TW: gender stuffs, ableism,
And I don’t mean the way that’s normally used, because I’m not talking about that today, directly anyway.
I have very few boundaries with my psychiatrist. We never discuss gender; I don’t know why, but the discussion, such as it is, always skirts away from it. As far as I know, he thinks I’m AFAB and happy, which is patently ridiculous given circumstances to date. I do not email; I repeatedly say no, I do not email. Email is a trigger for me, especially emails about medical stuff which is therefore old-work stuff. It’s best for things to not go by email, because I don’t check it, otherwise I would be a mess all the time. People survive without email; it’s quite easy, really, or it is meant to be.
The other boundary is that if I say no to something, he claims to respect that. He says I have to want to do things, and I have to feel safe doing them, or there’s no benefit.
So, explain to me, how when I’m in my spam filter looking for tracking information, there’s an email from his office, titled ‘appointment with that doctor you explicitly refused to see’? Because I don’t know. I didn’t give them an email, or permission to email me, because I don’t use email for precisely this reason – I walked away from the computer, and I couldn’t focus, and I came back to write about it but sitting at the computer is taking all my spoons, and I’m hearing voices, and of course, now I know I will be in trouble for not using email. Again.
I missed a neurologist appointment the other week; a long saga in terms of them refusing to reschedule because I had another appointment at the same time, the attempt to reschedule that ended up in the relay operators berating me for four hours, them sending letters saying I wouldn’t get future appointments for not showing up to an appointment I cancelled… I missed an appointment nobody told me about. I found out when I went to the psychiatrist on Monday and he asked why I missed it, even though I told him I needed a break from doctors and he agreed.
Now I have to “discuss it with my GP”, you know, the one I went to in tears saying please get this thing out of me because I’m not a girl and it’s messing with my head and I cannot take any more bleeding, because my psychiatrist was on leave. Because he was on leave, he has no idea about any of this, of course. He wrote a letter to her to tell her that he thinks I’m a drug addict (not that, you know, I’m in pain and nobody actually knows how to stop it…). He also thinks being allergic to milk means ‘lactose allergy’. (He once said “do you have problems with milk, too? I swear, allergies are something that should be mandatory CPD.) I’m not aware that she’s spoken to him. I didn’t actually allow him to write to her; he just decided he would. He does that.
So anyway, that’s not happening.
Nor is the appointment with this other doctor. Because I do not use email.
This is how this other doctor became involved:
The gynaecologist, you know, the one who changed my HBC without permission then refused to take it out and also decided to tell me that my gender identity was just because of my brain disorder and it would all go away with physio, recommended her. I received a letter with pictures of a uterus that is not mine and a phone number.
Next thing I know, they’re harassing me to make an appointment. The phone number wasn’t a recommendation, it was “I have referred you but I’m not telling you that I referred you, and I deliberately chose to refer you to this one doctor instead of the one right next door at the same practice who openly accepts gender diverse patients”. And they were not informed that I do not talk, either. At this point, I still believed that I had been referred to the exact same type of specialist, at a place I can actually get to, last September (which is now, like, a year ago). Therefore, making an appointment with a doctor recommended by a doctor who assaulted me, facilitated others assaulting me, and who is not in a place I can get to… not a high priority. And, last I checked, I still get to choose my doctors.
So my psychiatrist talks to the gynaecologist, and the gynaecologist fails to pass on, or the psychiatrist disregards, that she wants me referred for gender therapy (to prove that I am genderfluid and that not having a uterus would be excellent for my mental health, because we all know how having three-month-long migraines, excessive dissociative anxiety, and all that other not-fun stuff is healthy). Instead, the psychiatrist writes a letter to this other doctor, explaining my condition and saying that his office will make the appointment for me. Without, you know, telling me.
He showed me the letter in the appointment. I got to the point of telling him the address was wrong, and the appointment ended. I sometimes take in notes for him; things that take too long to type in there, or that happen in between. They get filed, anything not on the first page doesn’t get read. I don’t know how this note, that I’m writing in another window, will go.
But I have the right to choose my own medical team. I choose not this one. I don’t know why anyone thinks arranging appointments for me behind my back or repeatedly bringing it up will change my mind.
I found another hill to die on, I guess.
I also really, really, don’t want his receptionist arranging things for me.
This is the receptionist who, after waving a form in my face, watching me put down my glasses and then my bag, struggling to hold the pen in two hands, started yelling at me while I was picking up my bag “don’t forget your glasses!!”. You know, the glasses that if I pick up will prevent me picking up my bag and are actually, you know, right there on the desk in front of me because the form was more important than putting my glasses in my bag, and my other hand, the one that doesn’t hold anything but still has sensation, is right on? Those ones?
On Monday, I was at the vending machine, and I stood up, and some lady was literally right in my face, waving her hand in front of my eyes and yabbering away in my ear. She then rushed to the door and opened it behind her, only about 5cm, and proceeded to stand in front of the door and yell at me for not going in. You know, through the door she was in the way of? Like, preventing me entering? I only realised it was her when the desk was empty (a thing which I am always thankful for until she runs in and starts apologising for that exact thing) and she came in, without the big suitcase and bunch of files she had been holding before.
Apparently, being uncomfortable because someone prevents me entering a door and consistently forces her way into my personal space, making unnecessary and unwanted comments, is social anxiety. I choose to believe that anxiety is a message that something is not okay. Standing up from a vending machine to find a person twenty centimetres away from your face, said person yelling at you for choosing not to make physical contact by entering a door they are blocking? That is not okay. That is not “being nice”, either. It’s like when a man opens a door for a strange woman so they can check out her bottom and make her walk past them at a distance she would not otherwise choose to, but calls it chivalry.
If I thought I could find another psychiatrist who would believe me, I would not go back. The last one kept pushing medication on me, then yelled at me because the pharmacist said ‘um, no, you’re allergic to this, don’t you dare’, and then told me she couldn’t treat anyone who couldn’t talk anyway. Among, you know, other things.
The one before spent an entire appointment telling me off for saying “no, I have a partner” when apparently “no, I do not want to be set up on a date with the managing partner who sexually harasses me and yells at everyone else” was not a good enough excuse.
There was the one who yelled at me (as in full on, entire building heard, screaming) for not talking, apparently under the belief that if he yelled enough I would stop faking, because you know, I chose this. Or something. (For the record, I didn’t choose this, but I have adapted enough to prefer it and I would rather move on and keep adapting than be shunted around doctors purporting to fix things with physio. Or whatever.)
There was the one who decided I was childlike because I was having a high pain day and wore a soft jumper with a cat on the front.
Unfortunately, I need someone to write reports that say ‘yep, not talking, has brain thing, is real’. Otherwise I could have what I need, which is, you know, to be left alone, to piece things together at my own pace, without having to invert my sleep schedule or be harassed by people who think whatever it is they think that justifies ignoring my wishes and doing stuff I don’t consent to. Already, I’m super careful about what I say and how I frame things, even though I say there are few boundaries; there are many things I just don’t get the chance to say, or choose not to unless I’m asked directly.
That, is also not helpful. At least I get to choose that, I guess.