– Get yourself here, as soon as you can!
9 am! what an unholy hour for a phone call! – I thought.
That’s how my day started. I was glad that the day before that I had bought this pretty top that fits me for a change, so I quickly went to get ready, took a taxi and arrived into the building I spent 5 years in. My university.
“This is a difficult place to be in, I told myself. It’s understandable to be anxious”, I thought as I went upstairs. I was glad I didn’t know the reason for the meeting. The anxiety would have been worse. I was led into the Dean’s office, where two men sat around a table. One of them was the Dean of the medical school himself, the one who made the unholy phone call. The other one was unknown, but he seemed to be there for ME.
I was made to sit and introduced to the stranger. A psychologist. I didn’t know if he was there to ‘treat me’ or to interview me. Both things, perhaps. To see how capable I am to get a job in mental health, but at the same time, to see how sick I am to justify all the help they’ve been offering me. The Dean left me with him. Everything had happened so fast that thankfully I was loaded with adrenaline, and surprisingly, my voice flowed with no stuttering and I was using a lot of body language, without shaking a lot.
I didn’t like the psychologist. He stared at me with a weird look, not saying much, but oozing disapproval. Something about him was familiar, though. And I didn’t like that either. I wondered if I had ever seen him. I felt completely fake as my body and mind contributed to make me look sane, almost normal. I talked about how I had been really sick before.
“Now I’m trying to put my life back together, and I’ve had a lot of time to make decisions” – I said.
I also said: “I want to be a psychiatrist”.
That felt a lot less fake.
He asked me again about my history with depression. I always find that hard. I never know where to start, or how to describe my symptoms without sounding like i’m just reading someone’s medical chart. I try to use “normal” words but I also fail at it. I forget important details a lot too. I even forgot the name of the meds I’m taking. I say “I had panic attacks” like it was just a sentence. I fail to convey the extent of it.
My dislike for him didn’t improve when he began to talk. He mentioned cognitive therapy and how I have to use my rational mind to stop my self-destructive habits. He said I have to “make a decision” to get better. He asked me “Do you really want to get better?” and I wanted to punch him. Seriously?
He told me I needed to begin working immediately and stop vegetating at home. “You’ll never get better by following the path of least resistance”, he said.
Also, something that irked me immensely was “Everyone gets depressed during life but we push through. You need to start doing the same“.
What made me the most angry, is that I didn’t say anything. I nodded along. I knew saying something would take us nowhere. I just want it to be done with. I do that a lot.
Then I got the bad news. It’s not a one time thing. He’ll be seeing me twice a week to do CBT on me. I can’t say no. I would lose my chance. This is all free of charge, too. And I’m poor. However, I dread it. I feel that he’s going to discover my disagreements, and call me a “difficult patient” and tell me that I don’t actually want to get better. Because that’s what happens when you’re still sick after all the butt kicking.
But at least that was the end of it for today.
Another thing that makes me glad is the possibility of going back to school.
Can I do it?