Recently, I wrote that I was going to see a psychiatrist. I did. He was a gracious and kind man. I have seen a couple of shrinks before, many years ago. They devastated my life with their arrogance and disrespect for the lives they affected. Neither truly listened, and the last one fired me as a patient because I made him feel ‘sad’ because no pill he could find would right me.
As reluctant as I was to see this new doctor, I was quick to realize that he had the heart of a shaman. He seemed to hold certain things in high esteem, and recognized how important the correct application of his knowledge was. I think that he has an intrinsic understanding of human nature that would follow him in life, with, or without, the exchange of money. In my view, I have finally found someone who is knowledgeable by measure of heart and head, expresses a subdued ego, and that may actually help me out of the situation I’m in.
I was in a full on panic upon my arrival at the doctor’s office. Fortunately, I was alone in the waiting room. As I looked around, I saw a beautiful collection of art. It was eclectic, to say the least. The focal point of the collection was a post modern interpretation of American Gothic. I enjoyed it, but the eyes were quite disturbing. In any case, it pulled my mind away from the panic I felt, and I settled down after a while. When it was time to go back, another wave of panic hit that was much worse than the first. For a moment, I thought I’d die right then and there. Ridiculous, I know. But that’s the nature of panic.
The doctor spent the next hour asking questions that I had no answer for. As I explained my life to him, he sprinkled his insights here and there. Slowly, I began to understand that, perhaps, my life was not particularly normal. Most children aren’t abandoned by their parents. Most aren’t beaten on a daily basis by someone more suited to be a porn star than a grandmother. And, I’m fairly sure that most kids have never had cover in a bar fight, or when shots were exchanged between people who couldn’t agree. Sadly, there are many, many, children who suffer much worse than I. That’s the world we live in.
Drunks. Violent and unpredictable, like wild animals, really. When you’re a child, you become used to the life you have and you adapt to it. I think that’s where my fascination with controlled violence comes from. Even my sexuality has been influenced by that obsessive need to understand the most subtle nature of violence. Violence teaches the violent a language, all their own. If you really take time to watch explosive situations unfold, you can almost predict the actions that are to follow, and in what form and to what degree those actions will manifest. It’s like ballet performed by the beastly man, unafraid and unrepentant, as he unleashes his power. Or, maybe it’s simply a horrible thing that I’ve rationalized into a field of study, for all intents and purposes, in order to be able to box it up and put it in a place where I feel okay with it. Potato/potahhhto, as it were.
Doc went on to ask about my marriage and adult life. It has been a second act of my childhood, though in a few different ways. Again, I didn’t realize there is a pathology to that which correlates to childhood experience. I do now. And, still, I find it hard to accept.
As I left, the doctor handed me a note. Perhaps it was in answer to my staunch denial that anything was truly wrong and that I simply needed a bit of help through the panic, so that I can live my life. At the top of the page, he had written in big, bold, underlined letters: YOU HAVE… Below, were a list of diagnoses. I thanked him, and left the office. When I got into my car, I opened the folded page and read its full contents. I still couldn’t understand, or see myself, as the type of person who’d allow things to get so bad in her life that these labels were fitting, even though the criteria for each described me to a T.
It’s been ten days since my visit with the good doctor. Every day, I’ve looked at that note and tried to feel something that connected me to those words. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that my lack of connection is what makes them true of me. I go see the doctor, again, this Friday. I don’t know what will come of the visit. I explained to him that I would not take a bunch of psych drugs, as I’ve managed pretty well without them, and those I’d taken before had no other effect than to ruin what was left of who I used to be. He assured me that he’d find a way to make things better without a bag full of pills. I’m choosing to trust him, for now, although I remain skeptical of people in his field, in spite of him seeming to be an exception.
Maybe, one day, I’ll have the courage to share the contents of the note. Today, I’m not that brave. Those labels carry weight and, in the past, I’ve found that friends and associates find that weight too much to bear, even though you are the same person they always knew. I benefit from the blogs here that are written by those who are brave enough to share their lives that way. I admire them. People who are label-free really don’t understand what it’s like. Words. They can give life…they can take it.