I wonder if people look at me and say, “Oh, she’s depressed [whispered with a ‘knowing’ snooty smile]. Don’t mind her. Just ignore what she says because we know better than she does.”I feel this way when I talk to doctors. I feel this way when I talk to counsellors and psychologists. And, I felt this way when I spoke to my psychiatrist.
Invalidated.Like what I was saying doesn’t matter. Like other people – in their infinite wisdom – know better than I do about my condition.
I’m not entirely stupid. I know the condescension. The snickers, the sneers, the ‘poor thing, she doesn’t know any better.’It’s frustrating. And, it adds to my feelings of invisibility. Today's entry is about my now former psychiatrist.
Example One, most visits with my psychiatrist:
I say, ‘I’m feeling dizzy, nauseas, headachy and tired most of the time.’
The psychiatrist, ‘It’s just a side-effect of the anti-depressants.’
‘But when will those feelings go away?’ I ask.
‘They will,’ he explains. ‘It’s just a side-effect.’
The medication is done, and I still feel sick: dizzy, nauseas, headachy and tired most of the time; I’m barely able to function on most days. So, I go see a walk-in clinic doctor at my new doctor’s office.
‘Doctor, why do I still feel this way?’
‘I don’t know,’ the doctor says. ‘I think I should order more tests.’
‘Thanks!’ I say. Relieved to be heard and praying they find something and wondering if the Effexor was masking or creating other health problems.
Example Two, ALL visits with my psychiatrist:
‘I don’t feel anything.’ I say to the psychiatrist.
‘Oh, yes you do,’ he says. ‘I see emotion in you every time you visit. You’re not flat.’
‘You don’t understand,’ I start to cry. ‘Yes I get upset, but I’m just a ghost in this body. I do things, but I’m just a ghost.’
‘But you’re crying,’ the psychiatrist says. ‘That means you’re experiencing emotion.’
‘I don’t though,’ I try to explain. ‘I don’t feel any normal emotion. I haven’t been able to mourn the deaths of those around me – like a normal person should. I don’t feel any happiness, just sadness. I am a shell.’
‘See,’ says the psychiatrist. ‘You feel things. You don’t have anhedonia. Besides, do you really want to feel more sad?’
‘I just want to feel normal. Have normal reactions again. Or be happy. Experience life again. I’m tired of being a ghost.’
The psychiatrist nods and smiles like I said nothing.
I am still a ghost, faking my way through life and life’s situations.
Example Three, ALL visits with my psychiatrist:
Me: “The medication [Effexor] hasn’t made a difference. I still feel the same as I did before I started taking it.”
Psychiatrist: “No. You’ve improved. I see improvement.”
Me: “Huh? I don’t feel any different or any better. How can this medication be working?”
Psychiatrist: “It is. You are much better. Trust me.”
Despite being off the medication, I am still the same. The Effexor had little – if any - impact on my psychological well-being, and perhaps was detrimental to my health. Groan.
Thankfully, my psychiatrist ‘fired’ me, so I don’t have to see someone who doesn’t listen to me any more (I hope). And, my doctor will refer me to a new psychiatrist (waiting list CRAZY long). Sigh.
Of course, the psychiatrist isn’t the only one to dismiss my symptoms, but you get the drift…