A visit to a psychiatrist was necessary if we wanted to help our son. This time, we skipped Medicaire and visited a psychiatrist on a private bases. The learned doctor sat back in his leather chair, clasped his hands behind his head and glanced in our direction.
He had a large clock on his elegantly crafted desk; we learned later that most psychiatrists have either a large one on the wall, or a smaller one on the desk. Few relied on wrist watches, probably because it would have looked out of place to keep glancing down to see when the allotted forty minutes were up.
I have met psychiatrists who tap pencils on the arms of their chairs and a couple who seemed to be far, far away and definitely not concentrating on us and our problems. Since my book, David’s Story was published and I started blogging, many people call me, mail me or ask me for advice. I assure them that I will listen, but that all I can impart is personal experience. They know that I volunteer for the mental health association so they find a way to get to visit with me. “Why do you want to talk to me and not to one of the many professionals who are far more knowledgeable and more available?” I ask. “Because you have been in this situation and understand what I am feeling. Because you really listen.” Every single person who comes to talk to me says; “Thanks for listening,” when they leave.
To be honest, I am starting to understand how a psychiatrist must feel when he hears the same story day after day with only a few variations, but the difference is, I know what it feels like to sit on the other side of the desk and I will never think about anything else except the person talking to me and his/her problems. Because I have been there, that’s why. I know all about the frustration one feels,about the sorrow, grief, upset, disruption of family life and the problems of how to give attention to one’s other children and still do all one can for the sick person.
Visiting a psychiatrist is a difficult thing to come to terms with because one has to accept the fact that one has a problem. And that is the most difficult wall to climb.
It is now January 1, 2013 and I want to wish every single person who suffers from a mental illness as well as their relatives, a healthier new year.