Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Scary shrinks from the bowels of hell!!!

Originally uploaded by Elvira Black.
This is "Psychiatrist," a painting by BG that represents the archetypal all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful shrink.

Some shrinks are great. Some are so bad that I would venture to call them not only incompetent and uncaring, but downright evil. BG has a great one now--so do I--but he, in particular, has had his share of those super-scary, even dangerous ones.

I'm in the middle of finishing off another War-and-Peace length "epic," so I just put this up for a little immediate gratification in the meantime.

Anyone care to share their experiences with shrinks--or, for that matter, therapists, groups, meds, breakdowns, hospitalizations, and other lurid tales of madness and despair? Post your comments--they can be as long or short as you wish. If no one takes the bait, I'll just come back here at a later point and post a real entry.


At 7:30 PM, Blogger Reverend Z said...

I had a psych once that yelled at me for using up the fluid in his lighter. I also had a child psych professor that never talked about kids only SEX, spoken through gritted teeth.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Reverend Z:

Kewl! Now that's the kind of story I like to hear. Shrinks and others in you say...mental health and substance abuse "professions" can be so original and creative in their endearing little quirks. Lighter flluid phobia? Nice touch. Anal retentive sexaholic profs into kiddie psych? Way to go.

You know the theory about shrinks and psychologists going into the field to try to figure out why they're so screwed up, right? Guess that's why one of my majors was psych....

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


My experience with a psychiatrist was during my divorce. I had eight scheduled meetings with one, per my divorce agreement.(My ex-wife put it in the decree as a manatory segment of our settlement). I went along with the ordeal until I found out the doctor was drinking buddies with my ex-wife's 1st husband. I always wondered about the nature of questions asked by the P concerning our personal sexual behavior. He seemed to really enjoy hearing of details. It really floored me to find Playboy Magazine in his office
lobby. He probably had a hidden camera there to see the reaction of the awaiting patients before their appt's w/him- very strange!


At 7:07 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Ugh! Methinks that shrink needed a shrink! Playboys in the lobby--nice! Grilling you about your sex life--creepy!

That's just so, so WRONG!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

Humm, which one do I choose? I had one shrink put me on Ritilan to combat the fatigue and malaise I was feeling while on an anti-psychotic. Well, if any of you are familiar with Ritilan, Its not a good drug for crazy people, esp, ones with issues with addiction, mania/depression--haha. I had to demand he take me off it, before it made me off myself! And he refused! haha..I guess he just didnt like his patients telling him what to do. What?? YOU think you know more about what's in your best interest than I do??? Well, needless to say, he had such a huge ego, his head barely fit through the door. He would write scripts as if the stuff he was pushing was nutritous or something. Here, take this vitamin, this will make you healthy. Trust me.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yeah, don't you just love the old three card monte drug shuffle? Having some side effects from drug A? Let me give you drug B to fix drug A.

Thankfully, my current psychiatrist is very good--so good that he has people clamoring to become his patients. When I question the efficacy of upping or changing drugs, he listens and respects my decision. He always says: I would never compell someone to take a particular drug if they didn't feel it was right for them.

Wish every shrink was like this guy. I'm just glad I stumbled onto him.

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Henry said...

I feel so puny; I've only had two psychiatrists and two psychologists, so far...

I guess I'll just tell you about the first psychiatrist, Dr. Downs, for now...

I'll skip the part about how my mother tricked me into going to this guy shortly after my father died, when I was 14, and jump right to the juiciest tidbits.

First off, this guy's office reeked! This guy must not have been breast fed; he smoked at least 5 or 6 cigs during every grueling 45 minute sesh. If I get lung cancer, maybe I'll sue his heirs.

He had this weird double-door set up between the waiting room (which reeked only half as bad) and the office proper. You'd open one door, and there was another one right there that had to be opened to get into his office. I think he was paranoid about people hearing his sessions; he had one of those white-noise machines inside the office to drown out the sound. I always thought it was odd because since I was sure he was recording my sessions (a bit paranoid myself), if someone got ahold of the tapes, all his privacy precautions were worthless. Also, I never crossed paths with any other patients at his office. Weird.

He told me several times, with relish, about how he did his Residency at SFGH in 1966, and how he would "commit 10 kids a day" to the psych wards for "over" dosing on LSD. He would have this sinister, stern look (a lot like BG's Psychiatrist) on his face; his lower lip would pout out as he lectured me on the evils of drug use, waving his cigarette around for emphasis, exhaling through his nose like a dragon-lady... I think he really wanted to try everyone out on some ECT.

I won't get into the conflict-of-interest issues surrounding him becoming my mom's therapist after I refused to see him any more, or the fact that he went to college with my dad.... However, BLLB, your experience: blatent conflict there! Once you found out that Sicknoid pervert's predilection for porn was connected to your ex-wife's first husband, an immediate certified letter to your state's medical licensing board and the AMA was in order! Sicko-Psychs like him need to be put in jail where they can get all the butt love they need.

I will tell you about the breech of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality that ended my "treatment" from him. The short version: After voluntarily leaving a miserable boarding school, my aunt and uncle became convinced that I was (gasp) smoking MARIJUANA!! Unknown to me, they got Dr. D's number (probably through the Yale Alumni directory), and he called me. Somehow, the evil Dr. D snake charmed me into coming down to his office. I must have been really high, because I did tell him that I smoked some weed. He retorted with, "Well, what if someone gave you some ACID?" I informed him I had tried it; big mistake. Right after I left, he calls my mom at work, gets her in all kinds of a panic, she comes home early, freakin' out... thus begins the nightmare of my therapy. Needless to say, I stopped seeing him immediately, except that my mother forced me to return one last time to "explain face to face" to Dr. Dickhead why I would no longer be seeing him. She said it was the "right" thing to do.... It was shortly after that, he was able to rope my mom into his evil underworld. Fucked us up real good....

Dr. Douchebag: I hope you're rotting in Hell with a direct I.V. of pure Sandoz hooked into your jugular while Satan pounds your ass sideways, you fucking, shit-bag, rat bastard!

Oh yeah, Brink: You do not have to take any meds you don't want to. If your doctor intimidates you in anyway, make it known that you will be reporting them to your attorney, the state medical licensing board, and the AMA.

I will probably have a complete post sometime in the future on the ups and downs (no pun intended) of the "professionals" I've been subjected to.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger !ce said...

I do have one interesting story. I actually went to this one who started out the session by saying "I'm not your friend, I'm not your confidante. I'm a doctor, and you're a patient." This should have been a tip-off. During the session, he asked me about medications, and I wasn't sure of the dosage. He said we should call my father at work to see whether he knew. So he calls him, and while on the phone, my father had obviously said something about my unemployment and lackluster housework. The good doctor encouraged my father to kick me out on the street, saying "back in my day, when you turned 18, you either got a job, helped out around the house, or left," and telling him that I could always stay at the rescue mission. I didn't go back after that.

To Henry: let's say that you tell a psychiatrist that you're not wanting to take a certain medication, and they say "you really need it. If you won't take it, I can't treat you anymore, because you're being uncooperative."

At 11:12 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Henry and Ice: love the psych horror stories.

H: Whoo-hah! What a tale of madness and mayhem. I wonder if the doctor/patient confidentiality clause is null and void in the case of minors? Seems like it could be, which might explain why you and Ice went through such hell. But aside from that, these shrinks sound like total dingleberries.

Ah, the double doors and never seeing any other patients exit: perhaps he had one of those revolving bookcases set into the wall that led to a secret underground passageway for patients, with a "check checkpoint" where you had to pay your fee before being allowed to leave.

What kind of trust can you possibly develop with a doctor if you have to keep secrets from him/her about your "illegal" drug use? I was going to also say to Ice that one could always humor the doc and tell him you were taking all your meds, but it's a real shame to have to resort to subterfuge because your shrink refuses to work with you to try alternative meds/treatments. They're just pushing potentially dangerous drugs themselves.

Personal moralistic biases about the "work ethic" or drug use have no place in the pscyhiatric profession. The DSM used to classify homosexuality as a valid mental illness. Once the stigma and shame of being gay was somewhat alleviated, this reprehensible labeling of inherent sexual preference was finally cast asunder.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger Judith said...

Let me say first, I am a reluctant poster, because last time I opened my mouth, my blog got bogged down in ads. What a bummer, i thought I was getting popular, but Noooo 145 ads, just what I needed!

Anyhow, great horror stories by all.

My last therapist was great, she did pro bono, but then went back to getting paid. She said she would take ten of her neediest clients (I hate that term). I was hoping she would take ten of her neediest clients and Judith...but, no...

Therapist before her, basically missed the MANIA in my manic-depressiveness and I impulsively bought a mustang, went back to school, divorced my husband of 10 years, and abandoned my kids. To this day I still can't figure out who the bigger loser was: me, or the quack.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yep, mania is not all fun and games--it's like when it's over, you have that "morning after" experience that your whole life has been turned upside down in often irreparable ways.

It astounds me that shrinks can't recognize mania when it's staring them in the face. Why did they bother to become doctors in the first place?

I'm very curious about your bad experince with ads. Wasn't sure exactly what you meant, though I have heard of blog-spammers. But why would they do that to you on your blog for posting a comment on mine?

If you'd care to, I'd love it if you'd either comment again here or e-mail me privately--I'm very interested in the details of this phenom.

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first shrink was an academic from SF Med and Stanford. He practice the type of therapy where the therapoist never breaks the silence. He had a baby-sh face and very large round eyes that did not blink much. Back then I was a whacked-out teenager and I had to see him in a hospital setting, in white coat and clipboards and oversized glasses. I was a whacked-out teenager back then. I felt like a squealing monkey and he was staring at me between bars.

The shrink i got after that, i told him what to write on the prescription pad and left his office with that.

The third shrink knew i was increasingly suicidal and incrediby unstable. He decided to add a tri-cyclic (in year 2000!) to my SSRI. He conveniently gave me a very large amt as well at a time. A month or two later, I ended up with the entire bottle down my throat and in the ER. He fired me as a patient. I figured he was so old and dressed more like he was going badger hunting than seeing patients anyway.

My next shrink was an ill-at-ease Jewish boy from Brooklyn. He was my favourite. He sent me an envelope where he had drawn a cartoon of a blue bird paying a visit to two lonely people stranded on an island. The couple ended up roasting the cute blue bird. We both had a morbid sense of humor.

My most interesting doctor experiences came from critical care psych wards. I was wondering around one when a flustered shrink came runnign toward me and yelled "where are the charts!?", (he thought i was a nurse). I told him to go back to his room and to be quiet.

Another doctor wearing tight checkered pants came to see me early sunday morning and was obviously bummed out that he had to come in on a weekend. He was veyr monotone and was goign down list of standard questions. I sat up and said "you haven't read your charts have you?". He threw his clipboard down and blurped "I CAN'T POSSIBLY READ ALL THE CHARTS!!!!"

meanwhile, my own ward shrink came by and was wondering how i was doing. They had totally knocked me out with some bad antipsychotic and i was under my covers in med when she came by to check on my obviously worsened conditoin. She said "now now, do you think this is helping with your anger management?" , i got furious with her and poked out of the bed and said "I don't suppose I can get too angry when I'm knocked out in bed eh?"

Some nurse poking around my belongings also confronted me concerning a racey book in my room. I had to explain to her the author is a scholar on medieval christianity especially witchcraft theory and if she would like some dense latin accounts on the genitlia of devil as left to us by respected clergy men of the day, she could borrow my book.

to each his own. Found your blog via NYTimes forum.

At 2:26 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Hey Anonymous:

So outrageous, yet, I fear, so typical. It is bad enough to be unprofessional; it is reprehensible to be a "great mind healer" without compassion. But why do some of these people even enter the field if they possess neither a professional demeanor nor a compassionate mind-set? What were they thinking?

Some of your experiences remind me of some of my boyfriend BG's. I do believe I will do a followup post just dealing with his close encounters of the shrink kind--some of which proved nearly fatal. Straight up for real.

At 1:08 AM, Blogger fugusashi said...

Omg, do I dare admit I went to a Fruedian/Jungian Psychotherapist five days a week for five years? When I use my real name to blog?

Ugh. I must.

He was super-fantastic. He always helped me explore MY thought processes, without imposing his thoughts or beliefs onto my psyche (as much as that is possible, that is).

However, because of financial constraints I had to quit before I was finished. However, is anyone ever finished with psychotherapy?

He told me not to quit. He said that I might have my problems under control for the time-being, but that they would resurface at mid-life.

Boy, that fucker knew what he was talking about.

I miss him.

At 3:25 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Sounds like a great guy. Thing is, I think Freudian/Jungian therapists might be having a bit of a hard time of it nowadays, since they don't seem to be much in fashion now. Aside from shrinks, I think the trend is more cognitive behavioral. In any case, yes, affordability can be a big stumbling block.

For many of us genuine psychos who need meds, nowadays you don't get to talk too much to your shrink. You need to see a separate therapist for that, and it, too, is costly. The fact that many shrinks don't really get to speak with you much can make for some really bad shrinking experiences. That and the fact that so many of them seem to be crazy, sadistic, incompetent, or all of the above.

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