Friday, March 16, 2012

Dr. C.

Warning: I wrote this post a few hours after meeting with Dr. C. I was not feeling my best emotionally or physically that day, and I believe my thoughts were a little dramatic. I do think, however, it is valuable for me to post this. Sometimes in the throes of infertility, the intense emotions we express can get the better of us. In being true to myself and depicting the real feelings I experienced, I have decided to post it. It doesn't do anyone any good (especially myself) to portray dealing with infertility as always a positive and rational experience. 

Dr. C. is not my favorite person. He is a psychiatrist. He is not a psychologist. There is a difference. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are able to prescribe medication. Psychologists have Ph.Ds in Psychology and are usually employed as counselors, therapists, etc. Dr. C. is most certainly a psychiatrist.

The first time I met with him, for an intake interview about the possibility of starting a low-dose anti-depressant, he seemed rather impersonal. In fact, he expected me to come up with the answers AND the questions to illicit those answers. He didn't do much to keep the interview going. It was a good day for me, so I decided to help him out by talking more and anticipating his questions.

This time, I was to meet with him for 15 minutes to tell him what I thought about the possibility of taking medication, since I was somewhere in the middle (between not needing medication and needing it---so helpful, right?). I sit down and Dr. C. doesn't say anything. He just stares at me with giant frog eyes.

So I stare back.

He then asks, rather awkwardly, "so....?" I finally tell him that I am apprehensive about taking the medication because I want to get pregnant and I should probably not be taking medication when pregnant (birth defects, etc.). He tells me there is no good evidence to show that there is a problem with taking medication while pregnant (...did you even read the side effects tab to that particular medication?). He states that millions of women have taken it while pregnant. I rebuttal with a "Millions of women who don't have a hard time getting pregnant." He then states, like I am the dumbest girl in the world, that that "isn't true, since infertility is such a common problem."

I give him the look of death.

It was at this point that I wanted to smack him, and smack him hard. He acts like this is no bid deal---that infertility is so common, and that being pregnant is the unusual case. Dr. C. is no Mr. Sensitivity. I start sobbing in the chair, telling him that I may finally have the opportunity to start fertility treatments again, and I don't want to jeopardize my chances with this medication.

It was the longest 10 minutes of my life, because there was no way I was going to keep up the conversation, by myself, for 15. At the end, as he is writing a script for the medication, he asks what fertility treatments I will be trying soon.

REALLY? You barely talk to me, make insensitive comments about my insecurities with your medication you haven't even personally told me about, and then want to know intimate, medical information not related to the medication you are prescribing for me?

The only thing I can think of that may redeem him in some small, small way would be if he was dealing with infertility, too. I did see him play with his wedding band when the topic of infertility was discussed. So, unless he was trying to get info from me about how to proceed with his own issue, I'm pretty sure I will loathe every time I have to see that man. I guess it doesn't matter whether he has infertility issues or not, though, since he can't seem to carry a conversation with a client for 15 minutes.

Thank goodness for psychologists. They have souls.

In hindsight, as I read this, I am a little embarrassed by my complaints. And especially that I implied psychiatrists don't have souls (hello, dramatic!). I know psychiatrists who are kind, lovely people. I also know psychologists who are mean-spirited and unaccepting. I won't make any excuses for Dr. C.'s lack of people skills, but I will say that I don't "loathe" him (just being with him). Either way, I think it is normal to have intense reactions towards emotionally charged situations. I am grateful I have the good sense to vent in less destructive ways.

UPDATE: I met with my psychologist/counselor (the pregnant one), and I relayed this experience to her. She told me that she knows Dr. C. doesn't have any children, and perhaps he felt infertility was "common" because he has experienced it, too. She definitely agrees about the social skills, though.

---Mrs. M.


  1. Ughh...totally feel your pain about dealing with a psychiatrist. I went through 2 bouts of mild depression and have been to 2 different doctors for it. The first time it was to deal with a mentally and verbally abusive basketball coach in college...she ended our first session by saying she hoped her daughter got a division 1 scholarship (was she listening to anything I said??) and the other just didn't make me feel comfortable or want to open up. You're not alone and not being dramatic!! If you decide to take the meds, hopefully they will help. I took anti-depressant for three months in the summer of 2009 and it was just enough to balance out my emotions...

    1. You give me such hope! Thanks for sharing a little of your story with me. I hope three months is good enough for me, too, but I guess only time will tell.

      P.S.--What was your psychiatrist thinking (or not thinking)? Who care about her daughter at a time like that?

  2. I absolutely agree that you should feel like you are able to post anything, no matter how emotionally motivated or irrational it may be. This is the space where we can be a bit mental and it is ok. My blog is a stream of consciousness, and that includes whatever crazy I am feeling. Get it out, it should help.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. You are fantastic!

  3. Hugs to you ... that sounds like an awful appointment. Regardless of what's going on his own personal life, that doesn't change the need for him to conduct himself properly in a professional context - which includes not only being sympathetic to the reasons why you are feeling depressed, but also discussing with you what kind of treatments you'd be undergoing and the effects of that particular anti-depressive in that context before deciding to write you the prescription for it. Or if there are no effects, to do his best do reassure you on that front instead of treating you like he did. Do you have the opportunity to change doctors?

    And to echo the others, don't feel embarrassed, you have every right to feel the way you do after undergoing that.

    1. Thanks so much! I don't know if I can switch in the immediate future, but if it persists, he won't be worth my time.

  4. You have every right to feel upset over the way you were treated. If he is one who is experiencing IF as well, he should have been able to be empathetic to your feelings. If he isn't, than he still has no reason to act the way he did. You were justified in your 'drama'. This is difficult and he should not have been making it more so.

  5. I was cringing the entire time I read this post. You were not being over dramatic. I think that anyone in your shoes would have felt the same way. I hope he gains some people skills in the near future.


You are fabulous!