No, Dr. Starbright Dream Raindrop, I Was Never Molested By A Cat

Psychiatric treatment is a peculiar thing.  When you go to a physiatrist, you put a lot faith in a complete stranger, pretty much having to tell them very personal things from the very beginning of the relationship.  Things you wouldn’t tell a potential mate until the twenty-third date. (Or never.)  If you’re in a situation where you need medication, you have sometimes have no choice but to be much more honest then you’d like in the beginning so that they can properly medicate you.  There’s no “honeymoon” period in these cases.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a lovely little condition called Bipolar disorder. I was actually relieved when I was diagnosed because it explained a lot of historically nutty behavior on my part, including some serious cases of depression.  After an initial diagnoses by a psychiatric emergency room doctor (psych ERs, so much more interesting that regular ERs.  George Clooney does not hang out in psych ERs) I went through my insurance’s website (oh insurance, how I miss you…), pulled up a list of NYC psychiatrists and started making phone calls.

Check out my sexy PPO, bitches.

I made phone call after phone call after phone call.  Have you ever tried to get a last minute doctor’s
The doctor will see you now.
appointment in NYC?  As a New Patient? The phrase “New Patient” is taboo in NYC.  People never leave their doctors because getting a New Patient appointment can take eight weeks or more.  Getting into a hot new club is easier.  

Sometimes they won't take New Patients unless a Current Patient refers them.  I wish I were joking.  So, I knew going in that I was up against the wall.  Even though it was one of the rare times in my life I has a sexy, sexy PPO insurance card to wave around, no one would take me.  I begged, pleaded and explained my situation but to no avail.

Finally, after many phone calls, I found someone who’d take me that week.  I spoke to a male assistant, a Russian guy, who sounded like something out of “Eastern Promises” who told me yes, the doctor would take me and they took my insurance.  Score!  So I excitedly headed off to my first psychiatrist appointment!  (Wait, what?)


Dr. Blossom Tulip Moonbeam
I arrived at the doctor’s office, near Columbus Circle, AKA “Shrink Row”, and filled out the paperwork for the doctor’s assistant, Vlad (his actual name) and waited to meet my new doctor.  She came out, long blond hair flowing, sipping a cup of tea, wearing flimsy linen clothing in the middle of winter and sandals.  She introduced herself by her first name through a Russian accent.  We sat in her office as she serenely asked me questions, oh so softly and delicately, while I sat there twitching, exhausted physically and mentally, wanting a drink and cigarette.  I handed her a copy of my ER records for her to read and stated my symptoms, what I had gone through over the past few months, my basic history and concerns. 

She then asked me, serenely “And why do you think you feel this way?”

What part of "crazy" don't you understand?
That should have been my first hint. That and the herbal tea. And the dream catcher in her office.  And the diploma in Russian.  But, she was all I had, my only choice.  Any port in a storm, as they say.  This went on for an hour, back and forth, her asking me philosophical questions and me coming back with hard, physical evidence that something was not right with me, my cuckoo clock was out of whack and needed help that was beyond telling her about my mother.  At the end of the appointment, she did prescribe some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, along with something to control ADD, a symptom I also showed. Yay, drugs!

I made another appointment and went home to fill my prescriptions. I continued my medication therapy and my “talk” therapy with Dr. Jasmine Moon Rain, with some interesting developments.  The first being when she prescribed me a new medication and mentioned it might have some side effects, so I should be aware of them and monitor myself closely.  I filled the new prescription, took the first pill that night and went to sleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like my skin was on fire, specifically my chest. Not a mild burning sensation, but like it was actually on fucking fire.
  I was panicking and doused towels in cold water to soothe my chest, and finally it went away.  I was thisclose to calling 911. It was a scary experience.  Needless to say, I didn’t take another dose.

"Minor" side effects.

Mind if I see that diploma again?
So, I returned to Dr. Autumn Faith Summer and she asked how the medication was going and I relayed my terrible experience to her.  She sat there, looking sympathetic, nodding, sipping her tea.  She then said that I hadn’t given the medication a chance to take effect and I should continue the dosage. I believe my response was “I’m sorry, what…?” and blinked at her, squinting and trying to the fine print on the diploma she had displayed in her office.  I repeated the incident that happened, and told her that I would not, under any circumstances, be taking the medication again. 

  Then there was the time that we were discussing my inability to focus at work and concentrate.  I explained to her that the ADD medication was helping and I needed a refill.  I also expressed an opinion that my gym visits were helping to tire me out and expend excess energy but I still couldn’t concentrate for more than ten minutes and found myself pacing at home, mentally all over the place and couldn’t sit still.  So she wrote me another prescription for ADD and then told me to start meditation. That meditation would clear my mind, focus my soul and center me...me, the person who couldn't sit still for five minutes and had a head full of racing, jumbled thoughts.

What part of "crazy" don't you understand?

Meditation.  Meditation? Seriously, did you just say that, Dr. Sunshine Peace Melody?  I just told you I cannot sit still for more than three seconds, basically spend my life running around in circles at home, need drugs to concentrate at work and you want me to sit and meditate?  Okay.  I’ll get right on that.
 If I heard voices in my head, they’d all be saying “WTF?” right about now.  But that wasn’t the breaking point.  Nope.

The breaking point was cats.

One session, Dr. Hope Rainbow Hummus and I were discussing the death of my dog several years before and how it still affected me to the present day.  I’d had her for fifteen years and losing her was a huge blow to me, I cried for years after she was gone. Dr. Journey Hemp River suggested I get another dog.  I shook my head, explaining that I worked long hours and wasn’t ready for another dog.  So, she suggested a cat. I explained that I’d love to get a cat but I was highly allergic. I mentioned that I used to love my Aunt’s cats when I was a kid. But. when I went through puberty, the summer I started menstruating I also developed hay fever and cat allergies.  It had made me sad because I liked cats, but I could no longer enjoy them. 
She paused and asked me “Why do you think you’re allergic to cats?”   I looked at her, utterly confused.  I replied “Uh, because when I touch them or touch someone who has cat hair on their clothes, I have severe reactions to it.”
“And why is that?” she asked.  “Because I can’t tolerate the cat dander.” I said. Now there were voices in my head, each of them giving me sane, valid reasons why I shouldn't kick my doctor in the knee.

She paused. And sipped her tea.  “I’m wondering if there isn’t some childhood trauma you’re repressing that caused you to be suddenly ‘allergic’ to cats?”, she asked calmly.

Are you fucking serious right now?

What in the holy name of fuck?!  I lost it right there.  I rudely replied; “I told you, the summer I got my first period, my body changed. I got tits. I got cramps. I developed allergies to pollen, dust and also, cats. I also found out later in life that I’m allergic to rabbits and ferrets, who have similar dander, is that from some ‘childhood trauma’?” She gazed at me serenely.
I went on “Do you know basic human biology?  Do you realize how much puberty changes a young girl’s body??”  I huffed and I puffed.  She sat there, unfazed. I knew I had issues, and when you seek psychiatric help, you're full of self-doubt. But, really? REALLY?! I ended the session with Dr. Oatmeal Granola Trailmix and left, never to return.

I'm sure she's still at work, on Shrink Row, happily sipping her tea and delving deep into underlying, subconscious issues of why her patient is lactose intolerant. Luckily for me, I had an ample supply of medications and managed to find a nice, old fashioned, no bullshit, New York Jew shrink that understood me, my humor, my issues and the fact that I was never molested by a cat.

Shhhh.....It will be our little secret.


Anonymous said...

Found this on Reddit. Been having a really rough go of things lately, and not particularly pleased with my psychiatrist. Your sense of humor is great and made me smile. Thanks for writing, keep it up <3

Trixie Van Sickle said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Anon. My mission is to take terrible events in my life and find humor in them. Having BP gives me plenty of material. Stay strong and get a new shrink!

AnyKorlWoman said...

Your post made me smile. Loved the descriptive pseudonyms for Dr. Time-lapsed from the 1950s Stereotypical And Useless Waste-of Time-Freudian Psychoanalyst. Having seen at least one or two loopy therapists and psychiatrists over the years, I can sympathize.