This is a wee post in praise of psychiatrists who listen. To what their patient wants, in terms of drug prescribing. And who support tapering of psychiatric drugs when it makes sense to do so. Working with the person and their carer or peer in the process.
It's not been my experience that all or even many psychiatrists are good listeners. Rather I have found some to be over-protective and patriarchal, believers in polypharmacy as a cure for all ills. Drugging up the women in their care as if doing them a favour. Keeping them dependent, on them and on the system. Keeping themselves in a job.
Are you tearful? Was the question continually asked of me by my psychiatrist back in 2002/3. I said No. That I was flat as a pancake due to the drugs. Which seemed to be the right answer. Devoid of emotion preferable to crying women. But that's a mistake. Better out than in.
Anyway I'm not a greeter or cry baby and prefer complaining to tears.
And so I had to make myself better, get back into the real world and out of the drugged state. I did it by volunteering, engaging with society, going out and about even if I didn't feel like it. Fighting the demotivation and sluggishness of the drug cocktail. No help from the psychiatrist who had labelled me with schizoaffective disorder, to justify the polypharmacy and the fact that the drugs don't work, don't cure, don't heal. Anything.
There was resistance at the final hurdle, getting off the lithium, because of the disorder label in my notes. But I didn't believe it so it had no power over me. The psychiatrist had pinned it on me to justify the drugging was how I saw it. Any injuries or disabling side effects were put down to "mental illness".
I want to see more psychiatrists listening to their patients. Really listening. I want them to go easy on the drugs. Light-handed in the prescribing. Trusting more in the person and in their own therapeutic listening skills. Being more human and less godlike.
It will require psychiatric nursing and clinical psychology to up their game, improve their practice and become more independent practitioners. Standing with the person/patient and not playing second fiddle to the psychiatrist. A paradigm shift is what I'm looking for. Real person-centre care with drugs on the back-burner.