As I’ve mentioned, my mental health has been trending downward in recent months, and I’m trying to get help. My old family doc has retired since I last saw him, so I paid a visit to his successor, who gave me a referral to a psychiatrist. But he didn’t tell me what I’d have to do to sign on as a new patient with this psychiatrist’s practice.
They have a website, which is helpful. And they have a process for taking new patients. We have to fill out forms and email/fax/mail them to the office before we can call them. I’ve never actually been to a psych before, so I don’t know how much of this is standard, but their website says they get a lot of new patient requests and so it can take some time to schedule everyone’s appointment, etc. This is not encouraging. I don’t know if they actually have the space for a new patient, and since I’m a childless, young-ish adult whose problems could be described as merely “tiresome” rather than “dangerous,” I’m pretty sure I won’t be a priority. The problem is I have to do all this work, and wait a certain period of time, before I can even find out whether they’re still taking new patients.
My argument is, if I want to see my podiatrist, I can call up the office and schedule an appointment. If I want to get help with my gynecological ish, I can call a number and make an appointment at Planned Parenthood. I want to meet the new family doc, I just call the office and make an appointment. Whereas, when I need help with my brain chemistry being messed up, I need to put so much more work and patience into the first step towards getting help. This is precisely backwards. They’re dealing with people with mental health problems. For those who’ve never actually had mental health problems: sometimes, being sick is indistinguishable from being clueless, lazy, incompetent, or unwilling to follow instructions. This shit can make it difficult to do simple things like fill out a medical form and send it to an office. It’s not really that I don’t know how to do things, it’s more that I’m tired, distracted, unfocused, and easily discouraged. Asking people to do this much work on the way to getting MH help is sort of like telling someone she has to climb “just a few more steps” before she can get a cast on her broken leg. This is the sort of thing that makes people think they have to take matters into their own hands. I’ve already tried one supplement that ended up being a net negative. Maybe I should try something else.