When I met with my doctor of integrative medicine, whom I'll call Dr. Michaels, it was a genuinely pleasurable experience. First, I liked it that her office was located in a major medical center, and it was for "regular" patients, not psychiatric ones. Second, each time I went, her nurse took my blood pressure and weighed me, which should probably be standard for all patients. Third, because she is a "regular" doctor rather than a psychiatrist, my insurance policy (which I no longer have) paid for 80 percent of the total, rather than $30 for a half-hour $100 psychiatric visit.
In our first meeting, rather than asking me questions that had no value whatsoever, Dr. Michaels' questionnaire was medical in nature. When Dr. Michaels and I met, rather than sitting across the room from me, she sat on a chair right next to me. Rather than taking notes while I talked, she looked right at me. And rather than feeling that I couldn't get well, I knew she believed I could.
What I knew about her before I went was that most people who found her were dying, she isn't a psychiatrist, and she believes medical problems--psychiatric as well as physical ones--are caused because our lives are out of balance.
When we talked, I learned she helps the dying achieve wellness or helps them to die more peacefully by coming to grips with life problems. I learned she would read all the research on bipolarity that I provided her. I learned she would treat me as a colleague in the process rather than a supplicant. And I learned she felt there wasn't any reason why I couldn't achieve wellness.
(to be continued)