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  1. #11
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Hi Jesse, I just wanted to add my two cents to this discussion, although I recognize that we probably have different comfort levels and completely respect that.

    I hope you don't take this question to be attacking or belittling of your concerns-- I don't mean it to be at all, but realized upon typing it that it could be read that way... What keeps you from returning to a psychiatrist (a different one, if you didn't like yours before) for your medication management? I am sure your internist could provide you with a referral. I ask because, as sunflower noted, most primary care practices have a standard protocol that they follow. I'm not suggesting that you are wrong for not feeling comfortable with this protocol-- but it sounds like the staff have treated you like they would any other patient they see in their office... am I wrong? To me, that would be a good thing. Going over the list of medications is standard procedure to ensure their files are accurate prior to the doctor seeing you, no matter what you are being seen for, because it is important to know what you are taking in case of a medical emergency or any need for treatment while you are in the office. To be honest, many nursing and medical assistants who work in primary care offices might not even know what your medications are for-- they are often not very familiar with psych meds (I have had to spell names of medications for them on more than one occasion). Their job is simply to record/verify that the medications they have in your file are accurate. My reason for mentioning these things is not to belittle your feelings of discomfort-- I hope you don't take it that way! But that's why I ask what keeps you from seeing a psychiatrist for your med management-- because it sounds like you are just more comfortable with how things are handled by a psychiatrist's office than by a general medical practice-- and that is completely valid.

  2. #12
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Hi CS:

    Glad to hear from you. And, I'm not uncomfortable with your questions. Initially, I had two bad experiences with psychiatrists - one who humiliated me and made me feel as though I would always be "sick" and the other who talked about how crazy her father was during a session. I realized she was venting because she was worried about her mother's safety. However, the fact that she kept harping about the "craziness" of her father, made me wonder how she felt towards me. Also, I got anxious each time I visited due to the hospital setting, the name of the department on the main door, intrusions of the receptionist, and the security guard.

    A dear friend turned me onto my internist who is very compassionate person and I feel reasonably safe with him as a doctor. He gets the fact that privacy is a huge part of my life and that I wanted to be treated like everyone else. He was also a witness to what I am like when I'm triggered by a woman. I was molested by a woman when I was a kid. Being in a room alone with a woman is still very scary for me and it takes me a while to recover. Again, my doctor gets that. Now, here comes the oddity, my therapist is an older woman and while she scares me at times, she and I have a long history. She got me through the loss of my mother and in many ways, she's the surrogate "good" mother I never had. And, in spite of my fears, I have found a way to be myself most of the time with her. Because of therapy, I am now able to interact with some women on a limited scale and always in a group, but never alone.
    Jesse

  3. #13
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Oh Jesse, I don't know how I'd react if something like that happened in my dr's office. The only time his nurse goes into my chart is to add something that's been sent over from the lab or to look up something specfic I've called to ask about. I don't know what the rules are regarding what a dr's staff can legally do or see regarding someone's file, but I think what your internist's staff are doing is so wrong To me it seems like such a violation.

    My closest similar experience was a few years ago with a locum who was filling in for my dr and I had to go in for something - probably an ear infection, I don't recall. She ended up sitting with her back to me and pouring over my psych reports for nearly 20 minutes (I could see over her shoulder so I know it wasn't my imagination). Now what that would have to do with a simple infection, I can't guess, but I was so angry and humiliated, especially the way she was downright snotty to me after she finally came up for air, that I cried for days. I didn't mention it to dr or psych, and I wish now I had.

    For whatever it may be worth, one of my cousins over in the UK is bipolar. He's a wonderful person and I love him to bits. I'm so proud of him for carrying on in life with that heavy burden, and over the past few years especially he's started feeling a bit of that pride himself, which makes me so happy to see. It's not conceit, just being able to give himself some credit. When I talk with him, I'm talking to my cousin, not his condition, and when I read your posts, I see a person (a real person) behind the words, not a condition.



    BB
    The way to do is to be - Lao Tzu

  4. #14
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Jesse910, you raise an excellent point.... how do doctors and other medical professionals view us....

    My question has a twist on the same thing....

    Can one be mentally ill and not even know it?

    I ask this because, when I moved to a new city and tried to line up supports for a physical disability (I use a wheelchair), I was told I need to see a psychiatrist. I couldn't believe it.

    To find out why they said this I finally got copies of my medical files. Sure enough, I was shocked to read that I have a bipolar disorder, several personality disorders, and a somatization disorder.

    No one ever told me I was sick, I was never referred to a psychiatrist, and I was never prescribed any medication.

    I used to be in the "system" way back in the 1990's and before, but I left it all behind when a Family Doctor provided positive support and successfully tapered me off all my medications. As soon as I got off the medications and was around someone who was positive and motivating, my brain woke up and I never looked back.

    I've been living on my own and functioning very well for years. I've even been able to hold jobs, some part-time and one full-time. I live alone and am high-functioning despite the wheelchair, so it was a real shock to see I was deemed to be very sick by the medical and home-care support systems.

    The down side of the labels has meant I can't get support for my physical disability. I'm told that the only way I will get it is if I admit That I have these mental illnesses. They said the patient is always the last one to know they are sick; that it's not unusual to find I'm in denial.

    My head is spinning. When friends saw the medical files, and saw that one doctor even wrote down that I was a professional patient, they laughed. It was their shock reaction. They said you? You're more sane than anyone I know....

    However, I can't eradicate the labels. No lawyer will touch it. They say it's impossible to prove I'm not sick.

    I therefore avoid doctors. I'm more healthy that way. On those rare occasions when I must see someone, I feel too dirty and too full of self-doubt to speak reasonably. I've also lost all trust of doctors.

    Has anyone else been labeled and then not told they were sick?

  5. #15
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairdemon View Post

    The down side of the labels has meant I can't get support for my physical disability. I'm told that the only way I will get it is if I admit That I have these mental illnesses. They said the patient is always the last one to know they are sick; that it's not unusual to find I'm in denial.
    This sounds like some misunderstanding to me. I have seen the Canadian application, there are totally different sections on mental and physical functioning, meaning, one can be physically but not mentally disabled and vice versa. Must be some misunderstanding on your or their part? Also, it is the doctor or another health professional, not the patient filling in the details of disease, so if you are in denial or not should not make a big difference, according to the application.

  6. #16
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessX View Post
    This sounds like some misunderstanding to me.
    Sadly the problem stems from miscommunication alright. Something negative got added to my files that should never have been added. Then, the policy of the hospitals is to have doctors read old notes written by other doctors before they actually see the patient.

    The doctors read the old notes, saw the mistake on my files, didn't know it was a mistake, and without seeing me (in response to a specialist's referral) replied back to the family doctor with a note saying it was their recommendation to send me back to a psychiatrist.

    I'm sorry if this post got misunderstood as to its intent. The intent was to point out that it's mighty scary - and damaging - when a mistake gets into a file and then keeps getting carried forward inadvertently.

    I finally had to use the Information and Privacy Office's sanctioned Lock Box to stop the error from being carried forward.

    Things are cleared up now.

    I shared the message so it could act more as a caution.
    Last edited by wheelchairdemon; July 5th, 2015 at 10:05 PM. Reason: missed a few words.. adding clarity

  7. #17
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    Re: Overcoming the feel of Stigma in the doctor's office either real or imagined

    Thanks for the clarification. Mistakes happen everywhere.

    This whole thread...presents doctors and "nursing assistants" in a pretty bad light. I am not sure if the first post talks about some administrative assistant or a nurse, which are different professions, but it sounds somewhat derogatory.

    It is "them" and "us".

    We are all human after all.

    I understand the concerns about protecting private information. But, not all nurses and doctors are unprofessional.

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