On a cold Halloween night I made my way to my new surgery. Having recently moved I had to change practices, which I was sad about because my last practice, my Doctor in particular, was great.
I signed in, sat down and just 25 minutes after my appointment time, my name popped up. Then, well... Our conversation wasn’t great.
Upon being asked "why" I was there (wouldn’t how can I help be a better opening question?), I replied because I had recently moved. Doctors response... “Why?” Personally I found this quite confrontational. Little did I know this was just the beginning.
I asked about coming off my medication. Reply; “Why?” Well I’ve been doing better and it’s affected my weight. But I’m aware it’s winter and that’s not a great time, so I’m seeing how I go till March. Which I’ve discussed with my previous Doctor.
New Doctor's ‘advise’ included:
- Your only on a little dosage, so it’s not really doing much. But if you think it’s working.
- You need to be using your CBT tools more.
- It’s all about how we react to things. Baby’s act out because they don't know any better. Adults know. So it’s about making sure you know how to act and react to things.
- Plus you’re not really in the right job.
- Dancing helps couples stay together.
That last point?!? So confused by this random bit of unsolicited personal opinion. Not to mention the rest of this 'advise'.
I came away from the discussion feeling invalidated, marginalised, unimportant and like a child. I honestly didn’t know what to say. So I smiled and nodded. Which is annoying me now, because I wouldn’t want anyone I know (or don’t) to accept this from a Doctor. It’s completely unacceptable. Yet when it’s me, I just couldn’t say anything.
To be clear, I don’t think this Doctor was being nasty. I honestly believe they thought they were helping and maybe even sympathetic. That’s just very much not how it has come across.
Then as we wrapped up our enjoyable and informative talk, the Doctor said I’ve sent the prescription over to the pharmacy and showed me the door.
I had to go and ask at reception what to do next because I’d always been given a receipt (unless doing it online). I was told you go straight to the pharmacy, which was a short 3 minute drive. On arrival I was told it can take a couple of hours to come through. I’d be best to come back tomorrow.
I’d said I’m new, they knew I was new. Why wasn’t this process explained. Totally ridiculous.
I accept part of this is on me to ask and clarify. But I really left feeling disappointed and very much affected by low mood.
I’m feeling better having written this all down and feel like I’ve processed my emotions more. I have also had the privilege of sitting next to Laura while she works (after we’d had a chat).
It is different having some ask, genuinely care and give you time to explain how you are feeling. It’s still kind of new to me, because before we lived together I would try and ‘get on’ with things until I got home. Then I’d have a few moments of sadness and/ frustration on my own. We did talk about things, but I’d have those times at home alone too. Having Laura here all the time is so lovely.
Hopefully I can pick up my medication tomorrow and I’ll feel a little brighter. I do feel very reluctant to go back to the Doctor and if this was my first experience, I definitely wouldn’t. However, I know there will be a time when I need to go back and I’ll be more prepared next time. I am 99% sure I’ll be asking to see another Doctor. But I shouldn’t, I don’t think, have to do that.
I guess this post is about sharing that sometimes going to the Doctors doesn’t go as you’d hoped or particularly well. That doesn’t mean: they don’t care, there isn’t help or you’re not worth support. It just means that wasn’t the right person for you at the time.
Don’t stop asking for help if you need it, there is a range of support available and lots of people that want to help.
This occasion/ interaction wasn’t good for me (not at all). But I’ll go again, more informed and ready to ask for help from someone more suited to me.
You’re not alone.
If you feel you are in crisis, or just need someone to talk call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or search online for your local/ national hotline.