Tag Archives: psychiatrist

Yet Another Psychiatrist

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I found a new psychiatrist, and I was able to see him this past Friday. Initially I wasn’t going to write about the experience, but some of my readers have been asking how it went. (It’s great to know that people read this thing.)

If you’ve been following my blog, perhaps you remember my experiences with the first two doctors that I had after leaving the psych ward late last year. Both doctors were from the same part of the globe, and I felt like they didn’t relate to me very well. The first one threw a hissy fit when I came to see her after my second suicide attempt. She ended up kicking me out. Like, literally.

The second doctor would freak out and start massaging his temples whenever I responded to his greeting with anything other than “I’m great.” He essentially let me be my own doctor by letting me choose my medication and dosages. I stayed with him because I was tired of shrink searching. God knocked me out of my comfort zone, however, when that doctor suddenly informed me that he would no longer accept my insurance.

There are a lot of foreign-born doctors practicing in the U.S. Apparently not enough Americans are choosing/able to pursue the medical field, and I have no problem seeing a foreign-born doctor for an annual physical exam or to treat my flu symptoms. When it comes to my mental health, however, I need someone who is patient, understanding, and who can empathize with my illness and not be scared away when my condition fluctuates.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying foreign-born shrinks are all bad and that you should avoid them. It’s just that I’m seeing a negative pattern starting to form.

I went to my insurance website to get a list of psychiatrists within a ten-mile radius of where I live. The list was short because there were only two.

The first one was the psycho lady who kicked me out. The other one was Dr. Ariston Korhonen. Great.

I called the office to find out more information about the doctor. The conversation went something like this:

Receptionist: Good afternoon, Dr. Korhonen’s office.  (Good. She pronounced the name for me.)

Me: Um… Hi. I’d like to see the doctor.  (My verbal skills are not so eloquent.)

Receptionist: OK. How about tomorrow morning?  (Dang. No wait? Is he that bad?)

Me: Uh, how about Friday?

Receptionist: Sure. Is 9:00 okay?

Me: Yeah. Um, can I ask you a question? (I’m sure she was used to weird questions. After all, she works for a shrink.) Is the doctor, uh, is the doctor… from here?

Receptionist: Yes. He’s a white guy with a funny name.

Me: I, uh, didn’t mean anything bad by that. It’s just that… well… I mean…

Receptionist: I understand. See you Friday.

She also told me to show up 30 minutes before my appointment to fill out paperwork. I was used to crowded waiting rooms, so, out of habit, I arrived 45 minutes early.

The waiting room was desolate. I half-expected to see tumbleweeds blowing past me.

The “paperwork” consisted of a one-page personal information sheet. It took me all of five minutes to complete and turn in. I was about to go back to my car and get my phone before the receptionist happily informed me that the doctor was ready.

As I passed by the lady’s desk, I saw a tall, lanky guy surfing the ‘net with his back to me. It looked like he was browsing through the celebrity news on Yahoo.

Without turning around, the guy said, “First door on the right. I’ll be right there.”

Okay. It looks like I’m second to Miley Cyrus. Wonderful.

The rest of the visit was pretty mundane. He asked me a whole bunch of questions, and, by the end, I had spilled my guts about everything related to my illness.

It was traumatic enough to relive everything. The doctor’s exclamations weren’t necessary, though. I mean, did the psychiatrist really have to blurt out “Oh my gosh!” after I mentioned each suicide attempt?!

At the end of our session, I commented on one of the three framed diplomas on the wall. “Oh, you did your residency at the same psych ward where I was. When was that?” It was an innocent enough question I thought.

“Umm, last year. SO, I will see you in about a month, okay?”

Last year?

Stay positive. Stay positive…

~t


It Was a Good Week

Credit: Stock Free Images

…nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A.

                                                           –Ice Cube, “It Was a Good Day”

I really enjoy reading blogs. Not just the ones on WordPress, but in other regions of the blogosphere as well.

I have to admit, I am drawn to those that are humorous or that cheer me up. No offense to those who have dark, serious content (ahem); it appeals to a part of me for sure. The other part of me, though, really wants to feel good and smile sometimes (Yes, I have been known to smile from time to time.).

I was kicked to the curb recently by yet another psychiatrist who claimed that my particular health insurance was a “headache.” I’ve also been having lots of trouble adjusting to my new medication: I am constantly in a daze, and a few days ago I mistook a red traffic light for a four-way stop. Luckily my wife was beside me; without her scream, something terrible could have happened.

Back to the point of this post. I wanted to write about the positive things that have been going on in my life. God reminds me ever so often to count my blessings.

This was a good week. For one, I was off the whole week, my stretch of R & R before the fall semester begins later this month. My sons are still on summer break, so we’ve had a terrific time. Some of the highlights include: spending the day at a water park, one of the few places that all four of us really gel as a family — and where my wife and I laugh and play like kids; having an afternoon snackfest at Starbucks — another place where my wife and I forget our “problems” and chit-chat endlessly while sipping our Frappuccinos, our kids silent as they wolf down lemon pound cake and double fudge brownies; a trip to the aquarium (My sons are obsessed with sharks, so watching them squeal with delight made my wife and me extremely happy.); and yesterday I was able to attend church for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary since I normally work until late at night on Thursdays.

Sure, there were moments when things weren’t “perfect,” but I chose not to dwell on those times. Plus, the enjoyable family time we had far outweighed the problems. I officially go back to work on Monday, so I still have a few days left of my break. I did have to take some naps in the middle of the day due to my medication, however; but, overall, it was a really good week.

Years ago, I attended a teaching conference in Seattle. The highlight of that weekend was visiting the cemetery where Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon, are buried. I went there as an excited tourist, snapping photos of the beautiful headstones, but I left in a much more somber mood after reading the inscription etched on Brandon’s grave:

Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

So, even if you’re going through a lot and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, count your blessings. Savor every moment with loved ones. Find things that put a smile on your face. Because, in life, unexpected things happen.

~t


At the Psychiatrist’s Office

crowded

This morning I had an appointment with my psychiatrist.  I don’t like having to miss work, but at least I didn’t have to take the whole day off.

The waiting room is quite an adventure.  I always dread walking into the lobby after I sign in.  Avoiding any eye contact because a lot of the patients are scary-looking, I take the nearest chair available.  Sometimes I have to walk around until I find one that’s vacant.

One time I sat down in a (seemingly) empty seat only to be berated by a young woman who was built like a UFC cage fighter.  Not wanting any trouble, I quickly got up and found another place.

Sadly, in this day and age, I never know where someone’s anger is going to lead them.  I’ve seen too many news stories about road rage or (fill in the blank) rage.  The last thing I need is having a knife or a gun pulled on me by a mentally unstable person.

Today, like most times I come here, there was an obese blonde lady who started going off on the receptionist because the employee “was rudely talking on the phone with another patient” while the blonde lady was paying her bill.  I sort of get used to the “F” word being thrown around at full volume.  Such is life in a crowded psychiatric waiting room.

I just wish there were more psychiatrists in this country.  Due to a shortage, doctors can only spend a few minutes with each patient because they are so overbooked.  This morning, though, after quickly adjusting the dosage of my meds, I was able to slip a question in.

“Doctor, would it be a good idea to start a blog about my mental problems?  That way I can interact with people who have the same problems.”

“Absolutely not,” he stated, nearly cutting off my last two syllables.  “For a more stable person, yes, but since you are on shaky ground, I would say no.”

Then the Holy Spirit took over.  “Well, what if I made the blog positive?  With a theme of faith and hope?”

My doctor stared at me for a moment.  “I suppose that would be okay.  Just nothing dark or depressing.  You’re still staying away from that black metal, right?”

My cheeks became warm.  He remembered my taboo fascination with a very underground genre of heavy metal.  “I’m still in the process of weaning myself off.”  The energy and raw emotion in black and death metal had drawn me to it, but I was in the process of giving it up.

Even my wife, who isn’t even a Christian, has begged me to stop listening to extreme metal.  It will take you to a dark place for good, she always says.

Anyway, I have revamped this blog to make it more “positive” because, after all, it’s my new *gasp* ministry.

St. Dymphna, patron saint of mental illness, pray for me!

220px-St_Dymphna

~topaz