When You Can’t Trust Mental Health Providers

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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.

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10 thoughts on “When You Can’t Trust Mental Health Providers

  1. I would ask about the possibilities of the lab mixing up samples.

    In fact, maybe you should insist they screwed up! Reiterate that you do NOT use marijuana — and unless your family is putting stuff in your food, there should be NO THC in your blood.

    Further, since they didn’t warn you in advance about this test, I would contest the costs. I know you may not feel you’re strong enough to deal with this, but do it anyway! You may surprise yourself.

    This whole thing is outrageous!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Being dead rather than giving in would be ultimately sacrificing yourself for them. They don’t deserve it.
    I agree with Nan’s suggestion that you talk to the clinic about the hidden fee. Maybe they’ll pay it for you…?
    Hang in there, my friend. Sending you love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can feel your frustration in every word here and offer my support toward whatever you do to feel better. I recently got a book recommendation and today picked up a copy at the library. I’m excited just by the glowing blurbs and reviews. The book is relatively new (2018) and, more importantly, a secular examination of depression and anxiety. The title is Lost Connections and the author is Johann Hari. That’s one thing. The other is you remind me of something I went through recently with a store owner who was trying to convince me he wasn’t ripping me off when in fact he already had. Briefly, I had purchased a product (a medical back brace) from his store then later came to realize the price I’d paid was double what it should have been, what dozens of other sellers are charging for it. I was furious when I found out and went in to confront someone with my discovery. I was put in touch (by phone) with the store owner. After a frustrating bit of haggling, and I’m not practiced at this kind of thing, he went down slightly on the price. He not only refused to match the cost of other sellers, he wanted to charge a re-shelving fee that made returning the damn thing prohibitive. I took his shitty offer and smirked at his claim that in the future he would give me a 10% discount. (How magnanimous!) Nope, I won’t be going back to get ripped off again. As you say, “…I also don’t appreciate their condescending offer to let me get robbed in installments.” What happened to you is worse, though. I hope someone who actually cares about the well-being of clients coming in for mental healthcare will listen and provide compensation for your trouble. You have every right to be angry.

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  4. I was thinking about this very issue just today so this is timely for me. I’m seriously thinking about switching psychiatrists, though that’s extremely hard to do as 1. There aren’t that many of them and 2. I don’t want to come across about being a problem patient. It’s just that I think my psychiatrist is trying to unnecessarily push newer expensive meds on me. And she’s on a couple occasions she’s acted borderline unethically. Ugh. Last thing you need when you need help! That’s so weird that you are testing false-positive for THC. I think some anti-inflammatory drugs in higher doses could do that? Weirdly, I test false-positive for PCP. PCP! Like, what. The hardest drug I do is Benadryl and it’s not for recreation. I am really angry on your behalf that they pushed you into taking a drug test. Unless you are in recovery for addiction I can’t see how they can justify that!

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