Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mixed day of sun & clouds, and I'm just referring to my little mood swings all day. (It seems that I am still "peri.") Up in the aerie, past the gloaming, rebooting Firefox files that crashed when I opened HuffPo, the loss of carefully downloaded Bob Schneider/David Gray songs, plus the knowledge that it would take a good half-hour to simply come online again, never mind overnight downloading of songs, caused me to burst into tears. Also, five p.m. is a bad time for the computer to crash on me, because that's when I'm trying to chill and mellow out and listen to myself and slow my heartrate and my racing mind and try to come up with something to write...

I haven't been in the mood to involve myself in TV shows or movies in quite a while, but disc 1 of the second season of "In Treatment" came in Netflix, and I've been watching it, and it prompted unexpectedly strong feelings in me. I've been in therapy, off and on at different points in my life. I have mixed feelings about it, for my experience I mean, what was "ailing" me. But this morning watching an episode I remembered a time in early 2001 when I was miserable at work and feeling stuck & depressed and I thought that maybe talking to someone might help so I made an appointment and went, and as I recall had an intake interview or two with a nice, pleasant, well-meaning young woman (younger than me). Her office was tiny, her chair jammed against a wall, desk in the middle, and me in a chair jammed up against the desk. (I doubt my memory is altogether accurate - the office was possibly a bit larger than that - perhaps there was a chair or two behind me. But I just remember being jammed up against her desk.)

Anyway, what I was really remembering was that I guess this intake junior counselor then (as I'm sure she was required) referred me for an appointment with the chief psychiatrist, I think (as I recall now, nearly 10 years later) to put me on the proper protocol, or whatever. So I made the appointment, and kept it, and met with this chief psychiatrist, an iron woman, woman made of iron, strong, unyielding, hard. And she was very aggressive towards me in her questioning. I don't recall particulars at this point - except that she seemed unusually (from my previous experience) brisk & harsh in her questioning, looking at me skeptically as I answered, signalling with her body language and facial expressions that I was in some sort of denial. I felt confused - I mean, I was just this bummed out, stuck woman who was seeking some counseling for depression/anxiety/torpor, or what have you - pretty garden variety, if existential (thus bespeaking perhaps a certain class?)

Anyway, to make a long story short - it seems that the junior intake counselor had somehow checked the wrong box on a form, whereby the chief psychiatrist the entire time thought I had been referred there by a court! By which I mean, the legal system. That I was in some sort of legal trouble, and was there because I was required to be - by a Judge. Somehow, I figured out during the awkward & unpleasant interview that the chief psychiatrist was somehow under a misapprehension and I said to her - wait - I'm here voluntarily, I sought counseling because I feel depressed - and she shot me the hardest skeptical look of "yeah, denial, heard that before" - she didn't believe me whatsoever.

Anyway, I never went back, and in fact have never sought therapy since. The clinic realized the snafu, the glitch - and tried calling me back - seriously, like 87 times (as mentioned in the "In Treatment" episode) but I never responded, never went back, decided to deal on my own again. Not long afterward 9/11 happened, and whatever my mood problems were, the entire city was in a psychic wreck, I certainly wasn't going to seek counseling again.

Anyway, it was just a very strange occurrence. But I did wonder about that chief psychiatrist, and I felt a lack of respect towards her, that she couldn't seem to see me, read me as a person in her own right, form her own judgment, acknowledge that there might be a (crucial) error in the intake form. But also - let's say I had been referred to the clinic by a court - what's with the mean, harsh, hardline questioning - is that really a help? I don't know. Forms of justice. I thought I had done a credible job presenting as a depressed middle-aged woman - which I was!!!


Anyway - not bummed anymore, not in that way anyway. I've long since (in the intervening years) figured out that my problem was just not fitting into what's expected of me - trying to be righthanded when I'm naturally lefthanded, metaphorically speaking. Ah, whatever.

I went through my paces at the park thinking about that episode, and spent a lot of the rest of the day cooking & cleaning. I made shrimp shu-mai again, from a recent Times recipe, and am quite impressed that I was able to pull it off, the mysteries of Asian dumplings - made plain. Afterward I thoroughly vacuumed & dusted the entire upstairs, and cleaned the bathroom.

All day long I thought about a beautiful poem my friend in Finland sent to me that he wrote - I really loved it. The little connection he & I have forged means a lot to me. So strange though, in a way - if I were to make a list of people who I care about these days - mostly virtual, in relation to me - what might a "chief psychiatrist" make of that? (I have no fear of the kind opinion of one, however) -

And I've had thoughts about Emily Dickinson, on this evening before - 180 years ago tonight - the day that baby Emily was born.

Water is gurgling in the pipes now, and I'm glad to be here, up in the aerie - a very clean, now, aerie - and and and

Launching without proofing, or otherwise going back, I'm afraid. Take it in the spirit (I hope) of Oscar Wilde's dictum "the best picture of a fuzzy picture - is a fuzzy picture."

Yours, Warmly,

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