I’ve been seeing psychiatrists — doctors whose purpose is primarily to examine and diagnose an emotional disorder or condition, then prescribe a plan of treatment, whether therapeutic or pharmaceutical — on and off for over half my life. The ratio of good to mediocre to bad experiences I’ve had with psychiatrists is roughly equal — the best psychiatrist I ever had listened to me when I disputed my diagnosis and insisted that I really didn’t want to take medications. He brainstormed with me about how to treat not a diagnosis, which is broad and can border on stereotyping a patient, but rather the actual, specific emotional experiences that I was having. He suggested a therapist in his practice who specialized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and it was a godsend. It is a nigh-perfect treatment for me and has had significant positive effects that have served as a better long-term solution than medication. Keep reading »
In my favorite scene from the movie “Bruno,” Bruno (a gay fashion reporter and wannabe superstar from Austria) sat down with a Christian “gay converter” to learn how he could turn himself heterosexual. He was advised to go hunting with three straight Southern dudes, who ended up chasing him down with a gun after he showed up naked, pack of condoms in hand, to one of their tents because a “bear had eaten everything.” He then attended a swingers party to familiarize himself with hetero sex. While there, he happily demonstrated several sex positions with another man but dived out of a window trying to escape a kinky woman. When he realized that his treatment wasn’t working, he sought another “ex-gay” counselor who basically told him he may never actually like women because they are “too weak and nag too much,” but he should at least “give women a chance.” Bruno tried desperately, but after many failed attempts, he just accepted that he liked dudes and there was nothing he could do about it.
Bruno, don’t take your failure personally. Keep reading »
The first psychiatrist (“shrink”) I ever saw helped me through a rough time by prescribing me an anti-depressant. I figured I’d be on it short term until I was in a better place. That shrink took my health insurance. I didn’t realize how lucky I was.
Little did I know that once I relocated and needed to find a new doctor, I’d have a better chance of finding a unicorn with a prescription pad than a decent shrink who’d accept my insurance. Keep reading »