I just got back from Eugene, Oregon, where I was attending an international recruiter conference with which some of you are doubtlessly familiar. The wrap-up was held at Autzen Stadium, home of the Oregon Ducks football team; imagine my delight when I discovered they’d opened the field for conference attendees, and I spent an hour playing catch and shanking field goal attempts in front of 54,000 mostly empty seats.
Anyway: ducks, quack, bad doctor story! As I mentioned, I started taking medication again a couple weeks ago. (I’ve since stopped, albeit temporarily; that’s another story, however.) The new psychiatrist, who we’ll refer to as Psychiatrist #1a, was perfectly alright. But it took almost a year, and possibly longer, to get a referral, so when a second one came in shortly thereafter I decided to take it, figuring I’d compare the two doctors before picking one to move forward with. So last week, after an especially productive (and necessary) visit with Doc Awesome, I met Psychiatrist #2b.
First, the good: nice office, nice vibe, nice receptionist, and (if I’m being honest) nice doctor. Next, the weird: Psychiatrist #2b stayed seated when I walked into the room, then indicated a seat from which I couldn’t quite see him because his gigantic computer monitor was blocking my view. Lastly, the ugly: he misdiagnosed me. I’m not saying I think he misdiagnosed me: he straight-up misdiagnosed me, a suspicion that Doc Awesome later confirmed. I have something called Pure Obsessional OCD, which is a well-established condition. Or so I thought. Psychiatrist #2b diagnosed it as–drumroll, please–borderline delusion. His reasoning? OCD compels someone to act…so, for instance, the well-known stereotype of the chronic hand-washer. But in my case, he said, I wasn’t acting, but rather thinking, which suggested to him a second, concomitant cause. According to WebMD, delusional disorder is “a type of serious mental illness called a ‘psychosis’ in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined.” That’s as similar to Pure O OCD as an apple is to an A380 jet. They’re both “things,” but that’s effectively where the similarities end. Not to Psychiatrist #2b, who diagnosed me with both OCD and borderline delusional disorder. He then prescribed me an antipsychotic. I listened to his diagnosis trying not to let my jaw drop to the floor. Doc Awesome’s assessment was wonderfully succinct: “I take it you will not be continuing with him.” She’s got that one right.
This points to the exact same problem I once encountered with Dr. No: specialists making fundamental mistakes. I don’t think I know more than either of these two men. But I do think they’ve got gaps in their knowledge, and that in both cases the results could’ve compromised my mental health. Dr. No, you may recall, once finished an appointment by laying me face-down on his office couch and running a magnet up my spine. Psychiatrist #2b didn’t go to such overt extremes. His mistake was much more covert–kind of like how Pure O OCD’s an internal disorder, not an external one. Maybe he’s the one who’s borderline delusional.