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Good Doctor Bad Doctor

One of my followers mentioned something to me that disturbed me, it was about their relative's doctor they lacked faith in their recovery, they implied that the relative may never improve; they did not want to get the family's hopes up. I think doctors should have high standards for their practice. I think this is one of the worse things a doctor could say! I wonder why people are in those professions if they don't think their patient has a chance, or have faith in their work?

I just want to make one point clear: it is a myth that someone with schizophrenia cannot recover, they just have not found the right treatment that works for them, yet, but they should keep looking and keep hope alive! A lot of my readers with a mental illness are success stories.

I had a doctor that I don't think really cared about her work. She wasn't there for me when I needed her. I complained to her about the restlessness I was experiencing from the side effects of my medication. I had trouble sleeping at night because I felt like I had to stay in motion, therefore, I moved my legs around a lot in bed at night. Fortunately, there was an alternate doctor on site that gave me more medication to help cope with the side effects of the anti psychotic medication.

The alternate doctor took over my case when I was really sick and catatonic, my other doctor was on vacation or was not available. Also, I requested my main doctor, not the alternate doctor, to change my medication because I did not like the side effects. I believe any person should have a say in their treatment- it's their right! I suggested a medication because I read about it in an article about bipolar disorder, I thought I was bipolar because nobody told me what my illness was, they just forced me to take medication. She did not take into account my request because she said I may slip into a catatonic state again. As a result, I did not share my concerns with this doctor, but I did not have a choice; however, I always requested the alternate doctor whenever the opportunity arose.

I also have experience working with an awesome doctor. Dr. X, he switched my medication to to the one I wanted right when I got into his care (and I did not have a relapse!), because the medication I was on put me at risk for developing diabetes, which is also prevalent in my family. I guess this was carelessness on my other doctor's part!

Dr. X went beyond his duty and arranged a meeting with my mother and treatment team so that she will have a better understanding of my illness. I had to sign a form allowing him to discuss my personal business with my mother, since I was over the age of 18. This meeting was held during the time of the major fires in San Diego and Southern California. My mom had a hard time getting there because all of the roads were blocked, shut down without notice. Dr. X actually stuck with my mom and navigated the trip for her to make sure they met that day. He and my social worker stayed until she arrived and held this very important meeting, with no regard to time or the fact that they were off work. He gave her important information on my illness, the scope on various medications and signs to look for in case of a relapse. He scheduled this meeting in advance and told her to come prepared with questions she might have. My mother, my stepfather and my sister worked together to make sure they created a list that would help with my recovery. Dr. X also told her there was most definitely hope for me because I was young and very active. He said he wanted me to succeed!

I have a lot of respect for Dr. X because he actually listened to my concerns and actually cared, which showed in the way he spoke to his patients. He was the one that gave me the news that I have schizophrenia, he wasn't like the previous doctor I mentioned above that shoved medicine down my throat and expected me to understand my illness without warning. Dr. X made an analogy between schizophrenia and diabetes to explain that treatments will be needed forever, since there is no cure schizophrenia or diabetes, yet.

Finally, there are good doctors and there are bad doctors, that's life, but nobody should have to suffer the burden of the bad doctor. My advice to you if you are facing a challenge such as my follower where your doctor lacks faith in your recovery switch that doctor immediately. And if you can't change doctors find a good support group that you can share your concerns with and get more information on schizophrenia or whatever your mental illness, or medical ailment is.

Schizophrenia or any sort of mental illness or medical ailment for that matter needs to be nurtured. For example, people with diabetes, like my mother, needs to monitor her diabetes and have a good diet, and in some cases take their medication. Likewise, people with schizophrenia need to take their medication in order to control symptoms like people with diabetes need to control their sugar levels.

As I may have mentioned previously and I will keep on mentioning this, recovery demands medication compliance, support, and a positive outlook. There are a lot of places where you can get support, not only from family but also from organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Schizophrenia Society of Novia Scotia(Canada), online support groups such as and Schizophrenia Support

Have you ever experienced a bad doctor?- How did you handle this and what advice would you give to others in this position?

I want to thank you for taking the time out to read more about this illness and my story. I really appreciate your comments, advice, and questions, and I encourage them so that others can learn too! God Bless you and yours!


I am really lucky that I have a good doctor. His secretary told me that he one of the most in demand doctors in Sydney... My family has known him ever since he started psychiatry in 1982 and he diagnosed me in 1989. He is away at the moment and I can't contact him which is frustrating because I need to see him. My son told me today that the voices are really bad and I really need to get treatment for him!
Elizabeth A. said…
Ugh, I've been dealing with a bad doctor. I have to be in a really good state of mind with him to make my concerns known or he just tries to give me a script and get me out the door. I don't really like him, but don't really want to go through finding anothing one either.

You're absolutely right, it is a patient right to have a say unless declared otherwise legally. If I'm not in a psychotic state, I get to say NO! if I don't agree, and you have to answer my questions with a direct answer...that's why I'm paying you, for your medical knowledge to make me feel better. Period.

My advice, if you can't get a new doctor, is to keep a bulleted journal between appts so you don't get flustered in front of the crappy doc and make all your concers known or have someone you trust go with you to your appts as a patient advocate. And most importantly for me, schedule the appts when you have as much time and as little stress as possible.

Thanks for writing about such an important topic.
Anonymous said…
I have also had very bad and very good doctors. I may write about this very subject myself soon!

The same thing is said about those with eating disorders all the time by professionals. I have heard the phrase by a nurse, "once a anorexic, always an anorexic..." implying that they will always stay in the same miserable state. If you don't believe in hope, then I don't think you should be in the medical profession if you've lost your hope.
Ashley Smith said…

I am glad that you and your family have built a solid, trusting relationship with your doctor.

As for you son, you should move on to plan B and call an emergency mental health facility and get advice from them. I hope everything works out for you and your son!

Elizabeth B. Alexander,

You give very good advice, and I agree with your points.


I agree with you, nobody should be in the medical profession if they lack hope!

Thank you all for your feedback!


Thank you for posting about this. I don't know if I ever told you, but I was studying to be a doctor. I had second thoughts due to my intense creative side and I couldn't handle death that well. My creative side is always fighting with my logical side. But I think I would have been one of those doctors who would do anything to help a patient. I would be the kind of doctor that I want my brother to have. Maybe that is why I try to help my family and my brother so much. I try to think optimistically and try to fix everything. It's hard when my optimism is crushed, but I keep hoping that things will work out in the end. My creative career allows me to be myself but, I am glad to have found a way to merge creativity with empathy. I never thought a sibling of mine would be diagnosed with a disease this young, but I am glad that I can help him is some way. I will also fight for him to find a doctor who believes in him as much as I do.
Anonymous said…
I have been living with Schiztophrenia for about 7 years. I do not have symptoms and do not take medication. I have not been able to get a good doctor yet. I do not feel that medication is necessary to take your entire life. I currently have no symptoms and I do not take medication. What bothers me the most is that friends and family do not talk about the illness. I am happy you are doing well but it would be nice to know that I could have a career that is not linked to Schitzophrenia (therapist, motivator). I feel like this condition limits ones freedoms but what I learned form this blog is that it is up to me to speak up and be heard.
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate the feedback.

I have not met a lot of people who are managing this illness without medication. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I am glad that you are well to stay off the medication. Unfortunately, I do not trust my mind to go off and stay off my medication.

I personally want to assist my peers in recovery, however, I believe if someone manages their illness they can have any career they want.

Best regards,
Ashley Smith
Anonymous said…
Hi Ashley,
I just found your blog as I am researching for my son who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I live in San Diego and read about you liking your doctor in San Diego. Can you share the information?
Thank you for your help and information.

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