A Podcast Discussed An Email I Sent Them (Topic: Doctors And Patients With Mental Illness)

If someone spends more than 5 minutes with me, odds are they’ll hear me say, “So I was listening to this podcast the other day and I learned…” I listen to podcasts about a lot of different topics, everything from true crime to medical to comedy, and a lot of topics in between.

One of the podcasts I listen to is House of Pod. This is, as they say, a “medical (sort of) podcast” with “two doctors and a guy named Joe”.

One segment they have on occasion is about how to be a better patient, during which they share (you guessed it) how people can be better patients – from a doctors perspective. They have mentioned on several episodes that people should send in how doctors can be better doctors. So I sent them an email and they discussed it on their recently released episode. The email is below and you can listen to the podcast by either searching for House of Pod on your podcast app, or by clicking on one of the links at the bottom of this post.

Hi House of Pod folks!
I discovered this podcast late but am almost caught up.  I’ve been hearing a call for how to be a better doctor and have many thoughts but will limit it to my one big one.
It you’re busy and can’t read the whole email, in summary:  Doctors need to understand/remember that someone with a mental illness can still get an unrelated physical illness and we do see the judgement/stigma.
To put this in context, I’ll give a brief background.  I am bipolar 2 and have social anxiety.  After years (6+) my psychiatrist and I found a med combination that works for my suicidal depressions.  However, that means I take 8 medications, some of them twice a day.  I don’t want this many meds, he doesn’t love me being on so many, but it works so we’re sticking with it.
I have on more than one occasion gone to see a doctor for a physical problem and have each time experienced stigma (I have finally found an awesome PCP). This stigma often occurs before talking to me, just from looking at my medication list and other general history forms.  
For example, I went to an ENT for sinus issues, and left after having been questioned about my psychiatric medications.  I was told it’s too many (that’s actually the first words out of the doctors mouth upon entering the room), and then without even examining me he told me that my headaches are from anxiety and he didn’t even address my frequent bloody noses. 
Since that and several other occurrences, I have become much more assertive in my appointments to make sure my concerns are addressed…but that shouldn’t be my job.  The doctor is the professional and they should act like it and address my concerns rather than give me a hard time for what is essentially the ONLY reason I’m still alive.
So, in short, doctors could be better by talking to the patient rather than making assumptions based on the medication list/background.  (I’m not complaining if it is possibly related to the issue at hand, such as high blood sugar and Seroquel)  
Your show makes it sound like you are all very accepting and understanding of mental illness and substance abuse, so your patients likely don’t deal with this, but I wanted to share anyway.  It’s a good reminder for everyone – us mentally ill millennial’s are actual humans!  Sorry for the length.
Thanks for making a great show for us medically interested non-doctors!
Be well,
Sara Phillips

I’m so grateful that Kaveh, Lizzie, and Joe read and discussed my email. This topic has come up a time or two before on this blog and I’m so happy they took the time to talk about a topic I feel is so very important.

Each link below goes to the podcast, but not the specific episode. The title of the episode to listen to is: Episode 54 – Victoria Dunckley: Electronic Screen Syndrome. And while you’re at it, check out their other episodes, some I’d recommend include Episode 35: Alcohol Abuse and How We Should Be Treating It, and Episode 52: Ryan Marino: Fentanyl Myths.

Apple iTunes: https://goo.gl/Uc0MpB

Google Play: https://goo.gl/W69BEC

YouTube:  https://goo.gl/EuiZfR

PocketCasts: https://pca.st/tf83yd28

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