Dear Dr

Dear Dr

I came to you back in March 2015 when I was in the throes of an episode of crippling anxiety mixed in with depression and despair. When we first met, I felt so relieved to have met someone who could really help me. You changed my meds and I was hopeful things would improve. I liked you and I trusted you.

I was drinking too much. I told you it was 4 bottles of wine a week max. In reality it was more than twice that much but I wasn’t ready to face up to the truth let alone share it.

As I started to feel a little better I could see that I had a serious problem with drinking and I knew I needed help. I decided that at my next appointment I would reach out to you.

I planned what I was going to say and as soon as I entered your office I blurted out “I need to talk to you about my drinking”. There, I had done it – the words were out.

You asked me lots of questions – How much ? How often? Wine ? Where? When ? I answered as honestly as I could. I admitted to a bottle a night, 7 nights a week. And your response ? You said in a sarcastic voice “Well what do you want me to do ? Send you to rehab ?” You made me feel as if I was wasting your time, exaggerating, attention seeking, making a fuss about nothing. You told me to get a cleaner to help me keep the house up together. You even suggested I look for someone from eastern Europe because they worked hard for less money – you gave me the name of an agency – really ??

It had taken real courage to ask for help and you belittled me and sent me away feeling ashamed and broken. Even as I write this now, over 18 months later, I can’t prevent the tears.

I didn’t see you again. I spent another 9 months drinking, drinking, drinking. All on my own. Until I hit my rock bottom and reached out again. This time, thank heavens I have been fortunate enough to find others who have offered me genuine, compassionate, unflinching support. If you could see me now I think you’d be quite surprised. If I saw you I don’t know whether I would be able to bite my tongue or if I would have to say something.

As a psychiatrist I imagine people reach out to you all the time, sharing their most excruciating secrets. I hope that the way you responded to me was a one off rather than your norm but I have a feeling I might not be the only one.

Your former patient


4 thoughts on “Dear Dr

  1. Wow! Tori I am so sorry your doctor was that uncaring!
    We who struggle with addiction need lots of compassion, understanding and support.
    I am glad you quit seeing him/her.
    I hope your support group was welcoming to you!

    1. Hi Wendy. The support group were lovely. I got a lot out of it and I gave a lot too. I felt quite overwhelmed when I got home but I guess that’s normal. I am looking forward to going again next week. Xxxx

  2. Tori, that shocks and disgusts me. I’m ashamed of that doctor – you are braver and strong to reach out, and the first response is so important … you should send that letter…. lily Xx

    1. Thank you Lily. I should have complained at the time but I was too overwhelmed to do anything apart from not seeing her again and going it alone. I do feel better for writing it down now though. Xxx

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