Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Shrink. Bad Shrink.


Over time, I've noticed some trends among our blog commenters. Some readers comment on the content of our posts, others link us to Viagra spam, and finally, some readers talk directly to us. We hear about their own experiences of the topic we've blogged about, or simply about their day. This is good, though I could do with a little less Viagra or AirJordan spam in my life.

Sometimes readers inject enough of themselves into their comments that it becomes clear they have opinions about us, the Shrink Rappers, feet, ducks and all. Sometimes it seems like readers are poised to like us, and other times it feels like readers are lying in wait, looking to attack. I was particularly struck by the comments people made on my post about The Texting Shrink. Rachel says I have a kind-heart and another commenter (?--I think it was Retriever) noted that I do this to increase my availability to patients. Dr. Steve put it bluntly: I am idiot! I hope I do have a kind heart, but I text with patients because I've found this to be to my convenience--- it's a quicker way to deal handle brief messages, and none of it's about being more available. My life is better if I get a "stuck in traffic" text and know I have time to run to the restroom or eat a snack. And if a patient needs me to phone a pharmacy or return a call, it's so much quicker to click on the texted number than it is to re-listen to my messages and try to decipher that phone number 6 times by replaying voicemail -- and oh, I don't have a pen and can I memorize it quickly enough?.

Am I an idiot? I believe I've thought it through, but I may be.

The Texting Shrink was only one example. In our years of blogging, many posts have inspired strong reactions, and I've come to be very careful about my choice of words, especially when discussing medications. Sometimes it feels like no matter how gently I word things, someone is poised to simply say, psychiatry is bad, no one should see a shrink, no one should take psychotropic medications, all shrinks care about is money.

Some people think their psychiatrists don't care about them -- and for all I know, they may be right -- others believe their doctors think and care about them a lot, in a way that may not be realistic. Obviously, doctors think and care about their patients (oh, I hope), but docs are people with their own lives and problems.

I'm hoping for a happy medium somewhere. Like Dr. Steve says, I may be an idiot.