It doesn’t always happen when you see your doctor, being validated. I’m not talking about your parking ticket here, I’m talking about being validated as a person, not just a diagnosis or a problem. Even in the mental health arena, people don’t often feel as though they’re being truly listened to, especially in the American mental health system. It’s so broken, we’re seen just like every other doctor sees their patients — one after the other in a hurried fashion. There’s little time spent with you, so only the the basics are covered when you’re in for a medication consult with your psych MD. They’re not there to TALK to you…they’re there to prescribe your meds and make sure you’re stable and send you on your way. They talk to you just long enough to make sure the meds are working and whatever therapy you’re receiving from the talk therapists is helping and on track and that’s it.
But my doctor listens. Or he listened to me. He stopped the usual banter we have, and listened. Granted, I had my journal with me, a bulleted list of points I needed to go over with him so he knew I meant business. And I’m also a suicide survivor, so when I say I’m in trouble…I’m in trouble. My ongoing depression hasn’t resolved, no matter what I’ve done – and I’m doing all the things. I’m doing all the healthy things, or at least trying to, as best as I can considering how heavy the elephant is that’s sitting on top of me.
So I’m very grateful that my doctor took the time to listen to me, and validate my feelings. And not just throw some more medication at me, although we made some changes there. We determined that in one particular instance, I’m NOT crazy — or at least a specific kind of crazy — and that was a validation in and of itself. It feels like the elephant lost some weight – the depression remains of course, but a worry that was dumped in my lap isn’t mine to worry about anymore. That load can go, thank you.
Feels good. Kind of. A step toward good. That’s good enough.