One of the most important relationships that you have in life is the one with your doctor/therapist/case manager. Why you ask? Because not only will your interaction with them direct the course of your treatment, it will teach you valuable skills that you can use in other relationships.
First, you learn to communicate directly and clearly with them. They want to help you, but their time with you is limited. So, you learn to not sweat the small stuff and address only the most important issues. Secondly, you learn to be responsible for your own health. As dedicated as a treatment provider is, they really don’t know what you are going through. Therefore, you have to learn to advocate for yourself. If the side effects have become too much, research the alternatives and present them to your doctor. If you are not getting respected, then you have choices. You can change treatment providers or file a grievance or maybe just invite someone in one of your sessions to help you express yourself. What is important to realize, as is in any relationship, you are responsible for what you bring to the table. What you may learn is that if you behave differently, you will get different results. Respect works both ways.
Many people with a mental health diagnosis feel that they are powerless. They can be waiting to be told what to do. They may relinquish their own opinions and views to the authority of another. They have been marginalized in so many ways, why not by their treatment provider as well? What you will find, should you choose to exercise it, is that you have a lot of power and that your doctor/therapist/case manager wants to partner with you to help you achieve what you want out of life.
Take a step toward that partnership, by checking out these important tips:
Here to Help’s guide to Working with your doctor for depression:
Mayo Clinic has some suggestions on Preparing for your first mental health appointment:
NAMI’s tips to choosing the right mental health professional:
Here to Help’s guide on working with your treatment provider: (Your partner in health)