A Not So Gentle Request

Here’s a little piece of advice for psychiatrists: don’t insult your patients.

I mean, okay, so we’re crazy and all, but that’s really no excuse for being demeaning. Just because we’re on meds and need your help to quiet the voices doesn’t mean you have free reign to tell us we’re stupid.

Let’s just say, for example, that a woman comes in who has 13 children. Here are some things that are not acceptable to say:

“No wonder you’re depressed!”

“No wonder you’re crazy!”

“Were you crazy first, or are they why you’re crazy?”

“What on earth possessed you?”

I’m sure this all seems endlessly amusing to you. I wonder what you might say if I told you I had thirteen children because I thought a voice told me to do it. Because that’s kind of what happened. I mean, I wouldn’t put it that way, but that’s probably how you would hear it.

But don’t blame my children for my mental illness.

I am a person apart from them, and I have struggled with these feelings since long before they came along. They are not the cause of my crazy. Making snide comments to that effect is oversimplification at best and harmful at worst.

I wish you could see my fabulous children. I wish you could see them in all their noisy, chaotic glory before you decided they were nothing but burdens on my already-burdened psyche. I wish you could step outside your little PhD-educated box and allow for diversity in your thinking. I wish you could spend a day in my shoes.

Just because you don’t understand my decisions doesn’t give you the right to belittle them. Even if I do need medication to keep my feet on terra firma. What happened to professional courtesy? What happened to professionalism at all? I am not an idiot. I’m just nuts. Learn the difference.

2 Comments

  1. Wow. Not cool, psychiatrist. Not cool.

  2. Ah. Yes. The gynecologist that said to me, “Seven kids? Why would you do that to your body?”

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