I met Psychiatrist #3 during my first hospitalization. I stopped seeing Psychiatrist #2 when I was discharged, and instead saw Psychiatrist #3 at his office. Unlike Psychiatrist #s 1 and 2, Psychiatrist #3 didn’t provide counseling — we just discussed my symptoms and how the medications he prescribed affected them.
Psychiatrist #3 was like a father figure to me. I can’t emphasize how warm and kind he was. He was so different from Psychiatrist #s 1 and 2. I could tell that he actually cared about me and my well-being. I was under his care from 1995 – 2011 — almost 20 years! He practically watched me grow up, and, unfortunately, also witnessed my worsening symptoms.
He saw me after I quit my admin assistant job in 1996 and went back to college. I couldn’t afford the school’s insurance, but Psychiatrist #3 saw me anyway, for a nominal fee. He gave me medication samples because I couldn’t afford prescriptions.
He was the one who recommended ECT a few years after the Breakdown.
I didn’t see him from 1999 – 2001 because I was away at grad school where I had Psychiatrist #4. I don’t have much to say about him other than he was about the same age as Psychiatrist #3. I saw him for 2 years. At one point, he said he was afraid I wouldn’t graduate because of my depression. That scared me, big time, but I graduated.
During school breaks, Psychiatrist #3 accepted appointments to see me. When I returned to Chicago in 2001, I was back under his care.
In 2011, he accepted the head of psychiatry position at the hospital where he works. Unfortunately, it’s the hospital’s policy that the department head can’t continue in private practice. He referred me to a young doctor: Psychiatrist #5. I was concerned that she wasn’t as experienced as Psychiatrist #3, but I gave her a shot.
She was awful. She had a condescending attitude. She never responded to my calls, which was frustrating, particularly when I needed medication refills. She promised to get me into EMDR therapy, but never followed through. Not that it mattered — I have no idea why she recommended EMDR because I don’t have PTSD. But the point is, she blew it off.
Then a fellow patient from PHP 3 recommended another young doctor, Psychiatrist #6. Luckily, he was accepting new patients. Again, I was concerned about his experience, but I was desperate to see someone else. Turns out, not only does he know Psychiatrist #3, he did a 2-month rotation under him during his residency!
Psychiatrist #6 is totally cool. I once heard Led Zeppelin playing in the background of the waiting room instead of smooth jazz! He’s easy to reach, he replies to e-mails quickly, and has infectious enthusiasm. I hope to be under his care for a long time.
I realize how fortunate I am to be able to switch psychiatrists so easily because, except for that period I was in undergrad, and the time my husband was unemployed, I’ve always had insurance; and for that, I’m grateful.
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