it again.

E.g. the suggestion about meditation. Why don't people in India have your problems? Because they struggle to stay alive? Because they don't live in a society that requires them to acquire as much as possible in the minimum amount of time? How would it feel to meditate? Do you think it could help? Would you be interested in yoga if it weren't for the SPD?

Pupuce's DH is a yoga teacher IIRC. Maybe you could email her through her website and see if he can help.

Good luck. Hope this doesn't sound patronising or like amateur psychobabble. It's written from the heart of someone who sometimes feels she is slipping down a deep dark tunnel but somehow the (metaphorical) sun seems to come out just before I get there.

suedonim Thu 05-Jun-03 12:44:40

Good grief, what a load of rubbish he's been spouting, Pie. How on earth is that meant to help you? He's living in cloud cuckoo land. The thing about India, from the knowledge I gleaned from an Ozzie nurse, is that women still have an old-fashioned support system, with their extended families and the wider community and it's nothing to do with meditation! Is there anywhere else you can turn to for support? Have you been in contact with the NCT, as they have an experience register and may be able to suggest something.

Marina Thu 05-Jun-03 12:44:52

Agree with Aloha about trying to find a cognitive behavioural therapist and NOT going back to this man, Pie. He sounds an irresponsible nightmare. Am I right in deducing from the circumstances of your referral that he is the hospital's main source of psychotherapy support for pregnant women? He is utterly unsuited to the job. Of course he is not right. How simply dreadful for you. Report him.

sobernow Thu 05-Jun-03 12:59:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mmm Thu 05-Jun-03 13:02:46

Poor Pie. It's essential that you like and trust the person who's helping you . this one sounds awful and totally not right for you. Demand another.It sounds as though you need long term commitment and not just a quick fix. You're worth it.

WideWebWitch Thu 05-Jun-03 13:05:37

Pie, I agree with everyone else. If you feel up to it, report him (I know what it's like to not feel up to it though). If not, then ask to be referred to someone else. Nothing else to add to the good advice below. Recommending yoga and the India comments sound particularly dodgy.

willow2 Thu 05-Jun-03 13:40:51

No way should you continue with this arsehole. Report him for being crap at his job and demand to be referred to someone else. Don't let some complete xxxx add to your problems.

pie Thu 05-Jun-03 14:47:27

Well I went and cried all over DH, and asked him if I was mean and this is why we were having problems. He said of course not, and then rolled his eys and laughed at the whole yoga/India thing.

I agree that one of the things I found so hard was that he was making generalisations about me after 50 minutes of converstation, which didn't include my full psychiatric history. And his assumption that what every previous psychiatrist, and I've seen about 20 over the past 11 years was wrong. And that he thought that I shouldn't use medication, but I've never been ashamed to admit that it was a tool than enabled me to break a cycle and save my own life.

DH thinks that I should go back though and I'm getting all defensive and angry at this suggestion. I feel that the only thing I came home with today was feelings of overwhelming incompetence which I didn't have when I left home this morning.

SueW, yes having my DD was the biggest event in the whole turning my life around process. I grew up in a home where mental illness ruled every whim my father had. And although I'm not violent or psyhotic like him I didn't want DD to grow up ever feeling unsafe in her own home. Thats not to say that I don't sometimes burst into tears for reasons DD (or DH for the matter) don't understand, but I do my damnest to make sure that any impact on her life is kept to a minimum. Last December a child psychiatrist and an NSPCC social worker came to see how DD was, as word has just filtered through that I have switched medications (about 7 months after the event) and they wanted to check everything was ok. They have never been back, and all I got was positive feedback that considering my own circumstances DD was one of the happiest most balanced children they have ever seen and that I was doing a good job.

I still have my regular psychiatric appointments lined up, I just thought it might be good to see someone who was supposed to understand the issues that pregnant women in particular can face, and yes this is who pregnant women with difficulties at Queen Charlottes get to see.

His recommendation of yoga was, he said based on the fact the he doesn't think I have ever had a illness in a psychiatric sense! But then he didn't bother to listen to my full history.

He also said that relaxation techniques were the only thing he could offer me, that is literally what he said. And that if I didn't want to take him up on this then there was nothing he could do for me.

I don't feel up to reporting him right now, though I will consider it when I have had the baby and never have to go near the hospital again. I was wondering whether I should write to him, cancel my appointment and perhaps outline all the things I have been through, and point out that I may have felt less misunderstood and personally attacked if he had really listened to me. And that if I have not in the past been Clinical depressed I don't know who has.

Or should I just leave a message cancelling.

I'm so angry with him right now.

JJ Thu 05-Jun-03 17:36:48

Pie, I read your first post here as I was running out the door and have just gotten home, only to go out in 15 minutes. But I've been thinking about it and my thoughts are *exactly* what you just wrote. He didn't take the time to even take your medical history! Any doctor who is not crap takes a patient's medical history and begins there. And any doctor who is good will listen to what a patient has to say, just in general, I think. This must hold even more true in psychiatry than other specialities, I think.

If you have a doctor (any doctor, really, even one not related to the pregnancy or psychiatry) you can discuss this with, it'd probably help. I've found our best doctors from the doctors I like best (if that makes any sense....).

My go and destink myself before going out. I hope things get better for you.

ScummyMummy Thu 05-Jun-03 20:23:05

Absolutely agree with you and the others, Pie. Please bin this utter fool. He can't even do an initial assessment right... grrr, I want to slap him, I'm afraid. What a cretinous div he does sound.

scoobysnax Thu 05-Jun-03 20:57:40

Without doubt he is not the right psychiatrist for you - don't stick with this one IMO.
The victim state of mind idea is an interesting one though - often trying to take control of a situation is a good way forward.

Dannie Thu 05-Jun-03 21:57:16

Crikey, Pie, there are some cretins out there. Some years ago, I saw a psych after the death of my previous dp. he gave me what appeared to be the 'How depressed are you?' quiz from Cosmopolitan magazine, and suggested I get treatment for my underlying depression and go back to England and find a nice man to marry. After the initial shock, I reflected that I'd had a terrible experience but was still alive, and that I was good at my job, whereas he was apparently completely incompetent. I came out of it feeling surprisingly OK considering the uselessness of the consultation.
You sound like you've been through a load of stuff and you're coping, whereas he is paid to support women in your situation and is failing completely. There are incompetents in every profession, unfortunately, it's just like getting a useless plumber except the damage is worse.

October Thu 05-Jun-03 22:49:09

Message withdrawn

pupuce Sat 07-Jun-03 18:35:27

Pie- I can't comment on your psychiatrist but I can comment on yoga/meditation.
DH is a yoga teacher and I teach antenatal yoga.
You can do AN yoga with SPD but not (IMO) with your severity of it.
I agree with him that meditation would do YOU a world of good.... including with your current physical symptoms.
There are good meditation tapes to start from.
Do a search for Yoga Nidra on the web - even on Amazon... you need to get the hang of these but they really should help if you do it regularely. Or get the book "Elements of the Kabalah" there are meditation exercises in it.
DH says - lie in bed (you already do ) and count your (natural) breath- count 1 inhale, 1 exhale, 2 inhale, 2 exhale, etc - when the mind wonders (and it will) just come back to counting the breath. Do it a few times ( I count to 50) for about 10 minutes - morning and evening.
It will make you feel better - if it doesn't please tell me !

pie Sat 07-Jun-03 18:58:49

Thanks pupuce, I already practice relaxation techniques, sometimes they help sometimes they don't.

I have to confess that I have 'issues' with the word meditation. Growing up my father used it as a form of punnishment and isolation, sending me to the shrine room we had in our house usually before laying into my physically. Culturally he saw nothing wrong with this, his father was a devout buddhist who managed to put my father in hospital twice as a child. Funnily enough my dad is now a buddhist monk. I tend to quite consciously avoid anything labelled as meditation, though do practice my breathing in a similar way to the method your DH suggests.

Ridiculous isn't it? Something that is supposed to help and heal you has been turned into something that litterally still feels me with terror and nausea 8 years after I moved out of home...I'll get their one day though.

I did try to explain this problem to the psychiatrist but he told me that I was being over sensitive. The more I think about it the more I think that he just reminded me of my dad.

emwi Sat 07-Jun-03 20:39:07

I wouldn't even think twice about it. You know you're right about this Pie. Trust yourself and cancel the next appointment, don't see this guy again.

SueW Sun 08-Jun-03 09:50:49

Oh pie, no wonder you have issues with meditation.

I wouldn't describe what pupuce suggests as meditiation - I'd call it relaxation. I don't know if there is actually a difference but I don't like what I think of as the religious/spiritual side of meditation but I don't have any problems with relaxing!

mears Sun 08-Jun-03 10:20:23

pie - you are within your rights to be asked to be referred to someone else. Is there another doctor at the department? You are not going to get any benefit from this man who sounds as though he is in the wrong job! Have you told the midwife what happened? Perhaps she can help get a referral to someone else. Sorry I can't help more constructively.

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