Monday evening found me sitting coyly in a well-lit psychiatrist’s clinic. It was a modest apartment that had been converted to an office. Faded plastic chairs were scattered in the hall. Most of them were occupied by men, women and children who to me, appeared very glum and withdrawn, possibly the placebic effect of this place.
The receptionist was an extremely uninterested lady. When my father enquired about the procedure for new people (I hate the words sick, patient, ill etc.), she gave a bored irritated look and rummaged for the new applicant form. After scavenging through the mess of files and papers, she fished out a surprisingly intact sheet of paper. My dad and I signed the paper (same usual one-sided stuff about accepting medication prescribed, including new experimental ones), though we did not sign the one regarding clinical trials.
The lady thrust it back into her disorganised pile of papers and continued watching her Tamil soap on her phone. My idea of the whole place tanked to the bottom, starting with the boorish receptionist. Especially in a psychiatrist’s clinic, she ought to be well-mannered and caring, at least visibly even if you hated the job!
At ten minutes past eight, the lady announced that the doctor would see us. Before we could react, she sank back behind her desk and continued doing what she did best.
A tall lanky lady sat inside the cabin. Even though her husband was the principal doctor, she helped him run the firm – kind of like a filter, I suppose. After interviewing me, taking notes about our car accident, my mom’s death, my surprisingly good grades, my consequent ‘brilliance’ and nodding her head ‘sympathetically’ through my toneless narrative, she spoke with my dad.
My dad talked about how moody I had become and how I would suddenly burst into tears. He also talked about how I had become very lonely, rarely go out with ‘friends,’ and hated going anywhere outside. He also explained that I was basically withdrawing into my own cocoon.
The lady then called her husband (who was in the adjacent room grilling other people) to her cabin and handed him her notes. After a few questions about my periods, sleep patterns and general demeanour, he started with the same cliched words.
“I totally understand what you are going through.”
Bullshit you are! You are not me or I am not you to understand each other’s thoughts. After a few ‘motivating’ words, he prescribed pills for ten days! Now, I’m a person who lets my body do its own thing. I never trouble it with external medicines even when I’m down with a very bad flu. Heck, even when I suffered from dengue, I remained only on IV fluids and pomegranate juices and it automatically scampered away!
I asked him what the diagnosis was. He said as such there is no diagnosis but it appears to be a case of mild depression.These pills were supposed to be stress-relieving and non-addicting, having no side-effects. If at all, it might only cause some weight -loss (earlier, I had complained about being fat-shamed.) Um hello, sudden weight-loss is a side-effect!
He asked me to fix an appointment for next Wednesday to assess the effect of the medicines!
“We will help you.” He grinned and shut the door behind me.
The experience was so bad I swore to myself I will never go back there! Even thinking of it makes me feel scared and I repent it horribly! I don’t think a psychiatrist is supposed to have this kind of effect!
Later, upon the advice of a very dear relative, I visited the Parthasarathy Temple here and spent some peaceful meditative moments here. I read the Bhagavad Gita in the sacred precincts of the Lord and tried to surrender myself to him. Afterwards, I felt such tranquillity fill my heart that I decided to only heal myself spiritually with the help of Lord Krishna.
What’s your psychiatrist story?