Doctors: The Most Important Relationships in My Mental Health Recovery
Supportive relationships with healthy boundaries are crucial for my well-being and mental health recovery. Fortunately, I have been fortunate enough to have a strong network of supportive relationships in my life, but the two most important relationships are with my primary care physician and psychiatrist. These two doctors play a significant role in my recovery and without them, I wouldn't be where I am today.
I'm a doctor & I take meds for my mental health
Finding good doctors has not been an easy task for me. Before experiencing symptoms, I had private insurance which allowed me to seek doctors within my network. However, after my first episode of psychosis, I was unable to function and lost my private insurance. I had to apply for social security benefits and public aid to receive treatment. Navigating this system was challenging, and I was assigned a primary care physician and psychiatrist through public aid whom I didn't know.
During the early stages of my mental health recovery, I was scared to meet my new doctors due to delusions and hallucinations. My paranoia led me to believe that these doctors might harm me or report on my activities to the authorities. However, both my primary care physician and psychiatrist were patient and empathetic, working with me despite my fear. They supported me even when I was too scared to discuss my symptoms and feelings. Additionally, they listened to me when the prescribed medication caused side effects and helped me find the right medication for my needs.
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After two years of treatment, I was saddened to learn that my psychiatrist would be moving to an organization that didn't accept public aid. This meant I would be assigned a new psychiatrist. During my next physical appointment, I shared my concerns with my primary care physician, who asked me about my preferences in a psychiatrist. This was a new experience for me, as I had never been asked for my opinion before. Following her suggestion, I wrote down my expectations for both a primary care physician and psychiatrist. I wanted doctors who would listen objectively to my opinions and work with me to achieve the best outcomes. I also desired doctors who would maintain communication with each other to ensure continuous care.
When I met my new psychiatrist, I approached the appointment with an open mind and shared my list of expectations. To my surprise, my psychiatrist listened attentively and made me feel comfortable and heard. As I progressed in my recovery and gained confidence, I learned to advocate for myself and express my needs to my doctors in order to maintain my well-being, both mentally and physically.
Throughout the years, I have had to change doctors due to turnover in the organization or changes in my insurance plan as I returned to work. However, I have now been with my current primary care physician and psychiatrist for the past eight years. I am grateful to have found doctors who work with me to achieve overall wellness.
This experience has taught me the importance of being an active participant in my recovery process and viewing my doctors as essential members of my support network. Without their support, I would not be able to function. My relationships with both my primary care physician and psychiatrist enable me to stay healthy, enjoy life, work, and maintain meaningful connections with my friends and family.