As my title states, so what? If you have made the decision to see a psychiatrist? Good for you! Also possibly good for your loved ones (and the general public, in some cases), as well.
But there is absolutely nothing wrong, or shameful, to admit you are seeing a psychiatrist. Yourself, a loved one, or your own doctor may have suggested to get a referral. Or, like me? A series of tragic life events may lead you to one.
And, like me, some of you do need a push to see yourselves as others see you. It sucks, I can tell you. It will sicken you to the core just knowing a lot of your life could have been handled better and done differently. You will cry, grieve, get angry, drink a lot of booze. But, there is a bright side. You will get better. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, but I am getting there.
You know? I don’t feel like a failure as a man. I once did, always did because I was made to feel that way right back starting at school. The hard part is learning I was never stupid or a loser like I had been told for at least 40 years.
I didn’t understand myself and those who called me names and bullied me out of fear of their own inadequacies because they didn’t understand me, either. Sadly? Neurodivergent kids to this day are still treated appallingly by their peers and an outdated, under staffed education system that does not cater for their brains.
I still do feel like a failure to a point, especially for spending the last 13 months seeing my psychiatrist. And one whom I have an appointment with, every month, until December 2022 and probably beyond.
The last 13 months has been draining to learn what made me tick and why my life just sucked balls. I am now moving forward, I am unravelling and rewrapping myself into a far better version of myself. Someone I should have been, well? He was always there, I just had to find him. I needed professional help to do so.
I also had to learn to leave the past behind and everyone in it and find people who like this new version of me. The past doesn’t deserve this new me. They don’t get to have any enjoyment in what my present and future gets to have.
My past can bang a fat one right up its clacker and everyone in it. Sounds bitter, I know. I have to work through 40 years worth of bullying and mistreatment to get out of my system. I have a right to be angry.
You see? I never thought I had a “problem”. Pretty much my entire life, people kept on telling me I did. Saying things like, ‘You’re not interested in anything’, ‘Why do you drink so much?’ ‘You’re a loser’, ‘You’re a joke’, Why on earth would I date you?’
I failed, time and again, at friendships and relationships, even in some work places. For the sweet life of me I could never understand why I was not liked. I had always been friendly and sociable with people. I got a long okay with people in my past I thought were a friend.
One question my psychiatrist prompted me to answer had me in tears, ‘You were always looking for a friend, right?’ I told him I can’t remember being invited to anyone’s birthday party. At 52 years of age. I do not have a best friend. I’ve never even been in love. I thought I had, but no.
I never considered for one moment that my brain is both physically and psychologically disabled. I am highly intelligent. I have always been employed. Never hurt anyone physically, well? Maybe someone’s feelings, but I’ve never been violent toward anyone. Angry, yes. I’ve just never been able to maintain friendships or relationships, and had no idea why, until now.
I have finally come to the acceptance that I did/do have a “problem”. Not a problem, actually. I needed full on psychiatric help for a diagnosable condition that when treated correctly with medication and cognitive therapy can help me function as I am meant to and handle life.
And now I am doing something about it. Not just for myself, but for my loved ones and society. Thanks to my psychiatrist, my medication and without blowing my own trumpet, thanks to myself too.
One word of advice and possibly a warning as well. If you go to see a psychiatrist for whatever reason? You are going to get angry. I mean, really angry. Trust me? There is a point to getting you angry. It is to help you get better.
The anger can also bring other things to the surface that maybe hidden in the dark recesses of your mind allowing your psychiatrist to come up with a correct diagnosis. To help you move forward. But you need to want to move forward and that is the very scary part. To this day? I am still scared.
A good psychiatrist knows how to push one’s buttons. Trust me, I know, having spent over 13 hours now over the last 13 months with my psychiatrist as he has helped me navigate my initial diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and now autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have always experienced sensory issues with certain sounds, noises and lighting which would infuriate me and I’d get angry about it.
I would hazard a guess and say maybe 9-11 of those 13 hours was me yelling. Not in succession. My psychiatrist’s game play is this, he’ll let me ramble on about things I did since the last appointment, like we’re having a chit-chat.
Then out of nowhere, and me not realising, he’s asked a question or prompted further on something I said and then the yelling returns. I will go home worked up about it and into the next day, but a day or so later after much reflection I have an ‘Ah ha!’ moment. I then move forward.
There is a high degree of having to do a lot of the work for yourself. Not just pop a pill, see a psychiatrist and not do anything else. Hands down? Exercising has been a huge key for me getting better, too.
The whole point of seeing a psychiatrist is to help ‘YOU’ and no one else. I am the one with the condition, the problem, and the diagnosis and it is my responsibility, no one else’s. Each person responds to treatment differently but the main thing is, you have to want to change — for the better. For those around you. More importantly society too.
I’ve watched enough ‘Public Explosion’ and ‘Road Rage’ videos on YouTube to realise that there maybe far more people out there in the world who are unknowingly ADHD and or autistic. And should be under psychiatric care.
Another recent example are the ‘Karen’s’ as well. (Apologies to anyone named Karen reading this.) Every ‘Karen’ video I have watched there are some I see and go, ‘You’re ADHD, lady!’ And to the ‘Ken’s’ road raging, too. Turns out? My own mum was a ‘Karen’ and she was ADHD.
All jokes aside though. Not knowing I was ADHD and autistic? And had it not been nipped in the bud, now? My future would have been very, very bleak. I would have become a burden on loved ones and society. I hang out with enough old people in my life to know what ageing does to someone, mentally and physically.
I plan on having a far better future.
Remember? There is zero shame in admitting that you might need help. If anything, it makes you a great human and anyone laughing at you about it can… well? Go fuck themselves for they may just need help, too.
5 thoughts on “So What If You’re Seeing a Psychiatrist?”
Grant, this is so eloquent and very moving. As you say, there is no shame in consulting a medical professional, for any reason. In fact it takes courage. And not just to attend, and talk, but to then draw personal conclusions. To grieve, to eventually accept, and to make changes.
I know you’ve endured a lot in your life, but you really are all these things you mention – highly intelligent, a great human, and someone who is embracing the future. You have my deep admiration and I’m proud to call you a friend.
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Aww! Thank you, thank you, thank you! x1000 .. I am more than happy you are my friend, too!
Grant, this is a brave and inspirational piece – you are an inspiration. You have come so far and deserve to feel proud of yourself. I’m so glad you’ve found your (writing) tribe. And I forgive you for using my way in a derogatory way 🙂
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Thank you for your kind words, Karen. And hahaha.. I know! I grimaced when I wrote ‘Karen’ knowing full well you were going to be reading this.. lol
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*using my *name*
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