kristin (layered) wrote in bad_service,

Okay, so back in April, I was enrolled in my local State college, and having a hard time of things - I'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by my school therapist, whom I'd been seeing for years. I was enrolled in some very demanding classes all at once, my grandfather (whom I was very close to) had just died and I was in the middle of a very depressive episode. It became necessary, because of so many missed classes (because I was too depressed to make it out of bed, much less to lecture or exams) to take the semester off, for health reasons, to get on medication for this and just take the time that I needed to heal. My therapist at the school was wonderful, said that she thought it was the right decision for me, and helped me with all of the forms. To get back into school, all I would have to do was see a psychologist or psychiatrist and have them fill out a small questionnaire, based on their evaluation.

I didn't have any insurance at the time, so I had to wait until that went through - in July, it finally did, and I called for an appointment at the county's mental health office. Not a lot of places in my small town take my insurance, so I didn't have a lot of options. I had an appointment at the office on August 2nd.

I was told that they couldn't complete the form at that time, and that they would call me to make an appointment.

In the middle of August, I started to get worried - I had my heart set on going back for the fall semester, but (as that started in September) I was worried that wouldn't happen. I called the office and spoke to a VERY rude woman who said, basically, "YOU'RE ON THE WAITING LIST."

Okay, I said, and started to search for another office or private doctor who would take my insurance and had openings - no luck. At this point, getting back into school is my main concern. I know the statistics on people who take years off of college, and they're really not in my favor. I wait another few weeks before calling the county mental health office again. Am told, once more, that I am on the waiting list. I ask her for an estimate of how long it will take for me to see someone; she doesn't know.

As a sidenote, but more annoyance, I go to see a general practitioner in the meantime, mostly because I'd been having problems sleeping. This was the beginning of September. We're going over my history and I tell him that I've been told that I'm bipolar - he snaps, "Did you SELF DIAGNOSE?" at me, in this horribly haughty tone. I'm completely taken aback by this. "No," I tell him, "My therapist at school and the psychiatrist she brought me in to consult with once told me this." "Oh," he says, still in that snotty tone, "but you TOLD THEM you had it. I see no evidence of bipolar in you."

I bit my tongue; what I should have said was, "With all due respect, doctor, you've known me for about ten minutes. My therapist knew me for years, watched me go through the highs and the lows, so I'll trust her judgement above yours." I tell him about my problems getting into the mental health office, and the Doctor refers me to a psychologist he knows; I sign a waiver for my records to be sent to her, and am told that she'll call me. A week goes by, with no call, so I look her up and call her office. She's not taking new patients; the receptionist, a very helpful woman, gives me another number, but it turns out that the person they referred me to can't accept my insurance. That receptionist tells me that I should contact the county mental health office.

At this point, this situation is causing me so much undue stress, I'm sure that's a factor in not sleeping very well. My education is incredibly important to me, and just because, for one semester, things got out of control, I'm put behind for an entire year now.

I finally call the office AGAIN in the middle of September, and am told that they're referring a bunch of their patients, including me, to another office. I make sure this office takes my insurance, am told that they will and that this other office will call me within a week or so to make an appointment, and I think, "Great. Finally, the ball's rolling." It's too late at that point to get back for the fall semester, but I'll have time to get in for spring (which starts in January) for sure." I wait for two weeks before calling this second office and am told, by ANOTHER rude woman, "*name of office* is for SERIOUS mental problems only. We don't have TIME for you."

I hang up, in shock, and finally just lose it. I've chased people around, got bounced around from offices, dealt with rude or condescending people left and right - and they're supposed to good at dealing with people suffering from emotional problems? - and I have no idea where else to turn.

Finally, I call my therapist from school, to see if she can give me any advice, and she is appalled at the way I've been bounced around by these people. She calls the mental health office, and is told that my case isn't a serious one, and doesn't warrant their attention. I'm at the very bottom of the waiting list and there's nothing to do about it - and after three months, there's still very little chance of actually seeing someone. My chances of getting back into school for the spring are getting smaller and smaller, and I have absolutely no idea what to do about it. My therapist from school calls them back and speaks with someone there, and is told that they'll "see what they can do".

I know that there are more important things that offices need to deal with, but I'm not asking for any kind of prolonged treatment; all I need is an evaluation, a handful of appointments at the most. Instead I'm pushed from office to office, without anyone actually TELLING me that I'm at the very bottom of the waiting list and have no hope of seeing anyone in the foreseeable future. I've tried time and time again to tell these people that this is very important to me, this is my education and it's basically on hold. Really, all I want is to either see someone, be referred to someone who can see me, or at least be treated with a little bit of respect. Tell me what's going on, be honest about how long it's going to take. As far as I'm concerned, the rude doctors and receptionists I've dealt with have given me INCREDIBLY bad service.

My apologies for that being so long, I needed to get a lot off my chest. Thanks for the rantspace.
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