Saturday, July 15, 2006

Drugs, Not Hugs: Training Your Psychiatrist

Kathleen took this picture of me after we first moved in to our new place where my current depression began on April 1. Notice there is no comfort in the pillow, only grotesquerie. Two slim futons like the one pictured were our only furniture.


Yesterday I had an appointment with my new psychiatrist. I had asked for one because I was slipping. He's not big on psychopharmacology, it appears, as I tell him what I need and he writes a prescription, or better, gives me samples, without comment. Then he tries to engage me in a therapeutic conversation.

His hands are very expressive when he talks, almost hypnotic. And his glasses magnify his eyes in an owlish way.

If I weren't depressed I would have ended the session after the medications were taken care of. Instead I let him go on to fill the hour, during which he explained to me how performance could never achieve love, a concept I have trouble getting, but concern for an inner construct does not matter to me at the moment. I'm underwater.

I tell him Kathleen makes me a list of things for me to do each day, and that this helps keep me sane.

He says that my performing said tasks is another way of earning an acceptance that can't be earned.

I say, "No, Doctor, these manual tasks help distract me from myself. I'm way below the level of trying to earn anything with them."

And so it went. He wanted to talk psychology, I was only interested in biology.

The worst of it was at the end of the session, when he gave me a big bag of samples and said, "Merry Christmas"--whereupon I shook his hand, but he said, "Up here we do more than that. We hug." And he wrapped his 60-year-old freckled arms around me at roughly the level of my navel, and I tried to hug back, feeling awkward. I wanted to tell him that he had violated my boundaries by coercing me into a false intimacy, but I didn't want to imperil the samples and prescriptions. I have no insurance.

Sometimes it's hard putting up with psychiatrists just to get the medications you need. It takes a while to train a new one.

Thine in Oppression by Professionals,


(still at three kilorats)


  1. I loved this - made me laugh out loud! It does take quite a while to break in a new one. Fortunately, my insurance limits my visits to 15 minutes.

  2. Yes, they can be so obtuse. And this is meant to be funny, glad you laughed; I just added a ridiculous pseudo-depressed photo as well.

  3. Anonymous11:56 AM PDT

    The Maker of Lists says:

    Note the word "Fragile" written on the box to CE's right.

    Note that the green pillow is actually Kenyon's (cedar-filled, to repel vermin).

    Note the coronet or halo effect of CE's cap (an elaborately embellished brown velveteen affair reminiscent of Nelson Mandela's, which he does not wear when seriously depressed. For that, he reserves a cap inscribed "Fish control my brain").

    Note that the odds are against CE's psychiatrist's being Jewish.

  4. I had to laugh. I also feel violated when a stranger insists on a hug. GAWD... Don't they get it?


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