Thank you to those of you who hung on, read, liked and provided comments during the month. It was an excellent challenge but, truth be told, I’ll be happy to blog less frequently for the next little while.
Today my children and I had a doctor’s appointment. But, before I get to the crux of this post, let me back up for a moment… If you’re American (or, rather, if you’re not Canadian and not familiar with our medical system), you may think that finding a family doctor, booking an appointment, and seeking out appropriate medical treatment is easy-peasy.
True, most medical appointments, treatments and interventions are “free” (paid for by tax dollars) but finding a family doctor in your area who is taking on new patients is no easy feat. And, booking an appointment with a doctor or specialist can take weeks or months. They’re that booked up!
My doctor works downtown and we are far uptown. Driving downtown, even for a short appointment, is a journey in itself. Luckily, our doctor is an awesome woman whom we’ve seen for many, many years. Today, it struck me how complicated medical intervention is for mental health issues.
For example, let’s say your child has a broken arm: You drive to emergency, check in, have the arm x-rayed, diagnosed, casted and go to follow up appointments.
Or, let’s say your child has asthma. You have her tested, receive feedback, perhaps get a “puffer” or other medicine and learn to adapt. I realize it’s not always this easy but in many cases an injury or illness can be addressed directly.
Mental health conditions (for kids and adults) are generally never straightforward. Usually, other conditions have to be ruled out because there’s often no 100% accurate diagnosis. Then, even if a disorder is identified, say it’s ADHD or autism or schizophrenia or OCD, the treatment, counselling, meds, follow ups, etc. etc. are often tweaked and changed – possibly over the course of a lifetime.
“Wait and see” can be frustrating and tiresome for everyone involved. Sometimes a clean diagnosis (even for something scary) is less ominous than a “Well, we could try this but…” explanation with no real end in sight. Those of you who live with mental health challenges or parent someone who does will know exactly what I mean!