I often find myself in a place where I have far more to say than my time limit allows when visiting with my doctors. This often frustrated me in the past. I am a person of many words (as I am sure you have picked up on) and I always seem to have quite a bit that I would like to discuss. The hour with my Psychologist speeds by like a bullet train and the mere thirty minutes with my Psychiatrist whizzes by like a humming bird flitting through my garden.
When I first started seeing my Psychiatrist some three years ago I was in a rough spot and once we started on the cocktail of medication things got a bit tough. I became rather forgetful and tongue tied. To combat these side effects, I started to write down the major events that happened in between my appointments so I would have them on paper and would easily be able to share them with the doctor and not have to rely on my brain, since it was mush.
Now three years later, I still use this technique of writing out information to share with my doctor for my appointments. My brain is far better able to focus (most days), but it’s become a habit, one that works for both myself and my doctor. It also has greatly increased the size of my medical folder, but I like to think that it has added to the comprehensiveness of the file. I enter my appointment, sit down, hand over my paper, she reviews the document and then we start discussing what I have transcribed. Our process works for me.
I am working on a document for my therapy session tomorrow morning. Since seeing my psychologist last, I have had a medication change and spent time on spring break with my family. So, a bit of change. While covering the basic information, it helps to accelerate the “catching up” and allows more time for us to spend more time on one specific item or learning new tactics and techniques to help me cope with stress, anxiety or depression symptoms.
What I consider the “basics” that are included on the paper are:
- My Mood since I was last seen
- How I have been sleeping
- On average how I’ve been eating
- Medication Compliance
- Normal routine activities
- Basic care and how I have been handling them
- Any changes that have occurred
- Anything else that has happened that I feel I need to let her know about
- Goals for the session
I feel like overall the last one, the goals for the session, is a really important one on the sheet.
I find that it is important that the doctor and I are on the same page and that I leave the appointment feeling that my needs are being met. I have found that we focus our time on the goal item and work to resolve that issue and this has helped greatly to assist me in getting what I feel I need out of the appointments.
I have found throughout the last three years that I learning ways to manage the Bipolar Disorder and how I can make it easier for me and my life. Taking five or ten minutes to jot down these notes helps me so much and it for sure makes life easier in the long run. I have always been a fan of good communication and this is definitely a tool in my toolbox that is used quite often. Due to the success that I have with it, I wanted to share it with you.