Dear Dr L
I am writing to inform you that I wish to be discharged from your care. I will not be attending my planned appointment on 13th July.
After our last meeting I was very upset. I felt that you didn’t listen to me and didn’t give me the opportunity to explain what was going on for me. I found the way you spoke to me very confrontational and this caused me distress. I felt that you were not willing to try to understand what it is like for me when I am in a desperate and hopeless place. The assumptions you made left me feeling blamed and criticised for the fact that I am unwell.
I was particularly upset by the way you recorded our last meeting in your letter. Reading that, it is clear that you didn’t listen to me. When I have made myself vulnerable and shared such sensitive details with you, it is painful to feel unheard. It makes it very difficult for me to trust you again. I don’t think this is unreasonable.
There are some significant mistakes in the letter; for instance, saying I was sent home from A&E by a psychiatric liaison. I clearly told you several times that I had not seen a psychiatric liaison in the hospital. And our appointment was not brought forward, as you state in the letter, it was at the time scheduled weeks previously.
Aside from those mistakes, I was angry that you wrote about me in a way I found patronising. You wrote that I have to ‘take some responsibility’ over my actions. It may not be what you intended, but it sounds like you are referring to me as a child that needs to be reprimanded. Again, this feels blaming to me, and I don’t feel I should be blamed for actions I have taken in utter desperation. I’m left feeling as though you have absolutely no understanding of how it feels to be in that desperate place. I already beat myself up every day about the way my illness makes me behave. It is incredibly unhelpful that you wanted to add more blame.
The way I feel now is not how I experienced you during the rest of the time you have been treating me. Previously, I had felt respected by you and I valued your support. I really appreciated that you made yourself available on the phone when I needed to talk to you. I am grateful for the effort you made to be of help during this time.
Unfortunately, the trust I placed in you has been damaged and I no longer feel confident that working with you will be productive for me. I have no faith that antidepressants will have a positive impact, and I am unwilling to endure the process of trial and error and all the horrible side effects that come along with attempting to find one that works.
I’m planning to post this letter tomorrow and feeling nervous about it. I thought sharing it here first might help.
Photo: deargdoom57, Creative Commons.