• Quote of the Day
    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

stargazer

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This is probably one of those times where I'm going to have to write down the thoughts that are leading to the negative feelings, because I'm being severely triggered in interactions with whoever the secretary is at the desk where I'm trying to deal with my medication & therapy issues.

I'll do it, but she is being so disrespectful I'm not sure I can interact with her when she calls me back again. Or at least, that's how I'm interpreting it, and it's shaking me up.

I hadn't wanted to reschedule my therapy appointment tomorrow, but on Friday it dawned on me I was going to have to get a refill or my medication, and when I called the clinic they said I needed the prescription number from the bottle to call the office in the town 13 miles South and have it shipped up to the clinic in my town. But I was at work and didn't have the bottle with me, so I didn't know the prescription number.

When I got home and called, it was after hours and the pharmacy was closed for the weekend, but I left the info on the voice mail. Then this morning I called the pharmacy to see if it would still get shipped up to my clinic in time, and they said no, and that I would have to come down and get it.

I looked at my schedule, and the only possible time I can come down to get it is tomorrow morning, thus having to reschedule my therapy appointment. The secretary said she would reschedule it and call me back. I said, "how can you reschedule it if you don't know my schedule? Can't I just talk directly to the therapist, or leave a message with her?"

She said, "No, we'll reschedule it with you."

So I said all right.

But it wasn't just that. The person wasn't nice. I had given my e-mail address to the therapist, and she said she would contact me by e-mail regarding appointments, as I don't have a local phone. When the secretary found out my cell phone was a long-distance call (the service provider won't let me make it a local prefix without buying a whole new phone) she said they weren't allowed to make long distance calls.

I said, I know, and I had been through all of this before, which is why I gave the therapist my e-mail address, and she said she would e-mail.

Then the secretary says, "well we're not allowed to e-mail people."

And I was like, "well then how are we ever going to re-schedule the appointment?"

She said: "I'll call you."

I'm like: "OK."

It was mostly her tone of voice. She must have been on heavy downers or something. It shook me up, and now I'm angry. I'm afraid if she does call, I'm going to lose it. All I'm trying to do is keep my appointment and still get my meds, and they're not honoring that.

I'm really upset.
 

stargazer

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That might not have made sense. It was mostly that I feel like people who answer phones ought to do so cheefully, and be pleasant. That's what I've always done, whenever I've had some kind of office job. She was off-putting from the start, seeming not to want to be of help, and just to put the least amount of energy possible into the situation.

First, as soon as I mentioned "medication," she goes: "I'll put you through to Sally," and all of a sudden I'm talking to an irrelevant person, who realizes I need to reschedule my appointment. Then I only get routed back to the secretary.

She must be new, too. I've been there several times, and everyone so far has been nice, up till now. I respect all people until they disrespect me, and then I usually blow my top. Or at least heavily internalize it, and get all shaken up. This is one of the reasons I need to be in therapy, and it's why I lost my job, too.
 
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Re: Beuraucracy

I'm sorry, stargazer. I have a hard time dealing with people who aren't friendly like that over the phone. Mostly I want to cry. What I usually do is just go overboard with cheerfulness and thank them profusely as I'm choking back tears.

Or I tell myself they obviously have some kind of personal problem going on and it's not me. It's just the way they are.

I'm not very helpful I know, but I would be upset too. :(
 

David Baxter

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This is one of those times you need to make a strong effort to tell yourself, repeatedly if necessary, "I'm not going to take this personally. This is the way bureaucracy always is. This person doesn't know me and is not targeting me personally. I have no idea who she is or what she may be dealing with in her own life today but it really doesn't matter. She is not my therapist. I don't have to like her and she doesn't have to like me. All I have to do is focus on my objective, which is to get my medication and get my appointment rescheduled."
 

stargazer

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Actually you were very helpful, Janet, as I see that I'm not the only one who has this hard time. It doesn't represent itself the same way--I don't feel like I'm about to cry, but my hands and fingers start shaking, and my voice gets all shaky as well. Like you, I try to be nicer and nicer, as though to somehow sway them into being nice, but it's of no use, because they're just the way they are, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I'm also anxious that she's even going to call back, with all those rules. I'd been through all of the stuff about the long-distance cell phone prefix and the e-mail address with everyone there, and it was like starting all over again with an uninformed newbie. I wonder if I should just call back and ask to speak to someone else?

I don't want to miss therapy at all, but if it came between going without meds over the weekend and missing one therapy appointment, I'd miss the therapy appointment. That might or might not be the right priority, but it seems to be.
 

stargazer

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This is one of those times you need to make a strong effort to tell yourself, repeatedly if necessary, "I'm not going to take this personally. This is the way bureaucracy always is. This person doesn't know me and is not targeting me personally. I have no idea who she is or what she may be dealing with in her own life today but it really doesn't matter. She is not my therapist. I don't have to like her and she doesn't have to like me. All I have to do is focus on my objective, which is to get my medication and get my appointment rescheduled."

Right. That's exactly what I have to do, and it will require some mettle. My question now, though, being as she hasn't called back, is if I ought to call and try to expedite this? I feel I might just get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle. Maybe I should just appear in person, if I can get there on the way home before the office closes, and if she hasn't called by then. At least it would show to probably several visible people that I'm trying to stay on track. I distinctly got the feeling this person didn't want to deal with it all.
 

David Baxter

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Another option: You indicated that your therapist has your email address. Can you send an email?

The option of going to the office directly isn't a bad idea, though, if you think you can keep your cool there.
 

stargazer

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I believe she gave me her card with an e-mail address on it, though I'd be a little hesitant to e-mail her directly if she didn't e-mail me first. That aside, the secretary just called back, and I made sure my tone was softer, slower, and more reserved. I then noticed that she was distinctly nicer.

The only available appointments aren't until impossible days in October, and I then decided internally it would be better for me to keep tomorrow's appointment, go down to the County office to get the meds, and cancel/reschedule my 3pm appointment to teach two girls' piano lessons. Despite needing the money from the lessons, it is more important to have the therapy and the meds. Also, the continuity of the girls' lessons is important, but the continuity of my therapy/medication is more important.

So that's what's happening.
 

stargazer

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Thanks. I actually think I worked through it fairly well. I just sent an e-mail to the girls' mom, and hopefully we can reschedule the two lessons for later on in the day or week.
 

Halo

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SG

Glad things seemed to work out well for you and trust me I know how frustrating people on the phone can be. But I can look at the other side of the coin being a person that deals with clients on the phone for my job and to tell you the truth most days I can turn on the charm and bs my way through any call no matter how I feel but then there are the days that the bs is just not working and no matter how hard I try my feelings can be heard over the phone. I know that it is hard for others to understand when they are talking with me especially since they don't know me but maybe if you thought of her situation and realized that you don't really know what her day or situation is like. I am not trying to make excuses for her rudeness but sometimes there are other factors to be considered.

Just a thought?
 

stargazer

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It certainly does help to consider the other person's position. She might have been having a bad morning, or a bad moment--which could conceivably explain why she was distinctly more pleasant the next time we talked. I've noticed this also with tellers at banks, and people with whom I deal regularly. They have good days and bad days just like the rest of us, so it always pays to cut them some slack.
 

stargazer

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Well, I've realized since then that the person actually *is* one of the two regular secretaries, and that she is often somewhat unpleasant, both in person and on the phone. When she *is* pleasant, however, she's very very pleasant. So I really ought not to take her personally.

That said, I expect to be admonished by her tomorrow because my therapist was forced to e-mail me today due to the fact that I was in between phones & had neglected to advise the office of my phone-related status. (I let my cell phone lapse when the flat-rate monthly bill was due on Saturday, and it has taken till today for my half-the-cost Wireless home phone to arrive, complete with local area code. The office had also complained that my cell phone still had a San Francisco area code, even though I've moved back to the Valley. And others, of course, have not wanted to make long-distance calls when we're all really local. So it made sense to get a new phone.)

Am looking forward to my 5th therapy visit tomorrow but rather anxious about having to confront the secretary on the way.
 

David Baxter

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Sometimes, it's best to just deflate the admonishment by agreeing, something along the lines of, "I know. It was a problem for others, too, so I arranged to get a new phone. I should have notified you but it's been a hectic/stressful week".

It's harder for someone to yell at you when you're in the middle of saying, "You're absolutely right and I apologize."...
 

stargazer

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That's what I've been planning to do, though some degree of anxiety remains. (In other words, I'm afraid she'll get mad at me before I get the chance to apologize, and I'll become so shaken up I won't be able to function in therapy. Then the subject of the therapy might become the secretary, instead of the good stuff, but now I'm catastrophizing.)

Just got up & am out of order here, need a cup of coffee before I attempt further thought. (Am having it now.)

Well, if the subject of the therapy *does* become the secretary, perhaps that will lead to some relevant topic other than my own agenda. I mean, yesterday I was going over in my head what I *wanted* to talk about with my therapist, but if takes us more of my mental space at the time of the therapy, that's the way it goes.

(Need to finish my coffee.)
 

Halo

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In my experience, coffee before posting SG is always a good idea :D
 

stargazer

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And coffee in the morning is an excellent idea! (He says, perking up.) :)
 

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