I've been seeing therapists and psychiatrists off an on since I was 17. I've always had the definitive borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorders diagnoses from most all of them (don't get me started on the horrible, terrible, very bad first psychiatrist I ever had.) And of course, as tends to happen, it's hard to keep the same ones your whole life. Therapist-wise, I've only had two in the past 16 years. They have been great and I have learned so much from them. My first one retired and recommended the one that I currently see. I even drive 90 miles to see her as I moved in November, but I prefer not to start all over and you become kind of attached to your therapist.
Now psychiatrists, they tend to not stay put very long apparently. I've seen 5 over the years, but my current one has been around the longest for me. He is EXTREMELY smart, although a bit eccentric and prefers holistic approaches, but realizes that he's not in the majority with that theory in the world of psychiatry.
Anyway, when I first started seeing him was when he took over for the previous psychiatrist at my local hospital and clinics when she retired. (She was sooooo strange- and not too bright either.) So when Dr. O started, he wanted to get to know all his patients and spent about an hour with me on our first appointment, which tends to be unheard of these days with psychiatrists. In the appointments over the years since, he spends as much time with me as the mood permits. Some days I'm just there to get refills and other times I'm there in desperate need of a med change, increased dosage or some other answer that I don't have for myself. On the first meeting with him, he diagnosed me with PTSD. He asked me if I knew what it was and I said, "isn't it what people have when they come back to war?" But he explained in a really interesting way that I sure wish I could remember!
The hardest part about it is getting people I know to accept it. Of course no one understands you better than you, but everyone is a doctor in their own mind. Some people know me as outgoing- I've even done theatre! But it comes and goes- as does the mania and depression, sometimes feelings just last longer than other times. So people that know me well don't understand how I could possibly be agoraphobic. But they don't FEEL how I feel. They aren't in my head and to be honest, I don't want to allow them to be. Do you know what it feels like to have people treat you like you're being overdramatic, exaggerating the way you feel, when all you want is to feel "normal." Even loved ones look at you as if you're being a pain in the ass and want you to "get over it." And people wonder why I have trust issues and don't like to share my feelings.
I'm not trying to throw a pity-party, I'm writing this so that other people who are in my position realize that they aren't alone. (Definitely email me if you need someone to talk to.) I would like to think that the people I know that are reading this won't judge or won't roll their eyes to themselves, but again, something I can't change (God grant me the serenity...) Unfortunately, the "get over its" of the world will continue to exist around me and I will always be thankful that I have my therapist and psychiatrist who believe me and put stock in what I feel... even if I have to pay them to!
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