Ten years ago this month, I was working in a public mental health outpatient clinic, preparing to retire my medical and DEA licenses the following month. These journal notes give a profile of my reasoning at the time.
GOSSIP AND SECRETS
Sunday, July 1, 2007 – I have been victimized by gossip more than once. I tell patients therapy wouldn’t be necessary if not for gossip.
I remember excluding myself from cliques – the lunchroom crowd at Duke, composed of several girls in my dorm, and the group in medical school who gathered at lunch – because I didn’t like the mean-spirited gossip and chit-chat that characterized the gatherings. I couldn’t sit with them without judging and seeing sides of them they couldn’t be proud of.
So I have been naive about gossip’s power. In a culture built on hearsay, I am an odd duck, indeed.
Of course, my way is better, because it’s more practical. I like forming my own opinions and always wonder what the gossiper’s agenda is. I agree with Anne Scott, my history professor at Duke, who insisted on primary sources. I believe in getting my information from the individual in question. What he or she doesn’t tell or show me is none of my business.
In theory. When people are plotting behind my back, it becomes my business, because I end up being the victim of their gossip. I have been blindsided too often by those I trusted too much.
Monday, July 2, 2007 – My unconventionality surprises me more than anyone. Rather, I’m surprised to be growing so confident in it. Perhaps I always knew it was there – that I was “different” – but it was unexpressed until revealed by the contrasts with the groupthink. I live what others profess to believe, yet I am castigated for it by those who claim the beliefs most strongly.
No one attacks me directly, but they use triangulation, hurting things and people close to me, such that no one is safe. I believe at some point the winds will shift, and I won’t stand so alone. I will not actually lead, except in ideas and methods, as I feel I am already doing when opportunities arise. After the fact, everyone wants to claim credit. I don’t care who or how many people get credit, because everyone who takes a stand on her own behalf deserves credit for it. I do for myself what I hope others will do for themselves, in commitment to self-reliance and freedom from bondage.
A PATIENT-CHURNING, PRESCRIPTION-WRITING MACHINE
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 – The more I work as a patient-churning, prescription writing machine, the more I hate it. If they want to hire me to do staff development, groups, lectures, or anything that doesn’t involve writing prescriptions, we can spin it as education, and I won’t need a license. I think these drugs are overrated and/or do more harm than good. I spend all my time reducing meds and warning about side effects.
ON DRUG REPS
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 – Drug reps were lurking in the halls again today.
I’m reducing people’s meds, and they are grateful. These folks seem healthier than the system. Politically manufactured diseases justify churning tax dollars.
As psychiatrists like Dr. W (who plans to be a stay-at-home mom) and me (who plans to be a stay-at-home survivor) leave the system, the exploiters wring their hands in agony, wondering how they can perpetuate the illusions when the docs won’t cooperate.
ON THE HEALTH SNARE RACKET
Friday, July 13, 2007 – I undermine the system with every patient. A hip replacement? I ask. Surgeons like to cut, and they have overhead to pay. You need a hip replacement? If you lost weight and restored some flexibility to your joints, your hip pain may not be so bad. You’re thinking about replacing something living with something dead. A living hip joint is infinitely more capable of regenerating itself than a plastic substitute. Do you know how bacteria-infested hospitals are? And bone surgery is the most invasive of all. Microbes can hide and fester best in bones.
Your drug rep says you need to up your Cymbalta from 20 mg to 60 mg because that’s the standard starting dose? But you feel better on 20 mg, and you’re super sensitive to meds? Your drug rep wants to sell drugs. Listen to your body.
Turn off the television to alleviate depression. Dance for exercise. Journal for self-discovery. Reduce meds. People treat side effects with more meds.
The whole world is crazy, so if you’re crazy, you’re normal.
Thursday, July 19, 2007 – In the check-out line at the grocery store, the man in front of me, an elderly black man, had several chicken pot pies and orange juice in a plastic container. I think about the cost of all that packaging.
Several patients have gained significant weight, so I’ve begun to talk with them about diet. They spend lots of money on food at restaurants like Applebee’s, but don’t get takeout boxes. I’m watching what people buy in grocery stores. People are using food stamps for things like bottled water and soft drinks.
One patient told me her food stamps go farther since she started eating more vegetables. She weighs close to 300 pounds.
PFIZER REPS AND DRUG CULTURE
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 – The Pfizer reps were blocking the halls yesterday, flirting with the head nurse, who was laughing and flirting back. As I squeezed past her to collect my next patient, she loudly mentioned that the other doctor was late. She couldn’t much stop me, could she, considering I was generating money. And no, I will not sign my name for samples of those poisons.
Fortunately for me, my patients all showed up, and I had a blast with them while avoiding Pfizer at every turn.
They even brought lunch. There must have been 20 boxes of pizza in the break room, and everyone but me gravitated to the food. I heard the other doctor’s voice, so the Pfizer rep had his fish.
I was too busy seeing patients until 12:30 p.m., so they knew not to stop me
I have said over and over the drug reps shouldn’t be allowed to hang out in the back. It’s unprofessional. But this is the way business is conducted these days, in these “public-private partnerships.”
The drug culture? Here’s what I think of the drug culture. Grow it, just like you do food. If you can’t grow it, you don’t need it. Tobacco, corn for ethanol, marijuana.
Here’s an idea. Individuals should be allowed to have private ethanol plants, formerly known as stills, to fuel their personal energy needs. Whatever they sell, they can pay taxes on, if they must.
Same with tobacco.
Individuals could grow corn for their energy needs and sell designer corn liquor by the side of the road. This would give farmers more value for their ethanol and save taxpayers from the middlemen.
Why, if investment bankers and oil companies can get government mandates and subsidies to force commercial ethanol plants, individuals should have equal status under the law. Corporations don’t vote. Individuals do. Corporations vote behind the scenes, with money and favors, but the public pays the taxes and other costs for the fat cats’ deals.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DRUG COMPANIES, MARCIA ANGELL, MD, 2004, 2005
Friday, July 27, 2007 – I’m on the last chapter of The Truth about the Drug Companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it, by Marcia Angell, MD. I read about how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) basically works for the pharmaceutical companies. Far from protecting the public, the FDA protects snake oils, since approved drugs are not required to show superiority over current drugs, only over placebo.
Monday, July 30, 2007 – Dr. Angell castigates drug companies and FDA throughout the book but at the end, she recommends more legislation and more money for the FDA. Of course she’s part of the establishment and can’t rock the boat too much and expect to be published. A Boston Yankee, liberal Harvard elitist in an ivory tower, she depends on government for funding so is ultimately a GoverCorp slave.
And, she doesn’t mention insurance. How does insurance, which costs more for giving less, get away with being so transparent? Like with cellophane, you don’t recognize the costs until you’ve been shrink-wrapped and can’t breathe.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 – So Dr. Angell is sadly naive about government and Medicare, either that or she chose to focus on one problem at a time.
Not I. The FDA, for instance. Waste of money. Have the drug companies market directly to patients, starting with FDA employees, and pay them to participate in clinical trials. This could constitute true consumer marketing, drug company accountability, earning opportunities for all, and publicly supported large scale scientific research. Capitalism in a nutshell. They already do it in third world countries, under the pretext of giving free medications and vaccines to the poor.
Secrecy is the problem, and regulations make secrecy necessary to survive. The more rules, the less anyone knows about cooperation. Communication plummets, except by hearsay, and this further tangles networks.
Perhaps the FDA should focus only on safety and leave the efficacy to market-based consumer trials. Abolishing drug laws would give taxpayers direct access to drugs of choice, and MDs could assume advisory and educational support but not have to play middleman in the government’s war on taxpayers.
What a world we live in!
Rosaliene, Indeed. Most challenging. It’s easy to get cynical, but that helps no one. You are a shining light, though, and a role model for others, including me. Thanks for your ongoing support and encouragement.
How kind of you to say so 🙂
Katherine, I really like the idea that you are revisiting your thought processes exactly 10 years ago! It’s fascinating to read about your career in psychiatry. I was aiming for a career in psychology, but it hasn’t materialised formally, although practicing it informally is perhaps better on many levels. I did a 1 year diploma in Jungian studies in Dublin in 2012 and enjoyed it immensely. During the course I learned from some of some of my colleagues in the course who were practicing psychoanalysts or psychologists or therapists that they are under great constraints in the formal sector and that they cannot apply methodologies or practices freely. That must be very frustrating – and then there’s the tendency to prescribe drugs for “everything”, also growing in Europe.
Jean-Jacques, It’s easy to get discouraged. I’m finding the concepts I learned regarding human behavior are most valuable, but few people are aware of how they operate on a group or mass level. The drugs have taken over, unfortunately, and recent literature suggests the drugs may not be as effective as advertized. There’s a massive sense of betrayal going on across the board, as regular people wake up to the realization that they’ve been conned by those they trusted.
Good to hear from you, and your comment is most appreciated.
JJ, I just realized who you are. The photo gave it away. I’ve checked out your site. You are quite prolific. It’s nice to make your acquaintance.