This is the second of a 3-part series of posts. The first, Psychiatrist #1 of 6, was posted last Sunday, and the third will be posted next Sunday.
The first time I ever felt suicidal was when I was 20 and living in Houston. That’s where I went to college before returning to school as an adult student 7 years later. That’s where my partying lifestyle began, culminating into the party scene of my early 20s back home in Chicago.
I moved in January 1990 because, as I said, I felt suicidal. I began feeling that way the previous November, but was both too scared to act on it, and scared of the feeling itself. I finally called my parents, and told them how I felt and about all the partying. They came and got me. They said they knew of a Filipino psychiatrist and would take me to see him. Never happened. It would be another 4 years before I got into treatment.
In 1994, I had grown tired of my “rock star” lifestyle, but was depressed without it. The only option I felt I had was to see a psychiatrist. I knew I couldn’t count on my parents. So I looked in the phone book (remember those?) and called about 5 random psychiatrists. No one answered, so I left messages on their answering machines (remember those?). I started seeing the first one who called me back.
Psychiatrist #2 was a woman, and that made me feel more comfortable, especially because of the bad experience I had with Psychiatrist #1. Back then, psychiatrists provided therapy; they didn’t just prescribe medication and talk about symptoms, although they did that, too.
Man, did I hate her. Not because she was the first to medicate me, but because she was cold. I once complained about something, and instead of discussing my feelings about the issue and why it bothered me, she said, and I quote, “Call your Congressman.” Wtf?
She diagnosed me as having major depressive disorder. Psychiatrist #3 would later diagnose me correctly with bipolar II, and eventually, an anxiety disorder.
I continued seeing her for about a year because I was naive: I didn’t know that if I didn’t like my psychiatrist, I could go to a different one. I’ve been fortunate enough to usually have the insurance to change doctors, for which I’m grateful. But in my limited experience, I thought all psychiatrists were like that: unfeeling like Psychiatrist #2, or extreme like Psychiatrist #1.
She kept badgering me to enter an outpatient alcohol/drug rehab program, which I didn’t feel that I needed. I went, just to shut her up. Stupid, I know, but it was also where I met my current therapist, so something good came out of it.
After my first hospitalization, I met Psychiatrist #3, who I’ll write about next Sunday. Being hospitalized was difficult, but again, something good came out of it. When I was discharged, I dropped Psychiatrist #2 and began seeing Psychiatrist #3.