“Are you suicidal?”
This is a question my doctor asked me during an appointment to get a referral to a psychiatrist for new medication.
In the spirit of both eradicating stigma related to mental illness and avoiding bullshit, I have long carried diagnoses of anxiety disorder, major depression (as opposed to bipolar depression) and attention deficit disorder. So now you’re caught up.
Trying to find the most effective way to treat/contend with my personal smorgasbord of crazy has been an ongoing project. And let it be known that the medical community does not make it easy.
A goodly portion of mental health professionals don’t accept insurance, patients often have to see one doctor for therapy, another for drug consultations, another for prescriptions, you get the idea. Basically, people who are in medical need of less bullshit get a hit parade of overpriced bullshit dumped in their laps. Rain on your wedding day be damned, Alanis should have been singing about the mental health system in America.
So when my doctor asks “are you suicidal?” It roughly translates to “there’s not an actual rush to improve your course of treatment, right?” That is the standard: If you haven’t bought the gun, squirreled away the pills, sharpened the razor, written the note… You’re cool.
To reassure any kind souls who might be concerned for my safety, no, I am not suicidal, nor do I self-harm.
But the fact that that’s basically what determines whether someone is in actual need of help drives me to a different department of the nut college than the one I’m already attending.
“Oh, you got slashed across the neck? Well, has your head actually fallen off? OK will if not you’re fine just put a Band-Aid on it.”
This is probably a poor comparison, because a deep enough blow to the neck with a sharp object could either result in the severing of a major artery or perhaps of ones spinal column, or something science-y like that. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.
The point is the chronic and sometimes overwhelming exhaustion and pure bullshit, to use a scientific term, that accompanies things like depression are not only not helped but are often exacerbated by this lovely system that we call healthcare.
And I’ll leave you to contemplate the irony of that particular title on your own.