Author Topic: Playing doctor? How to respond..  (Read 15465 times)

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Raceyrocket

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2013, 01:55:31 PM »
What exactly does she expect you to do with her bipolar diagnosis? The doctor is the one to decide on which medication will suit you, so I would ask her what she wants you to do and leave an unreasonable answer up to her.

Speaking as someone who's boyfriend has been wrongly diagnosed as bipolar (ended up being TBI, after extensive testing)  after one 45 minute consultation with a real psychiatrist, and that medication made him so out of control it could have killed him or me, I would let her know that bipolar meds are NOT something to take lightly. Used on someone that does not have bipolar they can be deadly. So really, what does she want you to do with this?

miranova

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2013, 02:05:25 PM »
There is no way that I would thank her for the book.  Even without the history, getting someone a self help book seems pretty condescending to me.  If you want help for "your bipolar", presumably you would get yourself a self help book and would not need someone else to suggest the idea.  Self help books are labelled as such for a reason, it's because generally the person reading it wants help with something that they actually agree is a problem.  It doesn't really work if they don't want the help!  I would never get someone a self help book for any holiday.

And because of the history, I would send it back with a note saying "this is not really a gift to me, it is simply more of you pushing me to believe that your medical diagnosis of me is more accurate than those of my 3 doctors.  The first time you brought this up, I was skeptical but in the interest of being completely thorough, I did my own research and discussed it with my doctors.  I am confident that I have been accurately diagnosed and no longer want to discuss this with you again.  You are not helping me, you are undermining me and treating me like a child.  Please do not ever bring this up again."

MrTango

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2013, 02:16:23 PM »
There is no way that I would thank her for the book.  Even without the history, getting someone a self help book seems pretty condescending to me.  If you want help for "your bipolar", presumably you would get yourself a self help book and would not need someone else to suggest the idea.  Self help books are labelled as such for a reason, it's because generally the person reading it wants help with something that they actually agree is a problem.  It doesn't really work if they don't want the help!  I would never get someone a self help book for any holiday.

And because of the history, I would send it back with a note saying "this is not really a gift to me, it is simply more of you pushing me to believe that your medical diagnosis of me is more accurate than those of my 3 doctors.  The first time you brought this up, I was skeptical but in the interest of being completely thorough, I did my own research and discussed it with my doctors.  I am confident that I have been accurately diagnosed and no longer want to discuss this with you again.  You are not helping me, you are undermining me and treating me like a child.  Please do not ever bring this up again."

The second part of the note is discussing it further.  If the OP chooses to return the book, I'd go with just the first part of the note and the last sentence saying not to bring it up again.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2013, 03:42:18 PM »
In some respects, this is an issue of semantics. While I want my doctors to know the proper name of my diagnosis (well, actually I just want them to know the appropriate treatment), I donít care what others think I have. I donít see what is gained by convincing sister of the appropriate term. Itís obvious that sheís going to believe what she wants to believe. So, I wouldnít argue with her, I would focus on what you need from her... her support. If she wants to believe that you have purple flying elephants syndrome, so be it. Just insist that she is being supportive with your treatment.

While family support may be important for your treatment, you cannot force someone to be supportive. You may want to focus your energy less towards correcting your sister and more towards finding individuals who want to be there for you and not argue with you.

Have you mentioned to your doctors about the issues with your sister and mother? They may find it necessary for your treatment to have a family session that may assist with the problem. Either way, the advice that they give will be the best for your treatment, which is more important than the etiquette advice that you may receive here.

Ladybugs

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2013, 04:45:27 PM »
Thanks for all the input, its given me some helpful things to consider.....apparently some of you have been the subjects of relatives running around playing doctor also. It takes some amount of strength to seek treatment for a mental health issue and when a family member does this is makes it even more difficult. I was told by both doctors and my therapist that family support is key (actually its key to physical things too...when my dad had a heart attack we all supported his care and my mom made low fat meals etc.  But, as has been discussed here, you can't get support for something you don't have

Here is kind of a brief summing up of how I kind of see this

***   I didn't mind her initially telling me she thought maybe I have this ..although I wouldn't overstep another persons medical treatment in this way, I chose to assume the best, that she was just trying to offer a suggestion. I responded graciously and told her ok, I would ask doc about it. I did so and he clarified I have anxiety. From that point, all she should have done is offer support for it. To continue to insist this is manipulative imo.  I stopped discussing it with her although we continued to talk about other things. However she found a way "around" my not discussing it, by handing me a book on it. Like I said, she is smart.

**  you can't support someone for something they don't have. If she was a diabetic, and I was always telling her what she really needs is to have her gallbladder removed, that would not be helpful and imo would be completely out of place, ..harmful not helpful

**  since the dynamics between sis and mom is like this, it makes it impossible pretty much for mom to consider sis may be incorrect. She seems to have a need to see sis as infallible basically. I thought about bringing mom along with me to doc appointment but I feel like this would be an exercise in frustration, mom would go to apointment with a closed mind firmly believing sis is right. I can see my mom telling the doc something like I realize your a doctor, however my daughter is very bright and she's done some research. We think you might have missed this and feel Susie needs to be in treatment for bipolar..or some variation on this

** I wouldn't mind if she felt this way and mentioned it once or twice to me. However she has interjected herself into my treatment by continuing to tell our mom I'm bipolar. Tis has been to some degree harmful to me and causes me more anxiety. When I told my mom my doc would change my anxiety med, she said "IF that's what you have.....doctors don't know everything".  It was obvious she got this from sis, bc this is exactly what sis told me earlier. My mom also told me my anxiety group is a waste of time.....its hard enough to seek treatment without feeling alone like that. It seems like others in my group have their family support, boyfriend spurt etc but I don't

I'm in limbo how to reply to this gift. I wonder if I should be straight and tell her thank you but she knows its not my diagnosis so the book is irrelevant and ask why she didnt simply get a workbook on anxiety if she wanted to help. It seems its more important for her to be right than to support.  If I gave a heart patient a book on epilepsy, how would that help?

Catch 22 though, she says if I say I don't need it, that's a classic sign of it...denial

Ill think more aout this and see any other replies....thank you guys


magician5

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2013, 05:10:09 PM »
Stop discussing this matter with anyone else at once!

This sort of thing is exactly why we have strong privacy rules for medical information. Keep it to yourself - it's already gonna be hard to re-establish your boundaries. Any shrink worth his/her salt can diagnose bipolar disorder in a heartbeat, and anyone who's not a trained medical professional (your chosen medical professional) should shut up.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

Ladybugs

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2013, 06:52:14 PM »
Magician,  hi, I agree the only one to do any diagnsoing should be the persons doctor. When she first mentioned it last year I think it was pretty gracious for me to respond as I did, by telling her I would ask my doc about it...i think alot of people wouldnt have.been quite so gracious about it...i thought after my doctor confirmed its anxiety that would be the end of it.  My dr told me how important family support was, and so from time to time I would mention about my treatment...but si continued her interference.   I know medical privacys iportant however I was told to get family as support.  they wont give support for what I do have and instead want to suport me for somthin6 I dont have...what if my sister had diabetes and I told her I am here 2o be suportive of your epilepsy....i know I cant make them be suportive but its kind of a shame I think close family should be there if you have some type of health issue. At this point if they refuse to be there for me , all I want is for her to stop interjecting herself...if they refuse to offer help, I would at least like them to act  neutral rather than interfering

Otterpop

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2013, 07:14:52 PM »
Ladybugs, some families can't give support.  Some are  are actually contributing to, or are causing, the problem.  That's why it's important to stop talking to them and find a support group for anxiety sufferers.  Maybe your doctor can hook you up.

Julian

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2013, 07:17:16 PM »
Ladybugs, for the purpose of your illness, your sister (and, by extension of her interference, your mother) are not providing support, they are actively worsening your situation by causing increased anxiety.  There is a saying here, 'safety trumps etiquette'.  In this case, your safety, ie mental wellbeing, is being threatened.  You are well within your rights to cut them out of your life until they accept your diagnosis and quit gas-lighting your treatment.

Is there any other family support available?  Do you have a husband, boyfriend, best friend that could provide that support?

If you're not willing to cut them out yet, then you need to establish some boundaries.  As soon as the 'bipolar' word gets mentioned, leave or hang up the phone.  If you want, tell them the subject is off the table, and if it brought up, you will end the conversation at once.  And follow through.  Once you've left the conversation, you may want to impose a time limit on contact - first time, a week, second time, two weeks, third time a month. 

Sis: "blah blah you're bipolar"
You: "No, I told you this isn't up for discussion.  Gotta go, cat's on fire." 

Mother: "sis says blah blah bipolar"
You:  "No, I told you this isn't up for discussion.  Got to leave, going bungee jumping."

If I were you, I would also tell your doctors/therapist exactly what your sister is doing, and how it is affecting your treatment regime.  They may have some ideas as to how to shut down your sister and mother.


Mental Magpie

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2013, 08:05:27 PM »
I have severe anxiety about the simplest of things.  (Right now, I feel like bawling, and I can't get myself to go to Wal-Mart regardless of knowing how much I need to get a money order, white vinegar, and dish soap.  I am too anxious to go to Wal-Mart but I am equally as anxious that without these things, I will not get the house clean before Eagle (DF) gets home, and he will be annoyed.  I can't win over the anxiety right now, so instead I feel like crying.)

Everyone else is right: stop talking about this with them.  I know you want their support, and I can tell you want it badly, but it isn't going to happen right now.  Maybe it will in the future, but right now it won't, and you're only making things worse for yourself by continuing to look for it where it isn't.  It's a hard truth to swallow, I know, but swallow it you must.  The first step is responding to this "gift".  So far you have received great advice on how to respond to the gift and how to shut down the sings both your sister and mother say.  I have one more suggestion.

Keep the book, read it, then tell your sister, "It was a very interesting read.  I found it intriguing to read about a life so totally different than mine.  I'm even more convinced now that my doctors are right.  Speaking of which, I will no longer be talking about that subject.  From now on, my medical treatment is between me and my doctors.  If you or mom bring up it again, I will leave, understood?  Great, thanks for understanding."
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Ladybugs

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2013, 08:40:19 PM »
I just wanted to clarify something....months back, I did stop bringing up subject with sis....we continued to talk but I didn't bring up the subject with her and I had hoped she would no longer interject herself .  But, then she found a way 'around ' me not discussing it, by handing me a book. And since it was given as a kind of gift, it made it even more awkward, to know how to respond to a gift, that is really  a statement and attempt to impose her view on me. It would be kind of similar to let's say if she had dyslexia, and I insisted she had aspergers,  and then giving her a book on aspergers.

In a more general sense I think most the time its not the best thing to hand someone a self help book, even if it IS an issue, let's say like giving an overweight relative a book on weight watchers...unless they shared with you they realy want to get help for it.

I was trying to figure out how to highlight other posters quotes, in my reply, bc there were some really insightful things said here and I wanted to highlight some of them,.....

At least a couple people said how it seems her need to be right, is so important to her that she is hurting me as a result even if she doesn't realize it. I think she really feels she knows best, she is a lawyer and I have an AA degree.

I think its wrong for them to talk about me apart from me, even if it was some other issue. If they were talking about my eating habits and why I need to be a vegetarian behind my back, that would be wrong imo but because this involves something alot more serious its not just a matter of inappropriate, it crosses over into being harmful

I think someone above said I should mail her a self help book on diabetes...I am tempted to mail off a copy of 'diabetes for dummies', with a note about how I hope this can help with her 'issue' and see what she says  ;)

Then if she objects with a "Susie, why did you give me a book on diabetes, I don't have that" then I could say "oh sis, you are deeply in denial....this is classic for diabetics to not want to admit to it, because then they will have to change their eating habits...hehe

Tempted to, but probably won't....I would like to have her lay this issue to rest with a rest in peace sign over it...they were being supportive until sis got this bee in her bonnet about bipolar. She does not like to back down from something once she says it bc she doesn't like to be wrong. I would love for them to be there for me in even small ways, like others in my group have family support. But now that sis has said this, mom thinks its the gospel truth, and so it will be darn near impossible to regain the support .  That's sad, but I can live with that, ...like I said I just want her if she can't be a positive role, I just want her to stop actively interfering and lay it to rest


Mental Magpie

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2013, 08:45:10 PM »
She only found a way to "circumvent" not talking to you about it if you let her "circumvent" it.  Give it back and say, "I stopped talking to you about this for a reason.  Please respect that."

Also, so what if she's a lawyer and you have an AA?  That doesn't make her right or her opinion more important than yours.  Being "smart" doesn't automatically make someone better than someone else.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

bonyk

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2013, 08:49:38 PM »
Your sister is a bully, and is using her diagnosis to make herself feel superior.  Anything you engage her with is fuel for her fire.

Julian

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2013, 09:06:06 PM »
Agreed, bonyk. 

There are two etiquette issues here.  Firstly, how to respond to an inappropriate gift.  Secondly, how to shut down the discussions.

The gift.  The advice usually given here is to accept graciously then do with it as you will.  Whilst it would be very tempting to send Sis the diabetes self-help book, it would be retaliatory rudeness, I think, and also probably perceived as antagonism by Dear Well Meaning Sister.  (Sorry about the sarcasm there!)  However, due to the nature of the book and the way she gave it to you, I think you would be within your rights to discreetly return it to her and say "I'm sorry, I think you must have meant this for someone else."  Keep it neutral, pleasant and polite - ie do not give her a negative reaction.

The discussion.  It sounds like, with Sis at least, that this has been partly successful - with the exception of the book.  It is her way of trying to bully you back into the conversation route.  Keep up with the 'not up for discussion' cut and paste. 

She only found a way to "circumvent" not talking to you about it if you let her "circumvent" it.  Give it back and say, "I stopped talking to you about this for a reason.  Please respect that."

Also, so what if she's a lawyer and you have an AA?  That doesn't make her right or her opinion more important than yours.  Being "smart" doesn't automatically make someone better than someone else.

And she's certainly not 'better' than your doctors and therapist, who are actually trained in their field.

doodlemor

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Re: Playing doctor? How to respond..
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2013, 09:16:50 PM »
Your sister is a bully, and is using her diagnosis to make herself feel superior.  Anything you engage her with is fuel for her fire.

POD.

I don't know your age, or whether you live at home, or whether you have other family.  It seems to me, though, that your mother and sister are making you worse when they should be helping. 

Frankly, I think that you would be best off if you had very little contact with these disrespectful people.  If you are presently living with either of them I think that you need to discuss the goal of economic independence with your doctors.  I am outraged and affronted for you, OP. 

I think that you should say nothing about the book to your sister, and refuse to discuss the matter with anyone except your doctors. 

    "I will only discuss this with my doctors." 

Get off the phone, leave the premises, whatever you have to do.  You are under no obligation to explain yourself to these two people, even if you do share some DNA.