A Journey towards Integration
I had my last appointment with my shrink today, although I didn’t start out knowing that. I went in with two purposes:
One: On the advice of my DBT therapist, I wanted to build a better relationship with my psychiatrist to improve my care and let him get to know the “real” me, my raging inner Borderline that makes me feel suicidal and terrified, rather than the confidence and competency I learned to project (as a survival skill from when I was a child, pretending so desperately that I was always “together” and “perfect,” pretending that I wasn’t being abused so they wouldn’t do it anymore). I plan to apply for disability; I’m not currently capable of holding down a full-time job — in fact, I’ve never had a job for longer than a year. I wanted him to get to know me better so he could reach his own conclusions.
Two: I wanted, and still want, to try (again) at finding a medication that can reduce my intense moods. I know the effect my mother’s mood swings had on me (personality disorder, anyone?) and I need to be better than that for my own child. I don’t want my little boy to feel terrorized by my moods.
I described this to Dr. Y, and started to cry. He handed me some tissues, told me to “calm down,” and told me that he didn’t want to treat me, did I want a second opinion? I didn’t understand.
“Why?” I asked.
“You’re different,” he said. “You don’t belong here.”
“I don’t understand,” I repeated. “I want to kill myself for a few days at least every month…”
“I should call Child Protective Services,” he interjected. I distractedly wondered if he meant it as a threat.
“They’re already involved!” I cried. (Children’s Aid was called this week by the relationship counsellor my partner and I see. My partner and I had a fight on Christmas morning that turned physical. Our child was sleeping and not in the room. My partner brought it up so we could work out better plans so that it wouldn’t happen again. But the counsellor didn’t seem to want to hear the details.)
“You don’t have a degree in clinical psychology, so it would be inappropriate for me to discuss my reasoning with you.” I detected a faint note of hostility in his manner.
“But don’t I have the right to as much information as possible about my condition?” I asked.
“Yes. Good,” he replied. “Maybe you need someone more understanding, right? If you would like a second opinion, I can see if someone else here will take a look at your chart. You best bet is to go back to your family doctor and get a referral to someone else,” he told me.
“I still don’t understand.” I sat back in my chair for a moment, trying to take this in.
“Look,” he said, spreading his hands in front of him, “I feel uncomfortable with this, er, situation. Do you understand?”
I sat there with my mouth open. I couldn’t argue with his feelings.
He turned back to his desk, then looked over his shoulder.
“We’re done here,” he dismissed me. I got up and walked out. But just before I opened the door, the masochist in me took control of my voice and I gently sputtered “thank you” before I left.
I feel shocked, confused, rejected, alone. WTF?!? Help!
I’m trying to practice mindfulness, ACCEPTS (by watching Downton Abbey), IMPROVE (encouraging myself that I can get through this) and Radical Acceptance (there’s nothing I can do about it except try to get another doctor).
Update: Two days later. I’m still overwhelmed by my former psychiatrist’s behaviour. I feel like someone knocked me down, winded me; even though I’m getting back up, my stomach aches and I can’t breathe. I’m trying to separate my self from the Borderline, listening to reasonable and emotion minds at once. It is a fine balance, sometimes swinging towards one side or the other.
I, Beauty, am trying really hard not to take it personally. Maybe the doctor misinterpreted me, maybe he just doesn’t want a BPD patient. Maybe (more likely considering his strange, unprofessional manner) he has his own issues and really should be on the couch himself.
But then the Borderline grips me, feeds my growing indignation and fear — my mind starts racing, and I quiver and cry with rage and self-hatred. Occasionally my Borderline is a great, hairy, raging beast (less often now that I’m learning and practicing DBT). More often she is a Wormtongue, an evil witch who whispers in my ear that all my worst fears are true. The doctor sees right through you, she breathes into my mind, and dislikes you. He knows you are a fraud. He is disgusted with you for being so fake, so artificially weak. But my problems are REAL! I want to shout. Your problems are NOT real! You won’t be able to get another doctor, you know. Dr. Y will tell all the other doctors his professional opinion, and no one will see you. You’re on your own.
And so…breathe. Distract. Go play with partner and son. Accept, accept, accept it, girl!
But should I complain about it? This is where having BPD can be challenging — I have never made a complaint about any doctor, but because of the stigma against Borderlines, there is a risk that I will be judged as “whiny” or “a liar” no matter what treatment I received from the doctor. Time to review my Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.
Make a complaint? my Borderline cackles. If you do, do you think ANY doctor will take you, knowing you might complain about them?
God, I wish that cow would shut up.