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5 things to know about psychiatric evaluations

1. They can be LONG! That means there's a lot of questions that will be asked..and that means you might have to go to the bathroom or get hungry. You might want to bring a snack with you. Have some coffee, tea, or water. Please feel free to eat during your evaluation - it's not rude. Also, tell us if you have to go to the bathroom. I guess I never really realized that until I was pregnant and had to excuse myself during evaluations. It felt awkward at first being like "I'M SO SORRY I PROMISE I'M LISTENING BUT I HAVE TO PEE" but your bladder will thank you.

2. You aren't obligated to make a decision at the end of it. If you are offered medication, you may feel pressured to just take the prescription. You can say "okay I'm going to do some research and come back with questions" and that is totally okay. We don't expect you to automatically say okay. Don't feel obligated.

3. You can skip questions (most of them). If we ask you about trauma and you don't want to talk about it, just say pass. You are in control of this evaluation. The only exception is if we ask about suicide or homicide. Yeah, you really need to answer those... asking "you feeling like committing any murders?" and having you be like "no comment pass" doesn't sit well for us..or society..soo...if it has to do with danger to self or others, it becomes a little more important. (but just know you're allowed to have thoughts as long as they don't turn into actions).

4. We want to know you as a person. Really.

5. Nothing is TMI or awkward. We've heard everything. Everything. We also all have a nursing background. That means we have all wiped people butts after they had explosive diarrhea, inserted tubes into urethras and cleaned up blood. We have all cared for people at their most vulnerable. We have also heard everything you can probably imagine about trauma..or even your sex life! If you're having sexual side effects or feeling nervous about telling us anything because it feels embarrassing..don't!!! It's no big deal to us.

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