Friday, September 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Couple disagrees over trusting doctors

Q: Since I had to go off a medication a couple of months ago, I am now suffering from depression. My wife doesn't want me to go to the doctor. She wants me to see a naturalist instead.

I try explaining this is a brain-chemistry issue and I trust my doctor to try to fix it. I do not trust a naturalist to help me.

The first medication the doc gave me is giving me bad side effects, but I can't tell my wife because she is going to go off on how I shouldn't trust my doctors. So I feel like I have to suffer alone. My doctor has been treating me successfully — until the issue four months ago — for four years.

How can I go about explaining that I want to give it time without being attacked by my wife?

Anonymous

A: Her attacking you is totally inappropriate, to the extent that I urge you to add solo therapy to your treatment plan for your depression.

Think of it this way: You trust mainstream medicine, and distrust naturopathic (yes?) medicine. She trusts naturopathic medicine and distrusts mainstream medicine.

Straight up, your trusts and distrusts have equal weight because it's your prerogative to decide how to care for yourselves.

But they stop being of equal weight the moment one of you seeks care: When she is sick, her preference takes priority and you step back. When you're sick, your preference takes priority and she steps back. This is the only appropriate allocation of choices between two people of sound minds who disagree so completely on proper health care.

Which is why urging you to seek legal advice, now, on a medical power of attorney — like, now — so that if you're ever incapacitated, your wife won't be the one dictating your treatment.

For your depression treatment, keep following the course you believe is appropriate for you; add a therapist to your treatment team — not just to help you explore the unhealthy dynamic with your wife, but so you don't "have to suffer alone"; and tap the expertise of both this therapist on handling your disagreement.

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