Trust in Mental Health Treatment #7/Messages in a Bottle #18: Meda-Analysis

Do you ever get handed such comedy gold that it’s actually kind of intimidating?

Like, the low-hanging fruit is so low-hanging that you suspect it’s a trap**? 

It’s terrifying, isn’t it? I mean, with a joke so easy it writes itself, how can you possibly screw it up?!

So, of course, you panic freeze and can’t write anything at all. Lest you be the girl who vaguely pretends to be funny who can’t even figure out something appropriate to say about her psychiatrist phoning it in. Literally!

My psychiatrist would like to keep phoning it in. Permanently

He would like to never return to in-person appointments – even in the nebulous “after covid” world – because it’s just so much easier for him to call all his patients for fifteen minutes than to ever take the time to show up three hours late to see everyone in person.

And, I’m fine with that. 

I mean, it works for me pretty well, since his office is a commuter rail away. I really don’t want to go through having my infinity+oneth psychiatrist questioning whether I’m just drug-seeking because “how can a girl as smart as you possibly need stimulants?” Or, “Is it possible you’re not ADHD, you’re maybe just not that good at your [intensely numbers-oriented] job?”  

I really hate changing doctors – even ones I objectively know are not awesome for most people – when I’ve had to self-manage my entire family’s psychiatric care for so many years I might as well have an honorary degree myself. The best doctor for me will always be the one who cares enough to tend the very least. Because it means I can get the medicines that I have determined for myself will most likely work for me, manage any potential complications over time, and not have to panic because what if I screw up explaining why I’m screwed up enough to need them in the first place?

It works for me to have my psychiatrist just call me once a month and tell me he has submitted my electronic refill of all my meds. I haven’t had to hand-carry any prescriptions for even my ADHD meds since March. It works most of all that I don’t even have to remember to make appointments any more. My psychiatrist – who can be such a jerk to everyone else but is so very, very weirdly nice to me – just picks an arbitrary evening and calls to tell me that meds have been electronically sent. I’ll have two weeks to pick them up. I am so terrible at remembering to actually book appointments that running out of meds used to be a common occurrence for me pre-covid. Yet, for the past six months, I haven’t run out of meds once. 

My psychiatrist has promised to just keep calling me once a month and saving me from myself for the foreseeable future. 

And, that absolutely works for me. 

But, I was, of course, correct in my suspicion that he was not offering that same level of personal service to his other clients with ADHD. 

There is so much potential comedy gold in having to explain to your own psychiatrist that you will gladly keep letting him phone it in for you literally, but only if he would also just go on ahead and extend that same courtesy to all his patients with ADHD who wish it. 

Because, it’s really in his best interests (of phoning it in metaphorically) to trust all of his patients. 

There is so much potential comedy gold in the fact that he listened to me and agreed it was in his own longer-term interests before we moved on to discussing my recent travel in the era of covid. (Spoiler alert: he had been on one of his many vacations in March when the world shut down and for a few days had genuinely had to wonder if he’d be forced to ride out quarantine in “paradise.” Do we consider his period of personal concern just deserts because it was clearly so worrisome to him, or do we remain mostly just jealous that he is able to travel so many times per year that the pandemic managed to catch him traveling? I happen to remember having to make a really inconvenient appointment time originally in March that would have made me have to leave work early because he had no weekend appointments available that month due to that traveling before covid rendered everything virtual…)

There is so much comedy gold in this whole situation that I’ll probably choose to go broke rather than risk failing to successfully mine it. Because how embarrassing would it be not to be able to even come up with something funny to say in such a perfect situation as this one?

It wouldn’t be the first time things were so easy that even I couldn’t do it. This post really should be the second follow-up to a fairly popular post of mine about my psychiatrist from last year. But, it’s only the first. Because the last time my psychiatrist showed such a level of meta-awareness that he suggested I use him as the subject of one of my “stand-up” routines, I also panicked about how to turn it into a successful follow-up to my prior “popular” post. I panicked so long that, in the meantime, the world collapsed and took that theater wherein I did “stand-up” (aka improv, which remains not the same thing Psychiatrist!) with it. 

Ah, well. This is what Messages in a Bottle are for. In this case, have the notes I took during my appointment in December 2019 in their unedited form. I never quite developed the self-confidence to turn them into a full blog post. Because it seemed just too easy. And, thus, it became impossible. And, now that I’ve procrastinated on it so long that the world itself has rendered its natural secondary subheader obsolete, my ADHD brain doesn’t want to return to an “old” half-finished project. Enjoy my original Evernote thoughts penned immediately after that appointment that for now – and forever – will have to suffice. 

December 10, 2019

My psychiatrist speculated today that my “stand-up” comedic voice was “probably something along the lines of sardonically detached commentary on the inherent absurdity of the world from the perspective of someone with ADHD coupled with one-liners.” Also, he suspects he’s “in it a lot.”

Umm, okay. Well, I guess he listens to exactly one of his clients? Or am I just that transparent? 

I mean, improv remains not at all the same thing as stand-up. So, definitely not listening to me on that one. But, uh, I think that might be an accurate description of my “comedic” voice on Lavender and Levity? (I really suck at describing myself! Especially with anything that sounds like it might be intended as praise!)

He then basically proceeded to tell me that – as frustrating as he knows that he is – he’s in a field wherein he knows what the minimum standard is in most places. And, he feels better knowing that he, at least, is at least somewhat above that low bar. Not enough, it seems, to strive to be good, but enough to be oddly proud of himself for being adequate? 

Proud enough that he takes no offense that he assumes I probably regularly write bits off of the myriad of things I have taken to reminding him that a psychiatrist really ought to do for all patients, if they do it for one. Proud enough that he…seems to do those things if I tell him to?…but mostly see me as amusing rather than crusading?

What am I supposed to do with that? 

Where do I even begin to write a post about that one? Do I focus on how completely baffling it is to meet someone so self-confident that they can take pride in squeaking by when my self-doubt knows no bounds? Do I write another Trust in Mental Health Treatment series post about, “If he’s what passes for good in the field, it explains so much about everyone else’s blog posts?!” 

Do I just go throw more sharp objects at a wall for inspiration (because it’s the only sane response to the world anymore, “sardonic detachment” be damned?) 

Because, sadly, I suspect that he is 100% accurate in his self-assessment. I suspect he probably does still “clear the bar” by the standards of a lot of the terrible psychiatrists other bloggers have written about. 

But, honestly, what do you make of a psychiatrist so self-aware that he knows where the bar is, and he openly admits he’ll be overbooked forever because he only cares to just clear it. That level of “Yup, I’m not great, but by the terrible standards of my field I’m good forever. And, yes, you can quote me saying that on stage!” is getting into such a level of meta meda-analysis that I have absolutely no response to it…

Well, other than “see you next month.” 

**Even for those who don’t also play D&D and didn’t also randomly agree to run a short “month-long” campaign for the first time ever until the group figures out what it wants to do longer term as the campaign that brought us together in the first place naturally approaches its end point. 

Did I totally defeat the purpose of a “mini” campaign by accidentally inventing a homebrew setting, which I will probably end up writing out in its entirety – with maps – because hyperfocus? Yes. 

Does it turn out that when I went to go back and try and plan to run a simple D&D pre-made module, I actually find that more intimidating than just sticking with the narrative causality that made sense for the intro adventure to the world I created? Yes. 

Because the idea of “screwing up” something someone could plausibly check if I did it “right” per the instructions feels scarier than “screwing up” a scenario no one knows if I screw up in the middle because no one but me knows how it is supposed to go?

Does the fact that I think this way – and invented an aforementioned homebrew world on a whim – mean that realistically we should know what our next campaign is, and that I should accept that I probably should DM it? Yes. 

Will I accept that? Most likely not. 

Because even if my “mini” campaign goes well, I’ll probably still assume that the other group members all secretly hate it. And are just too polite to say anything about it. The Bully-in-my-Brain is a douche sometimes. And the things that seem like they should be “obvious” and “too easy” are the scariest of all. 

On the plus side, impulsively taking on new projects such as I did with this “mini campaign” idea – because my mouth said “yes” before the bully-in-my-brain could engage to say “no” – is basically the only reason I’ve ever had any hobbies of any kind. 

On the negative side, I am temporarily running short on blog ideas as a result. It takes a lot of creative juice to write out an entire homebrew setting that you will probably only ever use for a month of IRL time. I might remain a bit light on coherent narrative causality on this site until I either brain-dump my entire homebrew setting onto paper or just burn out and move on to my next hyperfocus. So, uh, how would people feel if my next blog post is more Brevity is the Soul of Apathetically-style out-of-context quotes, but this time from a tabletop RPG?!

—Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out my Glossary of Terms


8 thoughts on “Trust in Mental Health Treatment #7/Messages in a Bottle #18: Meda-Analysis

    1. It’s a kind of social collaborative fantasy storytelling. Dungeons & Dragons. Because I’m a total dork! One person kind of runs the overall rules of the world that the others in a group play in, and I’ve never done that part. Trying it out this month. We’ll see how it goes!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think you have an inkling how well i grok “infinity+oneth psychiatrist”.
    I grok practically everything in this piece.
    Speaking of, i was smile-nodding, snorting, doing the omg right?! thingies all the way through.
    Because you’re both kinds of funny, peculiar AND haha.
    As to slowing down the blogging, whatever you have to do to take care of yourself, consider me here for it.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Since improv kind of doesn’t exist for the indefinite future, this whole “run a mini D&D game” idea is at least in part an attempt at filling that old void in my week. I figure after a period of figuring things out this month, I’ll either be back to my pre-covid number of hobbies (if I like running games and stick with it) *or* still have one fewer day of commitments (if I, er, flame out spectacularly!) But, I have absolutely no plans to blog less over the longer-term! Any reduction in frequency and/or coherence is anticipated just to be for this month of September, if at all. I still very much like blogging. I just know I panic at any new things and am liable to run away if I feel like others might judge me negatively for them. So, I’m trying to set myself up for success. I think I gave the same original warning when I started improv back in 2017, and I never ended up blogging less after all. So, we’ll see! I could be warning everyone that I’ll be a bit less coherent for nothing!

      Liked by 3 people

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