31 days of bipolar|days 12 & 13

Who was/is your favourite doctor (any kind) and why?
Who was your least favourite doctor and why?

Combining these two.

I’ve been lucky the past few years.┬áHaving trust is important to me when seeing a provider. Probably the most important thing.

I’m currently seeing a psychiatrist that I trust who not only has the experience as a doctor, but doesn’t sugar-coat anything either. I generally respect him and his reasoning behind deciding on the best treatment options. And he’s really old-school and slightly technologically-challenged. Any adjustments he’s made on my meds have been collaborative efforts and with lots of information. When things have not gone as planned, he’s not shocked my system with anything. Plus I am doing well that he’s on the same floor as my therapist. When things do go weird, his door is usually open. I prefer doing things in person and have a fairly uncomfortable fear of calling people, so this is beneficial between appointments.

On the medical end, my PCP just left the clinic I was seeing him at for almost four years a few weeks ago. As a transgender man, he was the provider I’ve purely trusted more than anyone because he has the lived experience, so it’s been tough going through my current medical issues. When I first started my transition 3 years ago (20 January 2016!), I made it clear to him my intentions to return to school to pursue becoming a music therapist. Being treated by him made the biggest difference for my singing voice. I don’t have that awkward squeak many transmen often have on T, and that’s thanks to my PCP.

As far as bad experiences… I’ve had plenty of those, as well. I’ve changed providers several times the past few years because I refuse to trust someone that won’t respect me. For example, I went to a neurologist who couldn’t put their bias about my uterus aside. They prodded on the fact that I don’t want kids and (this was prior to my current round of uterus problems) was visibly uncomfortable when I mentioned my plans on a hysterectomy down the line. I switched provider before I even left that office.

Then there was a sleep doctor (hahahahaaaaa, yes, they made me see a sleep doctor) who insisted on misgendering me — even after I was legally male. Another doctor asked, several times, if I’m “sure” that I don’t want kids because pretty much “tick-tock prime child-baking age!” The short of it is… if you’re not treating my genitals/reproductive system… I’m gonna have problems by being asked repeatedly about popping one out.

My recent round of OBGYN adventures has proven to be uncomfortable. While my doctor himself is respectful (although admitting that I’m only his second FTM patient ever), the staff in his office have left me with panic attacks every appointment. The receptionists and check-in folx and the nurses… Where to start? They check-in staff have this habit of calling everyone “Miss” to be checked in. I live in Philadelphia. We take pride in our trans and non-binary community here, and our City Hall was the first government building in the country to ever display the blue, pink, and white transgender flag. There is absolutely no reason to address every patient as “Miss” and it’s unacceptable everywhere, especially here. My last appointment, another patient overheard this exchange of me being misgendered and me correcting the person checking me in. They turned to the person they were with and stated, as if I’m deaf, “I think that’s a tranny.” There’s more, but I don’t have the energy to elaborate. Let’s just say that a man being treated by an OBGYN is uncomfortable.

Then there’s how I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. While I respect this doctor, his method was kind of unorthodox… Put me on medication to “rule out” bipolar. Within 2 weeks, I was hospitalized with the worst manic episode I’ve ever had. I’ll stick with my current psychiatrist.

Therapy-wise, I currently see a therapist who pushes my buttons enough towards helping myself and doesn’t co-sign my bullshit. They’re blunt and what I need to heal from trauma. Again, there’s that respect aspect.

Overall, I know I’m the exception of being a transgender man who’s had generally good experiences with medical professionals. I don’t know if it’s because of my education or experience or that I generally aim towards picking my doctors’ brains, but most trans folx don’t have it as smooth as I have.

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