Someone stole my therapy appointment today. I saw it happen.
I’ve been out of therapy since the beginning of August. I’ve been trying to get back in it since the beginning of September when I had my little freak out.
I had finally had an appointment scheduled for this morning. I dressed in a cute outfit, which is very much in contrast to my routine ‘stay inside doing homework outfit’ that is typical of my Thursdays.
I wasn’t at all familiar with the neighborhood his office is in (despite the location being close to my home) so I left early. And by early I mean I allowed an hour an a half for what turned out to be a 20 minute trip.
I have a thing about not entering therapist offices more than ten minutes early (earlier feels invasive on my part), so I walked in circles around the area and killed a lot of time in a coffee shop.
Finally, 10 minutes till the appointment I went into the waiting room and I sat down.
A few minutes later a man, probably late twenties early thirties, enters the waiting room.
‘Do we just wait here, or..?”, He asks
I shrugged and said ‘I assume so, it’s my first time here’
It was clearly his first time as well.
Then commenced the awkward situation of being in a small waiting room and attempting to avoid all conversation and eye contact. I stared intently at the generic waiting room art.
At Noon, my time for the appointment. A guy walks out of an office. ‘Is one of you here for Dr. X?’
The waitingroom man says, “Yes” and follows the guy into an office.
I have a auditory processing disorder. One of the things that means is that I have a lag time for understanding auditory info. So basically I didn’t understand the sound part of what happened until after both people were gone.
Dr. X was the doctor I was there to meet with.
I sat there for 10 minutes trying to figure out what happened. “Maybe they’re only meeting for a couple of minutes”, “Maybe he accidentally double booked”, “Maybe I was supposed to show up last week”, “Maybe my appointment is later today”, “Maybe I showed up at the wrong address and it happens to be the office of another psychiatrist who happens to have the same name in the same general area”
I felt uncomfortable,like I shouldn’t be there, even though I knew my appointment time was correct. I’m very careful about these things. I check and recheck when writing it down. I read it back after writing it down as well. The probability of me writing the wrong time down is very small.
Ten minutes of this and I went into the hall and called my parents. I watched the door to see if this man would leave making my appointment available again. Twenty minutes past, against my parents advice that I should either phone the therapist or knock on his door, I left to go home.
I’m so busy. I’m juggling full time school, an internship, leadership roles in extra curricular activities and maintaining my ridiculous GPA standards. I hardly had time for this appointment. I especially I don’t have time to sit in an waiting room for an hour to wait for an appointment that isn’t happening.
I forced in into my schedule. Because I need it badly. My word repeating is at an all time worst. I’m terrified my neighbors can hear, because the volume is much too loud. Every night I pick apart my day and beat myself over every awkward imperfect interaction. There are a lot of them. One thing I am good at is creating awkward moments.
I don’t have time to sit in an waiting room for an hour to wait for an appointment that isn’t happening.
I cried my way home. Wow that’s a cliche sounding line. Sorry about that.
I didn’t feel comfortable calling the therapist. I considered not doing anything, just forgetting about this therapist so I could avoid the awkward interaction that would result from confronting him about this issue.
I whined to my Dad a lot on the phone and finally I agreed to let him call the therapist. I gave him permission just to gather facts, not to make a new appointment.
Here’s what happened:
-That man didn’t have an appointment at all. He’d just shown up. He wasn’t even already patient. He was just a person who showed up.
-The therapist hadn’t checked to see who his next appointment was with before going to fetch someone from the waiting room.
-When that man was able to react faster than me, he stole my appointment (Who does that!? Did he think therapy was just some sort of drop in thing?) and it took the therapist a significant part of the appointment to realize what had happened.
-Then the therapist went into the waiting room to look for me, but I was long gone.
I made an appointment for next week. I’m willing to give this guy another shot, though I’m not pleased about the whole situation. It threw off my homework schedule badly, because I was too upset to get work done. The only work I got done today was the work I did before I left to go to therapy.
In all my hypothetical situations I wondered about in that waiting room, the idea of someone stealing my therapy appointment wasn’t one that would have ever occurred to me.
Someone stealing my appointment would not have occured to me, either. I can certainly understand the upset it caused you. Sometimes I have delays with the auditory as well. And I just read your last post and my heart goes out to you. I deeply understand the anxiety around privacy issues. I’m not even using my real name for a consult with a new therapist because of it. I guess I just decided it’s too dangerous. It’s nobody’s business and I’m just so fed up that people think they can tell things on me or make judgements about me just because I’m in pain. Screw them all. Sometimes the inherent danger in trying to get some help makes me really angry. And you should not have been kicked out of school. That was a cruel and ridiculous overreaction and I think you’re right to be concerned about such things and still try to get some help at the same time. If you ask me, this is PROOF of your basic sanity. I mean it.
i can’t believe that happened…it is beyond strange. That man must think he is very ENTITLED to just wander in there without an appointment and take yours…v e r y selfish and cruel of him. i am so sorry this happened to you. i once “gave” my appointment to someone else, but that’s a whole other situation. i really hope things work out well next time.
Yea, it ridiculous. I think there’s a possibility he was genuinely confused about how these things work, but I can’t imagine how a person can be so oblivious that they would think you just show up unannounced.
Hey, and … omg.. I think I would lose my mind if this happened to me. Or march in there and demand to know what was going on.. ok, maybe I wouldnt but still.
It’s DrX’s responsibility to manage this type of situation. One has to assume that therapy newbies don’t know how it works and be aware that this might happen.
Poor you. You must have felt like you were going crazy with the self-doubt/secondguessing. I know I would have.
Yea, I’m not forceful enough to have done anything in the moment to try and fix it. I wasn’t even bold enough to give him a phone call from the waiting room, let alone knock on his door.
It’s worrisome because so many things had to go wrong for this to happen. This guy had to show up at this exact time (an hour later and it would have happened maybe to a different person or not at all). The therapist also had to not know the name (or gender) of his next client. It also only worked because I was a new client. If I’d ever been there before he’d have recognized me as a person there to see him.
Hopefully this isn’t representational of him in general.
You haven’t posted in awhile, still going to be doing this blog? Hope so!
Yes, still going to be writing here. I’ve just been very busy.
Thinking of you! Your posts are always intriguing. Hope all is well with you!