Friday Mental Health Check In: (and please share this post with everyone; it’s so important!)
Today I want to talk about the issue of naysayers. Mental health deniers. The Tom Cruise “post-partum depression doesn’t exist” kind of thing. The neighbor who tells you that meds are bad and she was sad once but sniffing tulips while singing about sunshine cured her.
This can be a serious problem; it can crush us. But it’s worse–FAR, FAR WORSE — when the person doing the naysaying is OUR OWN DOCTOR.
Over the years, I’ve had doctors, mental health professionals, and even dentists tell me various forms of “Oh, you silly girl, it’s all in your head” nonsense.
We MUST stand up for ourselves, even though this kind of thing can be so devastating when it comes from someone we trust with our health and maybe with the rest of our family’s health, too.
NO, “sucking it up” does not cure depression. NO, it’s not our “time of the month.” NO, we don’t need to “get a hobby to take our mind off things.” NO, we don’t need your dumb ass, uneducated, knee-jerk bullshit in response to our serious mental health issues.
Here’s an example from my life:
Things were particularly bad, to the point where I finally tried to tell my then-doctor about it:
Me: I’m feeling very bleak, to the point where I feel like I can’t breathe sometimes…
Him: Now, are you getting enough exercise?
Me: I’m not able to exercise. I’m barely able to get out of bed. I think I might need help.
Him [in the most insufferably condescending sing-song tone I’ve ever heard]: Now, let’s not exaggerate. When was your last menstrual cycle?
Me: I am not exaggerating. I have no strength left for hyperbole. I am desperate. My menstrual cycle has nothing to do with this.
Him: Have you tried extra Vitamin C? Or just getting more sunshine. I’ve found–
Me: Have you found that patients like me, who have a LAW DEGREE and work AS TRIAL LAWYERS, have a tendency to EXAGGERATE because they need SUNSHINE?
Me: We’re done.
And I went off and found a different doctor.
But it shouldn’t be that tough. We shouldn’t need a law degree to get a uninformed, ignorant therapist or doctor to realize that we know what we’re talking about. We shouldn’t have to fight for our health care professionals to realize that WE are the best monitors of our mental health.
If we SAY we have a problem, BELIEVE US.
Of COURSE there are many wonderful and competent doctors and therapists. But in a lot of the thousands of emails I get on this topic from people, the complaint about a doctor not listening–not taking them seriously–is an overwhelming theme.
So, please. For me, but especially for YOU. If ANY doctor or therapist tries to downplay your mental health concerns, WALK OUT. Find another doctor. Hit the road. Don’t let that idiot dismiss you.
We DESERVE to be heard. We DESERVE to be healthy. We DESERVE proper treatment. Please, never forget that.
So, if you’ve read this far, please take control of your medical care. Print out this post and take it to your doctor, if confrontation makes you sick to your stomach, as it does so many of us. Nobody knows your body and mind and brain like you do. Make sure whoever you entrust your care to knows that and respects it — and respects YOU.
I love you guys!! Please tell me in the comments if you’ve encountered this and how you handled it. And have a lovely weekend!! xoxo