I just spent some time going over old emails that I have exchanged with my psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Forster. Wow. That was a worthwhile experiment to gain some perspective on just how far I’ve come. I’m surprised at how powerful I found that exercise to be. Perhaps we should all review some old emails to see how we’ve evolved?
I think I have a revisionist sense of history, because I tend to consider the last two years as having gone really well overall. However it seems in reality there was a lot of adjusting and maturing taking place. Embedded in the correspondence were some true and genuine moments of suffering, confusion, some physical challenges, medication adjustments, triumphs, and as many wonderful life experiences as challenging ones. I feel really fortunate to have had the *right* therapist with me during this time, and going forward. I’ve had a safe base and stability in that relationship, which was exactly the calm yet directive voice I was hoping for, and requiring.
So let me introduce you to Dr. Peter Forster, for those of you looking for a psychiatrist in the Bay Area. He’s been consistent through-and-through. He’s not judgmental about personal matters, he remembers every detail about me (which I never expect), but most profoundly I feel like I haven’t been strong-armed into any treatment, but rather my personal boundaries have been very much respected. That is not to say that I haven’t been told directly what will help, because I have, even when I’m at my most stubborn, but I view this as a required duty in this sort of relationship. So I tend to expect some very appropriate push-back.
He’s taken all my feedback about the medications I’ve tried and worked with it to find the best approach for ME. That’s a difficult process for anyone, be it Rx writer, or Rx taker. Actually, this latest fine-tuning of my medication has left me feeling more solid than I have ever felt — in my entire life. I’m not fogged, I’m productive, engaged, emotionally present, and HAPPY! I’m not perfect, but I would take this me, over the me that walked into his office two years ago, hands-down no questions asked.
The most important outcome of my treatment is simple to me: Am I the best mother, and wife, that I can possible be? Is this process helping make those goals a reality? The answer is, yes. I suppose the relief I feel is also worth mentioning, but really, my goals revolve around those other people that live in my house, both short and tall.
I like how Dr.Forster can move between quoting peer-reviewed papers, and life experience. He’s very human, social, and approachable. There is no doubt however that he is a physician. Lately, I feel like he’s my trusted friend. Maybe I’m not supposed to? It just seems that after two years of propping me up, and literally saving my life, it’s kind of hard not to be overwhelming thankful and appreciative. Lately I realized that I have “good patient syndrome” however. My husband pointed it out. He thinks I tell Dr. Forster all my positive accomplishments and leave out some of the more troublesome events because I don’t want to be a problem for him. I have vowed however to be more direct, and I thought maybe others do the same thing, and therefore it was worth mentioning.
I guess the purpose of this piece is not only to endorse Dr.Forster and the exceptional care he’s given me, for those who may be searching for help, but also to relay to others what I feel a functional and productive therapist-patient relationship should feel like. Safe and full of mile-stones.
Thank you Dr.Forster for your patience, dedication, and clinical insight. I’ll finally order all those books you’ve suggested… no really, I will… today… I’m doing it now… I swear. 😉
Dr. Forster does Skype/Google Hangout appointments, which I must say has been a wonderful perk occasionally… you know when your pipes are leaking, or your child is home sick, or the dog has eaten raisins (again). You can find Dr.Forster here: