The Revolving Door of Psychiatrists – Part One

I must walk through those doors again, they hold my memories not long forgotten…

In the ten years since my diagnosis, there has been a revolving door of psychiatrists in my life. Each has brought different things to my diagnosis.

I decided to write this because it is a topic that I felt tackling here would help me when this subject comes up in my memoir. One thing that has always haunted me in the many doctor changes over the years is that one thing you always must do when changing a psychiatrist—tell your story again—from the very beginning.

Anyone who has switched psychiatrists can understand this plight. For those who don’t the issue is having to drudge up old memories that you would rather stay dead. I am in the adult system of care in my local county, and I have been since my diagnosis. Over the years every doctor has taken notes (a few times in my life I got ahold of my medical records) so why can’t they just read about my history? It can be very frustrating!

I get it at some level. My medical history is quite long and the journey was not always pretty. But having to talk about my past suicides, my anxiety, my issues with sleep, and everything else that is a problem with me, can take an emotional toll even for one session. Then having to do it more than once can be a daunting task.

The revolving door of my psychiatrists started when the psychiatrist that first treated me at the adult system of care called Behavior Health. I first met this doctor in January 2008 a few weeks after my first suicide attempt. What was great about this doctor was that over the years he treated my symptoms with medications, alternative medicine, and with cognitive behavioral therapy. It was this psychiatrist that helped me get to a better place by 2012 and gave me the foundation to get through some tough times. I started school just as he was leaving in 2014.

Since then I have seen close to ten different psychiatrists, and my depression cycles during time have been bad. Some of the psychiatrists were a single session and also temporary. These psychiatrists still asked me to tell my story, and then they would refill my medication. That would be the end of that psychiatrist.

The funniest was in the past year where I talked to psychiatrists on the computer, which totally takes the face-to-face out of the equation. I am starting to realize that this might be the future of treating people with mental illness, on a computer with the psychiatrist somewhere else.

There have been a three, of what I believed what I believed at the time to be permanent, psychiatrist that helped me along with my journey to get me to today. One psychiatrist with Behavior Health got me to see a therapist for the first time in my journey, and she has been the only mainstay over the last three years. The second psychiatrist who I spent about eight months with just up and left one day.

The last “permanent” psychiatrist so far in my journey has been effective but, for some odd reason, decided to take a sabbatical for a year just recently. I have no idea when or if he is coming back. So, I am back to the revolving door of psychiatrists once again.

That is where I find myself at this moment. I saw another temporary doctor a couple months ago and it looks like there will be a new one when my next appointment comes around. It’s tough for because I am affected my depression more during the fall and winter month. This new doctor could prescribe new anti-depressants (my anti-depressants are changed often during this time of year, in the years past.) The worst part—I will once again have to tell my story.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Carlos Martinez

12 Replies to “The Revolving Door of Psychiatrists – Part One”

  1. Ugh. I’m so sorry. I always feel a little traumatized every time I have to recount my history to a new provider. It completely sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry about this, James. I can definitely understand how you are feeling. Not as much with psychiatrists, but with therapists. Excluding therapists at hospitals and Intensive Outpatient Programs, I’ve had about 9 therapists over a 12 year period. Only two lasted for “years”. Luckily my most recent therapist, the best one, has been with me for almost 4 years now. I HATED when new therapists acted like they were going to diagnose me from scratch. I’ve been diagnosed bipolar type 1 by several psychiatrists over the years, including my most recent one of a whopping 12 years. Doctors or therapists don’t realize that saying they are going to “diagnose you” after it’s taken years to accept the diagnosis is just plain obnoxious. Sometimes they are seeing you when you’re relatively stable, so it seems up to you to kind of “prove” that you’ve “earned” your stinkin’ dx label.

    I hope your next psychiatrist becomes a long-term one. I also hope he/she is one you get to see face-to-face. I would hate to have distance appointments. I don’t think they are good in many ways. A doctor that knows you well learns a lot from not only your words or voice, but from your walk, countenance, facial expressions, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow 9 therapists in 12 years is so much! I am lucky to have the same one for three years and she has helped me get back on my feet on so many occasions. It’s good you finally found yours. I am not sure that the next psychiatrist is permanent but I am hopeful.

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  3. Once I had a diagnosis, I was told I did not need the psychiatrist anymore. Of course, my mental problem is affixed to my physical one, which will never get better or worse, unless I have another stroke. I talk to my regular doctor when I go in for the blood work that allows me my medication. Five minutes of yik-yak and I am done for another six months.

    I can pretty much imagine the level of frustration you have with each new doctor. I would be tempted to write down my history that is relevant so when the doctor asks me to tell him/her my story, I could just hand him/her the summary and say, “Here.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. As a writer you would think that would come second nature, I have never once done that when seeing a new doctor. Thank you for that, I can certainly do that cut down the stress. Great looking out!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The only downside to that is a lot my local behavior health department is seeing a doctor on the computer. And there is no way to get them my history before hand.

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  4. I totally get it. Today I just found an amazing psychologist, only to discover that her designation is NOT covered by my insurance! I’ve made an amazing connection, though, so I’m going to pay out of pocket. But sheesh, world, stop being so ironic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is a very good metaphor the revolving door. It is similar for other chronic health issues, having to start at the beginning, the story-telling, change in medication…The “mischievious” side of me says we should perhaps make a video/audio presentation and just play it to each new audience. Re-telling our story is not always pleasant but then sometimes when I retell it, whichever bit of the story it is, I find that I discover a new nuance or perspective perhaps on some small aspect that somehow changes things, so it is a revolving door with an ever evolving story. Take care James Edgar Skye- Alison.

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