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Anxiety and Me



Join me in my journey through anxiety and depression on the road to recovery.



Updated: 2018-03-05T11:32:15.791-05:00

 



Ahhhh...Monday

2009-05-04T21:42:19.632-04:00

I really have been horrible about keeping up my blog as of late. I do apologize. There don't seem to be enough hours in the day to complete all that needs to be done. I hope you are all doing well. Things for me have been stable of late, which I guess in the realm of anxiety, is a good thing.

I did get really sick last week though (no, I didn't have the swine flu)...it was a bronchial infection. Started out like a cold and then really irritated my chest and lungs so I went to the doctor and he prescribed me antibiotics and an inhaler/puffer. It really helped and I'm almost feeling completely normal, except I'm still coughing a lot, but I guess that's usually the last thing to leave when you have a cold.

Other than that illness, I saw my psychiatrist a couple weeks ago and we decided to stay on the same dose of medication as I'm currently on...at least until I've felt stable for a longer period of time so there's less of a chance of relapsing. I'm cool with that. To be honest, I didn't really feel comfortable with further tapering my medication at this time. I like where things are at right now, and I think I'm doing really well. My job has helped me immensely, as has my support system. I'm not 100% cured by any means, but I'm feeling so much better that I did last year at this time.

Lastly, we have these little tiny flies swarming our apartment balcony and sticking to the walls and ceiling of it. My husband did some research and thinks they're called midges. Has anyone else ever dealt with these stupid insects. Apparently they don't like Lavender or Basil plants so we're going to try putting those outside and see what happens. So annoying!



Busy, busy like a bee

2009-03-28T11:26:01.420-04:00

Work has been going really well. As soon as March hit we really started picking up our appointment bookings and things really got busy. So busy in fact that both me and my colleague ended up being a tad bit burned out. We're still not busy enough where we need to hire someone else to help, but sometimes it can be a lot of hours of having to be at the office for just two people. We were able to recuperate though and feeling more like ourselves. Fingers crossed that things just keep getting better! We're still within our first year of operation though and so far I think we're doing amazingly well. So forgive me if I'm not blogging too regularly. I promise I will when I can, but right now there's a lot going on and I may not always be able to find the time.

I hope you are all well! Enjoy this beautiful Saturday. :)

xo



Feeling pretty good these days

2009-02-28T16:45:44.474-05:00

I know I've been sporadically blogging, mostly because I've been concentrating all my efforts in getting our work blog off the ground, but I'm still here and will be posting as often as I have time to.

So I've been feeling pretty good the last while and saw my psychiatrist again yesterday. We talked about the fact that I have this phobia of throwing up (emetophobia), especially in front of people, and especially in public. I had been thinking about it and wondered if that was causing my anxiety rather than my anxiety causing me to feel nauseated which in turn causes this phobia. Does that make sense?

Anyways, he told me that it's possible, but he also feels that certain things I've told him, whether related to emetophobia or not, are still attributes of someone who is socially anxious. Either way I don't want to be medicated forever and he told me that he doesn't think I will be, so I asked what he thought of lowering my dosage of Gabapentin, at least for the meantime to see how I would be with less. We started at 900mg/day so I've never been at a lower dose. I wanted to see how I'm able to cope without thinking my medication is a crutch, so to speak.

He had no problem with that, so as of yesterday I have been taking 600mg. I've been feeling quite a bit better on a daily basis so I figured maybe now was the time to start getting off my meds and learning to cope on my own. As my psychiatrist said, the meds have given me a jumping board and now hopefully I will be able to take a little control on my own. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. Please keep me in your prayers. xo



What actually happened on V-Day

2009-02-17T21:04:54.664-05:00

Thank you for your comments on my last post. I wanted to do a quick post to let you know what actually ended up being our Valentine's Day low-key celebration. We had decided that what we wanted to do was order sushi in and stay home, watch TV and just relax. Instead, the sushi place we usually order from informs us that it'll be an hour and a half wait to get our food so we decide to forgo ordering with them. I guess because of Valentine's Day they were too busy! Anyways, it would have been fine had we known of any other places that we could order from, but pickings were slim. We were also worried that if we decided to go out to eat everywhere would be packed with premade reservations.

Anyhow, I called this local all-you-can-eat sushi place to let them know that we could be there in 10 minutes if they had a table available. At this point we were both starving and it was our last resort. They said there would be a table available for us (so I assumed they mustn't be that busy). When we got there it was packed and we didn't see any open tables. Just as I started to panic that we'd go hungry on Valentine's Day a couple of ladies finished paying their bill and left. So we got a table! The food was pretty good and for $14.99 each I think we managed to get our money's worth.

It was also the thing I dread most in this world - eating out - which ended up not being such an ordeal because when it was our only option I had no choice but to suck it up and face my fear!

Hope you all had a good one. :)



Happy Valentine's Day!

2009-02-14T13:00:28.517-05:00

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't think my husband and I will be doing anything exciting today...probably just ordering food and maybe renting a movie. Our Valentine's Days have been pretty low-key for the past seven years or so. We don't see the point in making a big deal on February 14. We show each other how much we love each other 365 days of the year!

Have a good day with your loved one! xo



Depression may be linked to migraines

2009-02-02T18:59:07.149-05:00

I saw this interesting article on a Global TV website today about the connection between migraines and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Check out the article. It's really interesting. Upon reflection, before I was diagnosed with social anxiety in 2004 I had a migraine (my first ever) that lasted for two weeks straight. I'm amazed that this revelation has only come to light now.

35% of people who suffered migraines also suffered from a mental disorder,
ranging from depression and anxiety to phobias and substance abuse



Update

2009-01-26T20:59:58.275-05:00

I wanted to do a quick blog post so you know I'm still alive. I've been very tired and possibly fighting off a virus, but I'm doing okay. I've been working a lot and it's been really exhausting to me. I guess going from no work to part-time to full-time in such a short period of time has taken a toll on me.

I saw my psychiatrist last week and we figured that taking an extra dose of medication per day wasn't helping at all, so I'm back to my regular three per day and don't feel any different. I'm staying positive and my friends are helping me to get back out there and back into the "normal" world by helping me and taking me out to eat, which is my biggest challenge with anxiety. I'm terrified of vomiting in public and I always get nauseous when I have anxiety so you can see how this can be a vicious circle. I'm always well equiped with my protective anti-nausea arsenal in my purse: a puke bag, ginger pills, mints, minty gum, pepto bismol, cocculine, and gravol (ginger-based non-drowsy one). Sometimes I even carry Tetley Ginger-Mint tea bags with me in case I get nauseous it usually helps me.

I know that there is a term for fear of throwing up called emetophobia, but I'm not sure if that's what I have nor do I want to put a label on it. I've put so many labels on myself throughout my life I really want to stop doing that. Nausea is my biggest symptom when I get anxious or nervous so I always make sure to have and do everything humanly possible to control those feelings. The funny thing is...I've never actually thrown up in all of these situations where I feel so incredibly nauseous (unless I've been sick due an actual virus). I know that a lot of it's in my head and now I'm trying to control my thoughts towards this as well as my anxiety in general.

The thought of ever being pregnant and dealing with morning sickness makes me queasy. I'm not sure how it'll be, especially because you can't take time off work for morning sickness. I'm not pregnant, but my husband and I do want kids in the next few years. I guess I'll just have to see how it goes. The important thing is that I'm working on it...and me...little by little.



The link between pesticides and anxiety/depression

2009-01-03T15:43:04.614-05:00

I have been doing a lot of research over the past few days, trying to find out what other routes I could take to lessen my daily anxieties: seeing another psychotherapist, seeing a Naturopathic Doctor, hypnosis, acupuncture...a myriad of things. I wanted to check out everything and anything that could help me. Then I stumbled upon one therapist in Toronto that usually asks her anxiety/depression clients about their diet...to which she recommends they try a diet full of organic foods and in short periods of time they start to feel a lot better. So I continued on this path and found out that there have been links between pesticides (used in normal grocery store produce, for example) and anxiety/depression.

I've never been much of a sugar person, but sugar has also been linked to depression for years. I basically continues researching organic foods and anxiety and I'm wondering if that would help me. Although organic food here is very expensive, which is probably why I've never tried it. Have you ever eaten organic food and found that it helps you with your mood disorder? Basically, through my research I've been warned of pesticides used in produce, and to stay away from sugar, caffeine, products made of white flour, not to eat pork or margerine or drink cow's milk...it became such a long list of things I shouldn't consume that I got really frustrated. I'm not shy when it comes to trying new things (organic food, for example), I simply wanted to know if it would really be beneficial for me or just a waste of money?

I found this information to be very interesting, and I want to know if you have tried any of the things I mentioned looking up when I was conducting my research. Please leave me a comment about which one it was and how the experience is/was for you. I am seriously considering seeing a Naturopathic Doctor at least to see what they say (plus it's covered by my husband's insurance plan). I'd like to hear your story. :)



First post of 2009

2009-01-02T15:42:43.969-05:00

I hope you had a great New Years eve and New Years day. My New Years celebrations were good. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to my New Years eve get-together with some friends. Of course the anticipation was far worse than the actual outcome, but that's what we anxiety sufferers have to realize, right? That the anticipation of situations is always worse in our minds. I still have a long way to go in terms of mentally realizing this, but knowing that this is how it is is part of the battle towards recovery, right?

For me, I turn to my faith in many difficult situations when I feel so alone and full of despair. If nothing else, I feel that it helps me to be able to pray that things will get better and knowing that God will listen to me without judgment. Not knowing many people personally who are going through the same thing as me is very difficult. I have a great support system in my family and friends, but many of them have no idea what I am truly dealing with on a daily basis so it's hard to have to explain what it's like.

It's nice to have people to talk to via blogs and support groups, but I would really like to be able to talk to people that I know in person. To be able to go through ups and downs and know that the other person supports and understands is huge. I know that everyone with anxiety disorders have different issues that affect them or have different symptoms of it, but we can still help each other cope.

I haven't seen a therapist in months...partly because of cost and partly because we can't find a mutually convenient time to connect. I thought I was doing better and didn't need it, but as I find myself having to cope on my own I feel like I need a bit more guidance. We'll see. I hope 2009 is a better year than last, and I wish all my readers a great year to come!



Happy New Year!

2008-12-31T16:35:01.759-05:00

I want to take the time to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is a better year for all of us, and that it brings nothing but good things. Having battled anxiety and depression for the better part of my life, I know it's not easy to overcome your fears and feelings, but I hope and pray that we get through this together. As my friend often says, "There's nowhere to go but up."

I also wanted to bring your attention to a nice article I read that inspires me to try harder to get better. Sometimes I fear that I will never overcome my anxiety and it scares me to death, but I have to stay positive. I have such a great support system and I know that things will get better. I want them to get better!

That said, have a safe and wonderful New Years eve and New Years day!

I'm spending New Years eve with a few friends in their home, and New Years day is always spent with my family. Hopefully all will all be good. I'm looking forward to spending a few days taking it easy and just being myself.



Related blogs

2008-12-28T23:19:30.691-05:00

I just wanted to write a quick post to draw attention to my blogroll on the bottom right hand side of my blog. I have posted links of my favourite anxiety-related blogs that I read on a daily basis. I urge you to check them out as well. Also, if you have a blog that's not listed, or know of a great one that I have missed, please leave me a comment and I will add it. Please feel free to add mine to yours as well. I truly believe that we can help each other get through this. Thanks again for stopping by and reading mine. xo



Merry Christmas!

2008-12-28T23:20:22.855-05:00

Well, I know this is a tad late, but better than never. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I wasn't much in the Christmas spirit this year and it's usually my favourite holiday. It kind of crpt up on me this year and then I was racing around at the last minute trying to get stuff done. Oh...enough about me.

All the best to you and I hope you have a great New Year too!

Thank you also for your support and for reading my blog about me and my life. I will try to write more soon. xo



Twitter

2008-11-09T00:16:47.421-05:00

Does anyone use this social media tool? I'm trying to learn how to use it and make if effective in helping to promote our dental hygiene spa business, but I have no idea what I'm doing or how it can help. Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. :)



Follow-up

2008-11-07T20:01:43.392-05:00

So the best my insurance company could offer (without having to go through a long appeal process, which would take at least a month to get any decision) is an extra two months of pay. So they're paying me through February. They took my psychiatrist's note into consideration and agreed to offer me an extra two months if I took the settlement now. Otherwise I would have to go through a long, drawn out appeal process, which, if rejected, would result in me still only getting paid through December. So I figured that accepting their settlement now and having it over and done with would allow me to keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum as well as having an extra couple months to figure things out and work my way back to working full-time. Better than nothing. I have heard horror stories of trying to appeal insurance company's decisions and I'm glad that I was able to resolve this quickly so I can move on.



So...it's not over yet ;)

2008-11-04T17:52:12.866-05:00

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he was very upset at the decision made by my LTD insurance company. He spent most of our appointment writing a letter to them to reconsider my claim because he knows that I'm not ready to jump into a full-time position just yet. Hopefully this helps me and changes their mind because I really feel like I do need some more time. He also made sure to indicate that he gave me medical clearance to start a return to work program, NOT to return to work full-time now. Anyways, I'll keep you posted on what happens. Please keep me in your prayers. I need all the strength I can get right now. xo



It's been a rather crappy day for me

2008-10-29T18:50:56.873-04:00

I just found out that my long-term disability will be terminated as of Dec. 31. What a nice Christmas present! The original plan was to look at working full time at my friend's dental hygiene spa around now, but that got changed and the new plan (which was also encouraged by my psychiatrist and rehabilitation specialist) was to start working part time by January and then then full time around March or April. How things can change on a dime! I'm now being pushed forward by my disability insurance company to embark on working 40 hours per week within the next two months.

Part of me is psyched at the challenge, and part of me is scared to death! It's also a fairly new office (they've only been open for two and a half months), and while business is steady, I didn't want to have to add the burden of paying me full-time to the mix of things so soon. They said that it's fine and that they'll take care of me, but I know it will be a bit financially stressful for them.

I know in the end things will be okay, and I'm trying to stay positive. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. xo



Feeling a little blue

2008-10-13T12:21:34.261-04:00

The past little while I have been feeling rather down and (dare I say it?) depressed. I stopped taking Celexa a while back (which had helped stabilize my mood at the time) and now I am only on Gabapentin. I'm wondering if our crazy Toronto weather this fall is a contributing factor to my gloominess.

I have also been taking some green tea pills for the past month or so to help with the weight I gained while trying all sorts of antidepressants. I gained about 40 pounds while I was taking Effexor (about a year ago) and I haven't been able to lose any of the weight. So I bought some green tea pills from the Carrot Common's Dispensary store with the hopes that it will help speed up my metabolism and give me more energy as it states on the bottle.

So far I still haven't lost any weight or gained any more energy. Although I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping the past couple of weeks. Not sure if it's because there's alot on my mind or if it's the extra caffeine in the green tea pills (I do take them in the morning and at lunch so the caffeine shouldn't be effecting me at 11:00 p.m. when I try to sleep, right?).

Anyways, I feel like lately I have been experiencing a bit more anxiety than usual, and considering the fact that I was feeling so much better on the Gabapentin I'm a bit concerned because things were starting to really move forward to me and I really, really don't want to take any more steps back. Things are going pretty well for me and I want to keep up that momentum. Any suggestions?

Anyways, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving this weekend! Take it easy and eat lots and lots of turkey!



Not much going on

2008-10-03T21:36:57.297-04:00

I'm feeling a bit weird today; kind of been in a bit of a funk, I guess. I know it'll pass. I'm just finding it a little hard to cope today. Please keep me in your prayers.



Okay...I feel a little silly...

2008-09-24T17:13:10.533-04:00

I just wanted to write a quick post because I just realized that so many people have been commenting on my posts and I've only just had the opportunity to read them now. I thought that I would receive an e-mail notification when someone commented, but apparently that has not been the case. So I figured that people were reading and not commenting. I am so sorry! Thank you for reading my posts and for all your wonderful comments. They have not been ignored (not intentionally, at least!). I hope that I am able to help and inspire some of you through my sharing. I will pay more attention to the comments section from now on.

Love and Blessings.



Happy Wednesday!

2008-09-24T10:44:00.535-04:00

I am now completely off Celexa! It took me about six weeks to wean off the medication, but I'm free! Now I'm only still on Gabapentin, which I'm sure I'll be on for a while longer since that's the one that truly seems to be helping my anxiety.

While I was with my psychiatrist last week I asked him if Gabapentin might be one of the meds where "the benefits outweigh the risks" in terms of getting pregnant while on it. I mean, my husband and I aren't thinking about it just yet, but it's good to know just in case it happens. Not all things are planned.

Anyways, he told me that a great resource to call to find out about any meds and their safety with pregnancy is Motherisk. It's a program run through the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and provides "evidence-based information and guidance about the safety or risk to the developing fetus or infant, of maternal exposure to drugs, chemicals, diseases, radiation and environmental agents."

They also have great sections on morning sickness and breastfeeding, so I thought I would share this valuable resource with my readers. You never know if you or someone else might be interested in this information.



The Secret

2008-08-31T18:15:47.549-04:00

I watched The Secret movie on Thursday and it was very good. I gained a lot from it and would highly recommend it to everyone. I haven't read the book yet, but I would love to hear from anyone who has read and/or seen the movie to get your thoughts and perspectives.

My favourite quote in the movie was from Buddah:

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

I'm going to try really hard to incorporate this method of being and thinking into my every day life.



No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth :)

2008-07-27T17:48:20.596-04:00

I apologize for being such a bad blogger these past few months. I really don't know where the time has gone. A lot has happened for me. Fortunately, it's been mostly good stuff. I'l try to summarize the past few months in as short a post as possible.

The highlights for me have been getting on a new med called Neurontin (Gabapentin is the medical term) and it has helped me turn my anxiety around so much. I can't even describe how much it's made me feel more alive and confident to face my fears head-on. I am also still on Celexa at the same time, which was helping to stabilize my mood. I am now happy to report that my psychiatrist has given me the green light to taper off the Celexa, so in about six weeks I'll only be on the one med. This makes me happy because I hate having to take so many pills a day. With Neurontin I have to take one pill (300 mg) three times a day.

I am also in the process of starting a new job at a dental hygiene spa, which is so exciting for me (a friend and former colleague of mine is a hygienist and is opening her own practice where I will be working as office coordinator). I will probably be starting full time in September or October. Right now I am volunteering my time helping her get the practice running and all set up so she can start seeing clients. The concept is really cool - it's a place where you can have your teeth cleaned in a spa environment. You won't even feel like you're stepping into a dental practice. The colours are so warm and inviting, and there's a gorgeous fireplace in the reception area along with a bamboo arrangement and soothing aromatherapy scents are diffused to help you relax. There's also an amaxing dental chair you sit in that massages your back as you have your teeth cleaned. If you live in Toronto, let me know and I'll send you more information about it.

Anyways, I'm really excited about this new opportunity. I think it will definitely help my anxiety more than being in a corporate environment. I like the fact that it's going to help lower m stress and my friend knows about my anxiety and is super supportive too, so that's a definite plus.

I was also a bridesmaid in a wedding a couple weeks ago and I made it through with relatively minimal anxiety. Yay!!! I was so nervous anticipating the day, but I did it and was so proud of myself. It helped that my husband was an usher and he and I were paired to walk down the aisle together and placed beside each other at the head table.

I'm still seeing my psychiatrist and my psychotheraist on a fairly regular basis, but it's come to the point when I talk to my therapist that we end up wondering what to talk about in the last 20 minutes of our session, so we've agreed to taper those off a bit too.

I wouldn't say that I'm 100% better, but I was feeling so desperate that I'd never feel better again, and here I am a year later feeling like I can (somewhat) take on the world!

Thank you so much for reading this post and for those of you who have been keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I promise to write more often and let you know how things are going.

Love and Blessings to you.
xo



The past couple weeks...recap

2008-04-21T15:26:04.549-04:00

I've been a bit of a blog slacker these past couple of weeks. My husband was really sick with brinchitis and we spent a lot of time going to see various doctors at walk-in clinics and even ended up in the ER as he reacted really badly to two of the antibiotics he was prescribed. Not fun! Oh yeah - my birthday fell in there somewhere but I spent it taking care of sickie over here. It was relaxing, nonetheless.On Friday (after much encouragement from my therapist) I confronted my psychiatrist with some of the problems I have been experiencing while being a patient of his. I have to tell you, I was so anxious leading up to my appointment. I sat in the waiting room with my notebook writing, "It's okay to be anxious" over and over again. By the time he called me in to see him my anxiety had subsided a lot.So I sat down with him and told him that I wanted to talk to him about something before we started. I told him that on his summary report of my progress that he sent to my LTD insurance company that he stated to them that I am still working part time (the stipulation of them granting me LTD payment was that I could not be working at all; he and I had discused this several times before so imagine my suprise when I received a call from my insurance company) and I told him yet again that I am not working at all. He claims that he thought I was working part time from home.I used this to continue...I told him that it seems to be a pattern every time I see him that he asks me many of the same questions that I've previously answered, and that he doesn't seem to remember things from appointment to appointment, and that it hurts me and makes me think that he doesn't care about me. I told him that I feel like we don't have much of a relationship or rapport, and I feel that I just come in to get my prescription and leave and I need more from him as a medical professional.He told me that he hopes he's not like this with all his patients and he doesn't feel like he has a good grasp on my case because mine is "unique" (in the fact that my "panic attacks" are generally only severe episodes of nausea, and that I had tried many SSRIs prior to seeing him but was at too low of a dosage that I wasn't able to have a proper trial run to see if they really worked or not). He also said that when I come into see him that I look and act like things are going just fine and that I'm not having a lot of trouble with my anxiety. I told him that's probably because I've put up a front for so long because I never wanted people to know what I was dealing with, that I've learned to "act" like that so people wouldn't think that there was anything wrong with me.He also said that he's concerned with how long I've been off work (I've been home for a year now; have been not working at all since January). So I told him that despite this, I feel sometimes when I see him that my back's up against a wall and that I don't want to feel pressured to go back to work (although I have yet to tell him that I might be considering working somewhere else when the time comes to go back into the workforce).Regarding prescribing Zoloft for me (which can cause weight gain) after he knew I had problems with gaining weight on Effexor, he admitted that he had forgotten and that most patients of his who gain weight on meds ask him if it can cause weight gain every time he prescribes something new. Not that it's my fault that I didn't mention something, but I did tell him that I thought it was th[...]



The psychiatry saga continues...

2008-04-10T18:39:29.378-04:00

So I've spoken to my GP as well as the patient relations person at the hospital where I see my psychiatrist and it looks like I'm out of luck for the time being. Apparently the only option I have right now is to speak to my psychiatrist and let him know how I feel. My GP doesn't have that many that she could refer me to because psychiatrists are hard to come by, and the hospital says that there program is so full that it wouldn't be easy to just switch me to someone else. Bummer! So now what? Well, I saw my psychotherapist today she and I worked on how I could approach my psychiatrist to let him know the things that bother me. So I figured that if I can summon the courage to talk to him about at least a few of the things that make me uncomfortable about seeing him, then that might make me feel better and hopefully change things between us. If not, then it will just go back to me not caring and seeing him because I have to because he's the one who prescribes my meds and gives my insurance progress reports.

If any one knows of a good psychiatrist in Toronto who is accepting new patients, please let me know! I will let you know how things go with my current one as I'm scheduled to see him again next Friday, but I'm still keeping my options open if there's someone else I could be seeing who has more understanding and compassion for what I am going through.



Very useful web site...check it out!

2008-03-29T18:18:38.024-04:00

I thought I would share this web site I found...RateMDs.com...where it allows you to rate your doctor(s) and you can also read what other patients have said about them. Doctors are rated in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Australia/New Zealand...you choose where you live and can see ratings for most doctors in all specialties. Doctors are rated on a scale of 1-5 based on punctuality, helpfulness, knowledge, and staff. I think it's a great tool for doing research on prospective doctors before you see them. As I realize it is only the opinions of the people who decide to take the time to rate, it would also have been useful to me had I looked up my psychiatrist on here prior to seeing him. I would have realized a long time ago what kind of medical professional he was. Glad to see I'm not the only one who views his services like this. He is a disgrace to the psychiatric profession, in my opinion.