Nov. 2, 2022

Bagel Bites: Advocating for Yourself

Bagel Bites: Advocating for Yourself

How often do you speak up for yourself? Does it come naturally to you? Have you ever found yourself in an uncomfortable situation, and you need to speak up or speak out but just couldn't find the words?

In this BB, Bagel gets vulnerable and shares a personal story of a recent challenge in with a mental health professional, how he acknowledged his feelings of discomfort, and decided to take a stand. From the experience came a lot of learning, most importantly, that it's ok to ask for some time to process when you're feeling unsure or uncomfortable.

Recognizing the discomfort is just the beginning...

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[00:00:00] Bagel: All right guys, so I'm a, I'm gonna be real with you here. This episode is a little personal and it's about mental health, at least the premise of the story is. And I think it's important because even today in 2022, a lot of times mental health conversations are still taboo and overlooked and not really addressed fully.

And I will be honest, I hesitated to share this episode because I recorded it shortly after sort of a, a difficult or challenging experience that I had recently. But I waited a few days and really thought through what I wanted to say and decided to put it into audio form to share it with you all. So, Just wanted to give you a little heads up.

This may or may not be for you, but if it is, I hope you get something out of it. And I think there's still a lesson here that can be applied to anything around self confidence and prioritizing your own health. And. That could be physically, it could be emotionally, it could be mentally, whatever the case may be.

[00:01:16] Bagel: So enjoy this bagel bite and looking forward to hearing if you have any stories to share yourself or any feedback. Thanks. Let's start with a sip of coffee. 

it is very delicious and I will take another sip and try to savor this Friday of recording.

[00:01:39] Bagel: So in this Bagel Bite, I think I want to talk a little bit about advocating for yourself. So earlier in the week, last week, I had an experience with a new mental health professional. And I'm not going to go into all the details, but essentially I did not have a very positive experience. And, from there being very little communication. When I walked into the door of this facility to the doctor being almost 20 minutes late with like no apology, essentially, filling out yet more paperwork.

When I had already filled out like eight pages before I even signed up to be a new patient. And having a really long appointment, went way longer than expected, which I know does happen. So that on its own, isn't such the kicker. When it came time for a diagnosis and prescribing medication for some of what I've been experiencing lately, that part was incredibly rushed. And so much so that I actually did in the moment, stop and ask the doctor, "Hey, this kind of a lot of information to take in. Would it be possible that I could, you know, take some of this info, digest it at home a bit, do a little of my own research. Not that I want to make my own decision here, but I would like to at least understand what these options are. And then maybe I can come back for a followup session and we can kind of talk through it together. And decide what's the best course of action to take for me."

And his response to that is really what made the trust level go from maybe a five out of 10 to a pretty much zero. And that response was, "Well, you know how this typically works is, you share with me what's going on. And I basically put together my assessment and I give my recommendations, and my diagnosis. And it's sort of up to you to agree."

And in my head. I was like, nuh-uh, that ain't how this works. I mean, sure. You can give your recommendations. That's absolutely why I sought medical professional help. But I don't just agree to what you tell me. I'm the patient, I'm the one being treated. I'm the one that needs help.

And I'm the only one, apparently that can advocate for myself in this situation. So I was left feeling, after that moment, especially feeling like this person is not ultimately trying to help me. And I felt pretty uncomfortable about it. I decided of course, to kind of finish out the appointment, went home, just kind of ran through it a little bit in my head a few times, probably maybe a few times too many.

Talked with my girlfriend about it, talked to some people about it. The next day I tried to call and ask for a written summary of what we had talked about. Especially the various options for medication that he mentioned. He did end up prescribing one that I went and picked up, but I was interested to know especially why that one. And can I learn about the others and understand the different benefits and side effects and all the things like a responsible patient would do. And this, again, just kind of shows the chaos of this facility. I don't want to put this all on just that doctor, but you know, the facility basically said, "yeah, the doctor tried to call you and you know, we can give you a verbal summary over the phone, but if you want a written writeup, that's going to cost $30."

[00:05:10] Bagel: And at that point I was just like super frustrated. I was already frustrated, but I was like look. I understand that this does take a little bit of extra work to do as a written summary or whatever the case may be. But you have to understand this doctor rushed through, in a two hour appointment, he rushed through in 10 minutes, my diagnosis. Which, by the way, I had one completely new diagnosis that I had not had before. And so that was a lot to take in. And then going through eight to ten different medications, trying to describe to me how they all worked. And at that point, I mean, my brain was fried.

Understandably so. And so I wanted a write up that explained all of this so that I could understand it better and do my own research. And he had the nerve to charge $30 to do that. And I asked and I said, is this an office wide policy, or is this a policy specifically for this doctor?

And without saying it directly, it was very obvious that it was this doctor's policy to do that. Even more so, degrading the trust in the relationship again. And I'm not trying to penny pinch here, but all in all, if I were providing care to a patient and it was clear that I rushed through the diagnosis and the medication options. If I ultimately truly wanted to help this patient, am I going to charge them $30 for them to have the right information at the end of the day, to make the best decision for themselves?

Absolutely not. So anyway, all of this left me feeling just like "wow, that was terrible." Essentially I've tried to call the office several times. I've actually asked for a transfer to another doctor that was recommended to me in that facility. And the long story short is that they've said no, the new provider will not agree to see me because the old doctor that I did see initially will not release me without talking to him first.

And I refuse to talk to this guy at this point. And I know probably some of you are thinking out there, "dude, just lighten up, like let go of the pride for a minute. Just if that's the way to solve the problem. Just why don't you just talk to them and move on?" No, what is life without principles? I won't, I won't do it.

And I'm not saying that that's right. And I'm not saying that others should follow that advice, but I won't. Because I don't feel like I was treated fairly and I don't feel like I owe this guy anything. And quite frankly, I'm worried what he's going to try to bill my insurance, which hopefully they'll take, they said they would at this point, but who knows with that stuff.

Right. So I don't want to give him any more reason to bill me for anything else, because I didn't trust them. And I am this at this point, I am seeking out a new provider. So this is a little bit of vulnerable, actually like pretty, sensitive information. And. I'm willing to share it because I think it's super important for people to feel like they can advocate for themselves.

And it could've been really easy for me in the moment during that conversation to just nod and agree. And at any point in the process and I sort of did it in the appointment, but even afterwards of just going along with what this guy said and his diagnosis and all, everything, the medication.

But I know that I wasn't satisfied and that's all I need to know to make a different decision to advocate for myself. And I just want to share that so that you can think about areas in your life. It doesn't have to be medically, right. It could be other areas of your life. It could be work.

It could be at home with your family. It could be personal relationships that you have with friends where you feel like you know you're uncomfortable about something. Yet you're struggling to figure out how to stand up for yourself. I know it's simple, but just own it. Say, you know what?

This is making me a little uncomfortable or, you know, I really could use a little time to digest this or to process this. Would it be okay if I got back to you? And if the person says no, or ridicules you or, anything like that, then maybe that that's not the right relationship to have, or dynamic to have. Not saying like that you shouldn't have a connection or relationship with that person, but maybe that interaction is not healthy for you.

And maybe it's time to reconsider and to either move aside or make a different decision. But if they are receptive to that, then that means hopefully that they care and they care about how you're feeling and they care about what's going on with you. And they want the best for you as well. So advocate for yourself is the moral of this Bagel Bite.

And I hope that that resonates. I know it's easier said than done. I know sometimes we're exhausted and we don't have the energy to do it, but if we can at least stop in the moment. Kind of going back to some awareness principles and meditation and stuff like that, that I've been trying to do more of.

If we can just in the moment instead of reacting, to stop and think, "hold on, am I comfortable with this?" And if he answers I'm not sure or no, or anywhere in between there then own it. Say it out loud, let the person know who you're confronting about it. Or maybe who's the one that's maybe pushing something on you or negotiating with you.

Just let them know how you're feeling about it. And ask for what you need in that moment. You don't have to know what you need the next moment or the next day, or the next week. But just ask for what you need in that moment. It's super important. It's the first step you can take to advocating for yourself. And I hope that this helps you and supports you in doing that.

So, this has been today's Bagel Bite. If you have an experience that you'd like to share around advocating for yourself or for others, which I'm sure we will talk about more in length in another episode, please comment on social. Please reach out to us at Or you can leave us a voicemail at our website live your C O leave us a voicemail. And maybe we'll play it on a future episode if you give us permission to do that, that would be great to hear some others' experiences or even some challenges around this. And we can explore that as well.

So thanks a lot for listening. We'll see. On the next one, take care. 

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