When You Can’t Trust Mental Health Providers

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

I’m pretty fucking angry right now.

When I last visited my doctor for an appointment, I saw signs on the walls saying they were going to do urinalysis (piss testing) on all their patients. A nurse asked me if I could do one, and I declined at first. After the visit, they tell me they’ll just test me the next time I come in. At that point, I figured it wasn’t optional. Nobody said why it was necessary. Being stuck in the mental health system tends to wear down one’s pride and sense of dignity. Hell, a urine test isn’t the worst indignity a patient can suffer.

So I decided I’d try to do one.
They get my sample, and they don’t say anything else. No warnings, no nothing. There’s still not even an excuse for why they needed it. The people there just let me schedule my next appointment in three months and let me go on my merry way.

My therapist looked at the results yesterday. I didn’t see them; I only know what she said she read. The test said I had positive traces for THC (the drug in marijuana). My mind goes into orbit. How the fuck could I have tested positive for a drug I never used and actively don’t like? There’s another catch. Sometimes marijuana can fuck with depression and make it worse. For me, I treat it like a lethal food allergy.

My options at this point are that I either got a false positive (the testing facility is based in Colorado) or someone dosed me without my knowledge. Neither thing is good for my well-being. The therapist, doctor, and staff know I’m there in part because of anxiety. This therapist’s sage advice to me is, “Don’t worry about it.” That ship had fucking sailed the second she said I was positive for a Schedule 1 drug. That could – at least indirectly – kill me.

Then the insult gets added to the injury.
As it turns out, the bill for everything was waiting for me when I got back home. I didn’t expect it. Until that point, the clinic had been pretty clear about what stuff would cost me.

When I opened the letter and found the bill, my first reaction was rage. They were asking me to pay for a test which basically is defamatory. The worst part is that they didn’t say shit about it in advance. Nobody warned me I’d need to cough up money I don’t have to pay for a test I don’t need. It was important enough to the clinic to say I had to get it done sooner or later, but not important enough for them to actually spring for it themselves.

I talked to the lab that sent the bill, and I also don’t appreciate their condescending offer to let me get robbed in installments. Something tells me there are probably hidden fees and costs there. Fifty bucks would translate into something substantially higher.

All of this is a huge breach of trust.
Right now, I don’t want to pay anyone anything. The problem is that I could end up getting hassled by a collections agency for the next several years. This is despite the fact that they can’t really collect on the debt. It would cost them more money to come after me than to just cut their losses. But that doesn’t stop collections agents from doing their thing.

I also feel like I’d be giving in to a bully. Nobody said anything about money when they asked to test my urine. The lab that did it either messed up or found out someone poisoned me. They’re operating under the assumption that they can just yank my chain.

When I calm down long enough, I realize that what I’m most upset about is the fact that I now have to watch this clinic carefully. I can’t trust these people to tell me the truth. It wouldn’t be so bad but for the fact that they are aware of why they need my trust. Treating a mental illness requires trust.

Their lack of care has caused some bad anxiety problems for me. I’m not okay with this. For my own well-being, it’s not something I can forgive or forget about. There’s nothing the clinic can do to repair this, no matter what happens. That’s tough, considering I still need help from them.

One thing I can say is that if I’m ever able to have a choice in mental health provider, I will switch as soon as able. There is also a part of me that would rather be dead than subject myself to the whims of these people. In the abstract, I know that last thought is a product of my anxiety and depression. But it’s still something I feel.