What my doctor told me

My doctor told me I was “bipolar.” I didn’t question it because a doctor said so.

My doctor told me I had schizoaffective disorder, which I did not question because a doctor said so.

My doctor said I was depressed.

My doctor said I was manic.

My doctor said I was psychotic.

My doctor said I was severely mentally ill, and that I had a seizure disorder. I did not question because a doctor said so.

A doctor said I heard voices. I tried to hear them but couldn’t. I felt ashamed, deficient.

I complained to my doctor about my eating disorder and he said “You are faking your ED for attention.” I knew this was untrue, but who can contradict a doctor?

I asked my doctor if I could lower my pills. He said, “It’s not advisable.” I didn’t dare ask why, but my parents asked, many times. They challenged the doctors and my brother did, too. My parents have three master’s degrees between them and my brother has a PhD in physics.

The doctors never gave my parents nor my brother an answer. They did say my father was “weak” and my mother they claimed was “histrionic.” The truth was that my father had cancer and my mother was a professional dancer, not histrionic at all!

I continued to take their pills, believing I had a mental disorder, because my doctors said so. Not one of them challenged the mental illness narrative. Not one challenged what the past doctors had said. Not one could come up with any test results proving I had a mental illness. Still, I faithfully believed them, believed in my illnesses and disability and incapability and drug-dependency for life. Because my doctor said so.

You may be wondering why I never challenged it all those years, why I stubbornly clung to the mental illness myth even though it was clearly untrue (when you look at the facts). I clung to it because the doctors said so.

If a new doctor had come along, some young rebel, and told me I didn’t have a mental illness, that I didn’t have bipolar or schizoaffective, I would have argued stubbornly for the mental illness. I would have insisted I needed the drugs and would have concluded the new rebel doctor was a “bad doctor.” I would have quit him and gone back to the ones that proclaimed me sick and disabled. I wouldn’t have wanted to disrupt the cozy little place I was in. Because a doctor said so.

Had I developed such bad kidneys that I needed dialysis, and not turned it around when I did, I would have faithfully gone to dialysis and clung to my drugs, insisting that I “needed” the drugs, insisting that I “needed” the doctors. I would have died at 59, insisting I was “bipolar” and stubbornly believing I had no choice. I would have died with those promises on my lips. Because a doctor said so.

I am not dead, though. How odd is that? How cunning, how clever of me! How did I slip past the watchful guards? How did I tiptoe around the Gate of Death and walk beyond, alive?

We can all do this. We can all be escapees, but you must be clever and quick. You must realize the doctors aren’t necessarily right nor wrong. They aren’t you. They aren’t inside your body and soul. They aren’t the authorities on life. They are not God. You are the authority on your own life.

Take it back. Grab it now and walk. Walk. Walk. They won’t even notice, because you walk with pride and confidence. Hold your head high. You are not defective. You are not inferior. You are you. Walk past with lightness in your soul and quiet in your feet. You will live. You will live. You will live.

Because you say so. This time, you say it. Live.

2 thoughts on “What my doctor told me”

  1. Just to let you know, everyone is different. I AM depressed, I have high anxiety, etc. I’ve lost friends and jobs over it. I will never not take the meds, I ejoy life way more than I did before, and i need my job to eat and survive. My dr is great. He is kind and thourough. He helped me to get non addictive meds instead of the ones that would have caused me to fail in life. I have a bipolar cousin and she is extremely destructive, and i sure as heck dont want to be like that!

    1. I was depressed, too. Very. I was never on benzos nor on sleeping pills. I also believed the drugs I was on, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics were non-addictive. I worshiped my “great” doctors like they were gods and believed the diagnoses I was given for decades. I wouldn’t have dared get off the drugs, and in fact, I would have argued precisely what you are saying right now. I believed (and was told) I would be violent without “treatment.” I was told over and over just how “dangerous” I was if untreated. However, I discovered none of it was true.

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