Sunday, May 31, 2015

Diagnosis: Flashback

I don't remember much about the day my therapist tried to tell me the name of the beast that held me. I don't know what the weather was like or what month it might have been. I don't know what conversations lead up to that moment. I don't recall anything except the residue of shock.

I barely made it every week to my sessions, despite knowing deep inside that it was those sessions that staved off the desperation I felt inside. I just couldn't admit how very much I needed her, needed the slow and steady patience, needed the questions direct and pointed. 

I could agree to the physical presence of entering the mental health ward at the hospital but each week was a fight to be there, mentally checked in and psychologically willing to engage in change.

I was hurting myself so badly and so carelessly that she wondered aloud every single week if I had taken it far enough to consider further action. I knew that phrase meant hospitalization. She wasn't a psychiatrist, however, so that probably saved me more times than I care to admit, even now. Our sessions were extended time and time again. A reminder of just what level of intervention was, in fact, necessary.

What frightens me now, through the clear and unvarnished lens of hindsight, is that she was already so concerned and I wasn't even coming clean with her about how badly I was doing. Each week she'd ask me on a scale of one to ten how badly I had hurt myself and I would tell her it was 7 or 8, knowing as I sat there that I was bleeding, barely capable of walking without visibly wincing, in constant and unyielding self-inflicted pain and that, realistically, I was closer to a 9 or 10. But I couldn't admit to anyone just how badly things had gotten and how sick I really was.

I argued with her at every level. I always had a response, smart alecky retorts that sparred and bantered with her at every turn.

I was a pain in the ass. And my pride prevented me from hearing the truth of my situation. 

And so when she brought up a label, my first reaction was vehement denial. 

Bi-polar? Me? No way. I couldn't have anything on record, not in her notes of the sessions, not in the suggestions to consider the evidence. I had a reputation to maintain, a career to build, children to raise. I wouldn't, couldn't, be seen as anything that would suggest otherwise. On the outside, at least, I needed to keep my shit together. 

I went home and plowed the Internet, desperate to refute every iota of diagnosis. 

I won the right to have it kept off-record. I demanded that my continued attendance at our weekly sessions hinged squarely upon not hearing it spoken of directly ever again. And she acquiesced. 

But we both knew she was right in more ways than she was not right. It wasn't a perfect fit, as labels rarely are, but it was a truth that sat upon me then and sits upon me now. 

I am better than I was 5 years ago. But there are "promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep"


"A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life"


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