If I’m disclosing sensitive information, or trying to discuss a matter which I find quite tricky to talk about then the last thing I want is for someone to tell me that I’m talking rubbish. That I’m not saying the right thing, or that what I’m saying can’t be the truth, particularly when I’m talking to a healthcare professional.
By all means if what you think I’m saying is in fact utter rubbish then please at least let me finish speaking before you interrupt me and leave me feeling as though my stomach is about to leap out of my throat.
Last week I had an appointment with my GP – to do with stuff completely unrelated to my mental health. Now, I’ve recently registered with a new GP, so I certainly understand and appreciate that they don’t know me, or my medical background (they don’t know what support I’m receiving etc. – though surely it wouldn’t be too hard to track this down?) However, I’d expected a level of empathy when trying to articulate my medical history to someone I’ve not met before.
I wasn’t directly discussing my mental health, (I don’t really like to do that with anyone other than my CMHT), however in this case I was talking about how aspects of my mental health had impacted on my ‘physical’ health. Basically, I was trying to explain to my GP – when he asked if I lost conciousness recently – that I couldn’t actually remember. I was trying to explain that although I knew what had happened I also had no clue what had happened. I was trying to explain that – what I like to call dissociation, and what my psychologist has referred to as dissociation – had in fact clouded my perception of a particular event.
The GP then laughed (actually laughed) and said something along the lines of ‘oh yeah but our brains all switch off every now and then’ – to which I was practically close to tears because I’d tried so hard to explain a particular situation (one that is causing me a great deal of stress) to then receive a response which left me feeling a little silly, stupid and ‘wrong.’
I’m not a fan of this, I’m really not. I of course didn’t stand up and be all high and mighty (though, reflecting on the situation now I feel I had every right to point out that I’d come for medical advice, not to be left feeling as if I’d made some huge mistake or error). I understand that the GP may not be trained in that area (I’m not too sure how it works) but I’d anticipated that he’d at least listen to me. He was of course very useful anyway, but I must admit, I was left feeling a little embarrassed. I struggle to understand dissociation – I have times where my mind simply goes ‘blank’ or ‘stops working’ – of course it’s still working, but it’s not… it’s weird. I’ve blogged before about how confusing I find dissociation to be, in my blog post: Trying to understand dissociation.
It was, in all honesty, an embarrassing situation – I was then sent to hospital where I had the rest of the day (and weekend) to dwell over my error… yay to anxiety. Others may not find this situation particularly frustrating, or anxiety-invoking, but I did… maaaannn I did.
(P.S: I wanted to name this post… ‘When your GP leaves you feeling as though you want to crawl into a hole forever,’ but I thought that may have been a little too long for a post title…)
(P.P.S: I also wanted to call this post… ‘When your GP leaves you feeling discombobulated’ as discombobulated is an awesome word).