Giant wall of text incoming. TLDR: encounter with a very calvinist psychologist who was supposed to prep me for aesthetic jaw surgery.
UPDATE as of 29-08-2020;
I have a very wide lower jaw, prominent cheekbones projecting sideways, a somewhat prominent brow bone (for a woman), a weak chin and "connect neck" (where your neckline from chin to torso in profile doesn't go horizontal before going down, but goes down at a slope from the chin).
I'm 36 now and learned that there were options for me when it came to aesthetic surgery when I was around 24.
I'm not a person who jumps into a decision though. I always want to think things through and explore all of my options.
I'm also not obsessed with my looks or what I think I lack in the looks department so that's one of the reasons it's been so many years and I still haven't gone under the knife.
So you could say I'm dissatisfied with my looks but also not obsessed. I have a healthy amount of self esteem and feel fine in my skin right now.
What happened before;
Plastic surgery consult in 2011
I asked my GP for a referral so I could have an appointment with a plastic surgeon working at a hospital to talk about my options.
That was in 2011 and it went horribly. The PS seemed to take issue simply with the fact that I was dissatisfied about my looks.
The problem with doctors in the Netherlands is that they often have calvinist norms and values, which makes the whole aesthetic branch of the medical field a minefield to explore as a potential client.
This PS lied to me about my options and was hugely patronizing. He told me something along the lines of "what you want doesn't exist" and "you look like a healthy dutch gal, you just have poor self esteem" two off which I know not to be true.
What I wanted definitely does exist (it's called jaw contouring or V-line surgery), I'm no beauty and him saying I look like a healthy dutch gal translates to English as "you look like a farmers daughter, sturdy with a homely face" and I also didn't have poor self esteem.
Not even back then. It's true that my self esteem used to be lower in the past than it is now but it's never been low.
I took my coach with me to that appointment and he thought the PS was a huge asshole. It was definitely not just my perception.
When we went to leave his office he let me out of the door and told me to consider him if I ever wanted a boob job. I was speechless, so was my coach.
We didn't say a word to each other until we got into the car and my coach asked me "did he really just say that?".
To add insult to injury the PS reported back to my GP with a letter saying "no-one should treat this patient with surgery, she has poor self esteem and such patients aren't good patient because they're never satisfied".
Years went by and I had other priorities and this consult scared me off.
I had a problematic wisdom tooth that had to be taken out in 2019. Scans were made and a bone anomaly was discovered in my lower jaw.
They did a biopsy in summer of 2019 on my chin and it took until somewhere in June of 2020 for them to tell me the diagnosis.
It's called a fibro osseous bone anomaly. It's where connective tissue displaces bone tissue.
As a result I have a wide lower jaw and it's also slightly a-symmetrical. Their suggestion was to have me come back for a scan every year to see if it grows or not.
I was also worried about if this could be a reason why I couldn't have any aesthetic surgery done and addressed this with my jaw surgeon.
He was very positive, not patronizing at all, and suggested I get a referral from my GP so him and I could talk about it.
I get my referral and when I want to make an appointment with the jaw surgeon I find out he's been transferred to another hospital so I get an appointment with another jaw surgeon.
The appointment with this man went well. He was not patronizing and didn't lie to me.
I told him about my encounter with a PS in 2011 and how that went. He asked me if I would feel better if I spoke to a clinical psychologist to prepare me for surgery. He said that he thought I didn't need it, but if it made me feel better then it could be arranged.
I wanted that psychologist appointment to prepare me for surgery, maybe they could tell me things I hadn't considered before, but I also wanted to because I wanted prove I'd be a good candidate.
August 21st 2020;
I had no idea what to expect of this appointment with this psychologist but I expected something better than what happened.
The psychologist is a middle aged woman, she's friendly.
The conversation went in a friendly way. But it turns out that her idea of what should happen in this conversation was to go through a checklist of reasons why I shouldn't be getting any PS.
As if she's going through this list looking/hunting for reasons why I shouldn't.
She asks if I had been bullied about my appearance, I say "I've been teased about having glasses, that was in the 80's, but I've never been bullied for my appearance".
She asks if I had had psychological treatment for my "looks issues". I say no because it's never been a huge issue for me.
She asks "how would you rate your suffering from your looks on a scale of one to ten, 10 being you suffer so much from what you look like it completely messes up your life" and I say "a 3 out of 10 because my looks don't hinder me much, they haven't hindered my ability to have friends, a relationship or a job".
This is where she does not understand.
She says "if it's only a three, then you shouldn't be considering surgery at all. The risks outweigh the benefits".
This is where I feel like I have to defend my case.
In hindsight what I should also have said was that I thought my looks were important.
I also got the impression that she was taking it a little bit personal that I was dissatisfied with my looks.
I also took care not to speak in a negative way about my looks. Basically tip toeing, walking on eggs around the subject, using neutral non-judgmental language.
I was also at this point disappointed in her. I expected a psychologist to grasp deeper more nuanced concepts. So I decided to kind of lead her by the hand through my thought process.
I said "some people think that you can't have healthy self esteem and want to explore your options about changing your looks at the same time. I think you can, how do you think about this?". She answers that she agrees with me.
I said "so then when you have a high suffering score people would say you shouldn't get PS but go to therapy instead since the problem is in your head, but also if you give a low suffering score some people would say you're not suffering enough so you shouldn't get PS. Do you understand what I mean? " and she says that it's a good point and she understands what I'm trying to say.
I asked "would PS be more justified if I had given my suffering a 7 out of 10 instead?" she says "no, but I don't think the rate of suffering is directly linked to how justified it would be to get PS". This is where I get the impression that she thinks no reason is a good reason to get PS (if you're not hugely deformed).
In hindsight I should have asked what would be a good reason to get PS.
She says she doesn't understand how I would rate my suffering a 3/10 and still consider PS options.
I try to explain but nothing seems to be clicking for her, and she also doesn't ask any follow up questions to make it make sense for her.
She asked me what I wanted done/what I was dissatisfied with, and why I wanted it done.
I answer that I want to look more feminine because I look less feminine than I know myself to be as a person, and that mismatch is something I am dissatisfied with. Also, I'm into historical, vintage and alternative fashion and what my face looks like limits my options when it comes to in which way I can express myself within those aesthetics.
What I mean by this is that if you're looking for the most flattering look when it comes to hairstyles and stuff like glasses, then having a face that is very far away from the goal aesthetic severely limits your options.
If you have a square jaw like I do, then you don't have many options when it comes to glasses and hair styles, and those options you do have often don't fit in with the aesthetic you're going for.
The face I have in mind would fit most and maybe even all my goal aesthetics. The oval face is considered ideal for all my goal aesthetics. And it is ideal because of its proportions, not because it's the ideal of whatever decade we're in. (I'm not saying other face shapes are less beautiful, just that oval would be ideal for what I'm looking for).
She seems to be taking it personally when I talk about myself not looking feminine enough for my own tastes.
She also says "I don't think wanting to change your face so you have more options when it comes to hairstyles and glasses is a good enough reason".
At this point I think I'm getting it. She thinks caring about what you look like is not a good reason to get PS.
As I'm on my way home I replay the conversation in my head. If caring about your looks isn't a good enough reason, then no reason is good enough since people (without deformities) get PS in the hope that they will look better according to their own opinion and goal.
This is apparently a sin in the minds of many who live in my country. This psychologist I've spoken to appears to have been another calvinist.
Maybe crab bucket theory applies here too.
This psychologist has the power to send a letter of "negative treatment advice" which basically says that I should be barred from getting PS because of x reasons.
I'm disappointed in her ability to grasp nuanced concepts, in her ability to put herself in someone else's shoes, in the fact that I had to tip toe around her and she still ended up taking this too personally despite my efforts, I'm disappointed that she lets her personal beliefs (aka calvinistic beliefs) bleed into her professional opinion, I'm disappointed she didn't make the effort to try and understand my thought process after she had said she didn't get it (she didn't ask any questions after that to make it click for her) and I'm disappointed that she went into this hugely prejudiced against PS from the start. I don't think a person like that should be judging who gets to have PS. I'm also disappointed that this appointment was only about going through this checklist to disqualify me.
I don't know if she will send that letter of negative treatment advice. She will send a letter and I don't know what's in it.
I have an appointment with the jaw surgeon coming Thursday. I guess I will find out then.