This morning, I went in for an EEG (electro-enceopholagram, I believe) which measures the electrical activity in the brain. I have epilepsy and my neurologist wanted to check for new developments. Anyway, it was at the hospital and I went there and had a good experience. The receptionist was courteous and the technician was respectful, thorough and well-informed.
Compare this to my last visit to the psychiatrist. I was in the waiting room observing all the obedient vegetables when this social worker comes to get me. I took an instant dislike to her. I can't properly relay her tone in writing so I'll just refer to her as "nurse-y." She talked slowly and patronisingly.
"So how are youooooo?
"So how are you dooooing?"
"Getting out and abouttttt, are you?
Then the psychiatrist comes in and we have our usual argument over biomedical psychiatry. As expected, he's convinced that emotional problems are simply reducible to brain chemical imbalances. In order to fix that imbalance, you need chemicals. You're better off on them, he always says. "That's a fact," he says.
As usual, I refer to the research that shows outcomes are better without conventional treatment, that show that these drugs (atypical antipsychotics, usually) cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.
Anyway, this is a longstanding disagreement between us and will never be resolved and I've strayed from my original point. Ths social worker attended the meeting and nodded her head whenever the doctor spoke. I found this extremely irritating. Then she would interrupt our conversation to drop a profundity (not sure if that's a real word -- perhaps platitude is more like it) such as "There's two sides to every story." She was useless and annoying and added absolutely nothing to the meeting.
So my question is: How come there's such a difference between two medical specialties? How come I'm treated as an adult by a real doctor but a rather slow-witted child by the psyhiatric profession? What is it about psychiatry that wants to infantilize its users? Why the assumption that if someone has a mental illness you have to speak to them slowly and stupidly?
If she's there at my next appointment, I'm going to ask her to leave and I'll tell the doctor why.