Anyone who has been reading this site for a little while will know I’m insane. I have auditory, tactile and visual hallucinations, paranoid delusions and affective mood problems.
Thanks to an unsuccessful attempt to change my medication I’ve been particularly insane recently. I’ve been have weird delusional beliefs about daddy dying if I go into a different room to him, I’ve been vastly depressed and liable to burst into tears at any moment, and I’ve been incredibly anxious and paranoid when I’ve been obliged to go out. I’ve been so insane it’s a good job I’m seeing my psychiatrist today.
But as well as being insane I’m also quite sane. I have insight into my illness and also a lot of insight into who I am. Indeed, I am very knowledgeable about myself and, ignoring the problems of depression, confident and happy about the person I am. I know who I am and I’m not ashamed of myself.
Consequently, I will go to the psychiatrist wearing my teddy bear monogrammed sweater:
There’s nothing weird or peculiar about me wearing this childish item of clothing – it just suits who I am and the psychiatrist is interested in seeing me, after all.
Now, I must admit to getting a little nervous before and during my three-monthly psychiatrist’s appointments. To help me relax and be as articulate as possible I will have Toast the teddy out of my bag and cuddle and maul him as appropriate.
I had Toast out at my last appointment and the only comment he merited from the doctor was, “With all that has been happening to you I don’t blame you for wanting a teddy bear.” That wasn’t much of a negative judgement, eh?
Now, I recognise that wearing a childish sweater and cuddling a teddy bear is a touch eccentric. Indeed, during my last session we talked about referring me for psychotherapy and the doctor said, “I think the psychology service will find you a uniquely interesting case, for all sorts of reasons”. However, ‘different’, ‘eccentric’ or ‘interesting’ are just that, they are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. They are just fine if that is how I want to be.
And being a little boy with a teddy bear is how I want to be. I may have mental health problems that I want to deal with but that’s precisely because they are problems. There’s no problem with having a teddy bear, the psychiatrist realises that, and so neither of us sees a need to change it.
Furthermore, there is the ‘staff’ issue. When dealing with many professionals a lot of people seem to think they need to win the approval of that person. Truth is, you are paying the person for a service and that is the whole basis of your relationship. That is to say, they are staff.
An example. A delivery man once collected a box from my living room which wasn’t particularly tidy at the time, He said, “Phew, it’s a bit messy in here, isn’t it?” I replied, “I’m paying you to collect a parcel from me, not comment on my living arrangements. Keep your thoughts to yourself.” And, quite naturally, he apologised.
Now, I may be seeing my psychiatrist on the National Health Service and so paying indirectly through the medium of tax, but he is still staff. I am seeing him to sort out problems, not to make him want me as the god-father to his children. I don’t care if he thinks I’m a bit odd or unusual if I have a teddy bear and he has no business telling me if he does. His views about anything beyond my psychiatric problems are of no interest to me and there’s no reason why he should be telling me them. Toast the teddy is definitely not a psychiatric problem – he’s lovely!
So that is why I can go to my psychiatrist’s appointment and be myself without having to hide any part of my personality from him. If one is seeing a psychiatrist it is best to be open, don’t you think?