When I was in high school, I had a therapist named Dominic. I would go visit him at his office and when the school year started, he would come visit me at school. We'd hang out in the empty auditorium and sometimes, he'd even endorse ditching the school building and having our meeting at the Dunkin Donuts next door. He was awesome, supportive and even felt like a friend at times. He made me feel less like a crazy person and more like an emotional teenager with depression issues.
I stopped seeing him because I was starting to feel more "normal" and was going off to college. I didn't think I needed weekly therapy anymore and he agreed. As the years went on, I had ups and downs with depression but for the most part - everything was still in working order.
Until this year. After moving across the country, I started dealing with intense anxiety issues. I'm not sure if it was the huge change, the total discomfort in an unknown area, the lack of knowing anybody or the increased amount of driving I was doing… but anxiety and depression started overwhelming me. There were panic attacks, nights where I'd go to bed just to be asleep and not dealing with life and all that fun stuff that goes along with anxiety and depression!
I thought it was about time I did something about it and started seeing a doctor who put me on anxiety medication that did nothing for me. She sent me to a psychiatrist to get to the root of the problem and find the right solution for me… or prescribe the right solution for me. California doctors love medication in my experience.
I showed up to the psychiatrist's office on one very inconvenient night. I was going to a Bruin's game that night and when I tried to re-schedule, the woman told me that it'd cost $50. So, I squeezed in the appointment in West Hollywood and quickly drove Downtown in ridiculous traffic which is GREAT for anxiety.
Oddly enough, the doctor kind of reminded me of Dominic… mainly because he had glasses and a gentle speaking voice. I have only known two psychiatrists in my life, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that glasses are a requirement. I assume they're there for doctors to take off and hold against their lips while they're in deep thought. That's the only reason I wear glasses! That and horrifying blindness that is getting worse with age.
The doctor asked me what was going on in my life, so I told him everything… because that's what you do in therapy. As I spoke, and heard my problems out loud, I felt silly. They just seemed stupid and inconsequential and #firstworldproblems. "Oh, you're stressed about money? Big deal! At least you have a job!" said the mean bitch in my head.
Finally, when I had finished speaking, I felt a little more calm. I realized that it doesn't matter what kind of problems I have, they're problems regardless. They are things that keep me up at night and overwhelm me with stress during the day and that I don't have to keep letting them control me and that's why I was there. I was finally doing the right thing for myself and was seeking out help and someone to talk to.
And that's when the doctor told me that he wasn't going to be my therapist.
"SEE! Your problems are DUMB." - Mean Bitch Patty Voice
It turns out that his only purpose is basically to prescribe me medication as he doesn't currently have any therapy appointments available. I sat in his office for twenty minutes while he listened to me unload all of my problems and then he flat out rejected me!
Well, not totally. He told me that what I was feeling was worthy of treatment and that it would get better. So he prescribed me a new medication and sent me on my way and told me to check back in another month. Which I did the other day… and was in his office for MAYBE ten minutes and all he did was up my medication dose and tell me that it "sounds like I'm doing okay."
I'm not opposed to medication, I'll give anything (except most things) a try once. But the whole ordeal is funny to me. I'm not sure if it's a California thing, or a U.S. thing or what - but the fact that the doctor didn't even try to offer me another available therapist and just gave me prescriptions seems backwards to me. I'll give it a try and see how it goes but sometimes, I just want to talk to someone who is PAID TO LISTEN.
I miss the days of talking to Dominic over a horrible coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Actually, I also wouldn't mind trading today's problems for some of these much easier to handle (at this stage of my life) teenage problems either. I'd take being sad due to a fallout with a friend over general anxiety and fear of everything ANY day.