How did you react when your psychiatrist disclosed their own mental illness to you during a session? Have any other mefites had this experience or heard of it? During my 4th consultation (over 6 weeks) with a psychiatrist who is treating me she sort of casually disclosed that she herself suffers from bi-polar disorder and that she has in fact been hospitalised 3 times in the last 12 months due to it.
I don't know a lot about bi-polar disorder, and its definitely not my affliction. It came up in the context of me talking about how I feel that I have achieved less than my contemporary peers in my career and not fulfilled my potential in my work/life, and this is true, in part due to my illnesses. She prefaced her disclosure with something along the lines of "I shouldn't tell you this because you'll never come back, but...". It was like she was trying to empathize with me, not a formal declaration or warning or caveat.
I was surprised, and I told her I was but that I empathize with people who have mental illness, and try not to stigmatize them. To which she immediately responded "But evil_esto, you DO stigmatize yourself, don't you?" And then we were back to talking about me.
Cycling from the clinic back to my house it hit home what she had disclosed to me was unusual. One friend of mine said in a message "Whoa! Thats brave of her to share".
I have been dealing with some mental illness most of my life, and I have seen numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors etc on and off since the age of 16. This Doctor is new to me and so far I have felt that it is a positive thing for me to be doing and I am seeing some (albeit slight) benefit. I intend to continue seeing this Doctor and have 2 more appointments scheduled this month.
Would you continue to see a psychiatrist who disclosed that they had mental illness to you?
A few things I thought were:
1. Well, you could have cancer and your oncologist could have cancer too. Would that mean you "fire" them and go somewhere else?
2. I've watched all 3 seasons of Homeland and Carrie Matheson was the 'only one who was right'! :)
3. Surely, if she was too ill to practice competently her peers would prevent it? There must be some guidelines or professional code of conduct that covers this sort of thing, right? (I'm in Australia and my doctor is a MBBS FRANZCP. I go to a well known and long established private mental health clinic attached to a small private mental hospital. I was referred by a public hospital psychiatrist because I had pretty good private cover).
I found this but it wasn't very illuminating.
I welcome your thoughts whether you have reasons to seek psychiatric treatment yourself or not. Mefimail me if you would rather not reply here.