I spent over a year with a bad psychiatrist, believing that I was wrong to think she was bad. She told me I was wrong, because I wasn’t thinking clearly.
She told me I handled things poorly that I had handled well, purely because I had asked those around me for a shoulder to lean on when situations were hard.
She would not believe me when I told her things in earnest.
She prescribed medications that brought me further into depression. Into unmoving sadness.
Under her care, at first I stared into the black hole, and then I became it.
I only stopped seeing her because I have a problem with tardiness, and she never arrived at the office until at least an hour after my appointment was supposed to start. When I became angry about it, she told me she had gotten distracted smelling her flowers, and stared defiantly at me to make sure I would once again know it was ME who was crazy for valuing my time.
I never went back to her. I found a different person to attend to my psychiatric needs.
Martha held her hand out to me as I approached her door. She looked me in the eye and shook my hand as she asked, “How are you today, Renee?”
And for the first time, in the five years since I had been originally diagnosed, after two bad experiences with psychiatrists, I did not feel like I was insane. I was not broken. She listened to not only my words, but their speed and inflection. She told me about modern psychiatry, and explained how the medication she wanted to try worked.
Her eyes lit up with this. She was engaged by what she did. She wanted more than a paycheck. She wanted to help.
I didn’t think I could be helped until that day.