The Visit

January 15, 2010
So they sent me to her. They sent me to her thinking she could help. Like by some miracle this lady would make everything better just by listening to me. I had friends and they listened to me and somehow that wasn’t enough. So how would this woman I didn’t even know help?

Mom walked in to the lobby with me. The walls were a sort of faded jade. The lights were soft and dimmed. It would have made the perfect place for a panda because a cornucopia of bamboo plants decorated the room. My grandma would have approved. It was all an attempt to have a calming effect on us supposedly crazy people.
I saw one other patient sitting on the chocolate brown leather couch across from the door through which I had just come. She was as chic as could be. Her hazelnut hair was curled in soft ringlets. She had perfect skin. She was dressed in a high waste pencil skirt with a white ruffled top tucked in. Her shoes looked painful, but stylish. She was reading a magazine. My first glimpse told me she was waiting for someone. How could someone who looked that perfect be going to psychiatrist like I was? Then I looked down at how I was dressed. I had on painful shoes, dark wash designer jeans, an argyle sweater that complimented my skin tone, and a long pendant necklace. My straightened hair fell in front of my face. Hazelnut Ringlets and I were rowing in the same leaky boat.
“Do you want to go in by yourself?” Mom asked.
“I’m sixteen. I think I can handle going in by myself,” I quietly responded.
A nurse came out of the door on the other side of the room next to the chocolate couch. She called out a name and Hazelnut Ringlets put her magazine down on the side table and followed the nurse through the door.
My mom checked me in while I sat on the couch. It couldn’t have been more than five minutes when the nurse came through the door again. This time she called my name. I got up and followed her through the door, in to the hallway, and through another door.
This room was sky blue. There were three chairs set up in a semi circle. Maybe there was a family counseling session before me. She was sitting in a chair across from the semi circle. She looked like a femme fatale from an old film noir movie. She had an icy blonde bob, bright blue eyes, and creamy pale skin. She was in a black skirt suit. She was really pretty. I figured she would have a clipboard and she did. She smiled at me. Her teeth were perfect.
The nurse left and shut the door.
“Please,” said the doctor in a sweet voice, “sit.” She motioned to one of the chairs.
I sat down.
“I would like to start by introducing myself, if you don’t mind,” she said.
“I mind,” I interrupted. I didn’t want her to babble on about her accomplishments. I didn’t care how decorated with achievement awards she was. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
“Alright,” she smiled, completely unfazed, “Let us hear about you then.”
“Well, for starters,” I began, “I hear a voice.”
“A voice?” she asked.
“Yup,” I said lightly, “I hear a loud voice as clear as day.”
“And whose voice is it?” she inquired.

This was a waste of time and I wanted her to know I thought so. “I hear Tarzan’s voice. He is rather tricky to understand because he speaks in monkey language. I understand most of it, but sometimes I need my beanie baby, Bananas, to translate for me.”
Her smile faded away. I wasn’t going to play her little game, I had started my own. The only thing was that she figured I wasn’t serious.
“So what does he tell you?” she asked. She was making an attempt to gain my trust by playing along.
“Oh you know, we chat about the weather and he helps me with my geometry homework. It’s grand old stuff.”
She smiled again. I had no idea why.
“So you’re talking to Tarzan. That must mean you have no friends if you have no one to talk to.”
“I have friends!” I snapped, “And they’re wonderful! The best people I could ever imagine having as friends.”
She got me. She got me to snap and say something real. My opponent had outsmarted me. I had to anticipate her next move.
“If you have such wonderful friends,” she leaned in, “why are you unhappy?”
Check mate. She made me think of all the pain. She made me question why I was unhappy. Tears were welling up in my eyes. Feeling the pain was hard, but much easier than thinking about why I felt it.
She knew better than to say “it’s ok.” I hate it when people lie. She must have guessed that. My vision became blurry as the salt water rose in my eyes. I blinked and a tear trickled down my left cheek.
“Here,” the doctor said, handing me a tissue. I took it and wiped my cheek.

It was silent except for my occasional sniff. I felt pressure to say something. I was still tearing.

“Why are you unhappy?” she asked again, leaning even further in. I wiped my eyes. There was no point resisting anymore. She had seen me cry.

“I don’t know,” I softly cried.

“I don’t know,” I repeated, steadier in voice this time, “I’m blessed.”

“What does that mean?” she asked. She put her clipboard down on the floor by her feet.

“It means I have a wonderful family. My mom and dad love me. They don’t swear, they don’t abuse me, and they love each other more than I have ever seen any two people love each other. A few years ago my dad was gone on a business trip over Valentine’s Day. I was at home with Mom. We heard a knock at the door and it was a quartet of singers who sang to my mom then gave her flowers and chocolate --- all sent from my dad. It’s a blessing in itself to even have parents.”

I paused. I was waiting for her comment. She said nothing.

“We’re not poor. Both of my parents have full time jobs. They make plenty of money. I have nice things, lots of clothes, we go on vacation, and I don’t have to work to save for college. Considering the rest of the world, it is a blessing in itself to just have enough food to eat.”

She put her elbow on her knee and rested her chin on her hand. She was pensive and listening.

“I have friends. I have a great group of friends. I was…”

I stopped. I was embarrassed to go on. But I did after a long exhale.

“That’s why I’m here. I was in the hospital for dangerous actions against myself. Most people would be scared. Most people wouldn’t want to see a crazy person. But they came! They drove an hour away from our home town to see me in that awful place! It is a blessing in itself to have friends!”

I cried harder. I loved my family, lifestyle, and friends so much. I couldn’t even express it to her.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” she asked, unmoving.

“No. That’s like the one thing in life I don’t have. I have excess blessings, but…”

“But you want love,” she finished for me.

I said nothing.

“You give out love. You give out love because something is missing in you.”

I wiped my eyes.

“You have the dream life and you want people to believe you have the dream life so they don’t pity you. “

That sounded right.

“You feel guilty because you feel like you don’t deserve all of you blessings and that makes you depressed. Then you feel guilty for being depressed because you tell yourself logically you have no reason to be upset. On top of everything else, you have low self esteem. Does any of that sound right to you?”

I nodded. It was all I could do. She had stunned me with her wisdom. She was right.

“I’m going to be honest with you. Everybody is unhappy sometimes. But unhappy times make the happy times all the happier. And you need to remind yourself of that and live for the happy times. To the extent that you are upset, you are clinically depressed and need medication. But I believe I can help you. It will take a while, I can’t wave my magic wand and make all of the pain go away, but I will do my best to help you.”

The hour ticked by slowly at first, but her monologue made the time go faster. I considered her words. Her words were supportive. They were honest. So the session was over.

“See you next week,” she said. I was actually looking forward to it. It would be hard. I would have to explore the inner workings of my mind. It would be painful. But she had inspired me to try.

So they sent me to her. They sent me to her thinking she could help. And she did.

Join the Discussion

This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

funkygirl28 said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Great story. Very inspiring!!
ar09 said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm
An astonishing story. Very descriptive and heart touching. The writer wrote a captivating story, I enjoyed it immensely.
hellllo said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm
This was great. A really emotional, powerful, touching story. Thank you so much for sharing this.
gotmeli said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 10:52 pm
This piece was very captivating from the beginning. The honesty of the author was very bold, and I loved it. It leaves me wanting to know more. Very insightful :) and beautiful.
heythere said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm
This was great. I loved it. It is really moving and touching. The reader could really connect with the emotions the main character was feeling. I hope writing this helped you. I'm sure it will help many people who can relate to these feelings! Very well done :-)
lala replied...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm
very well written! I absolutely loved it!!! very inspirational! I hope writing this has helped you in more ways than one, you are a great and loving person and you deserve the best!
mnco said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm
Wow.... thats really powerful, especially since I love you so much. Have you thought about becoming an English Major? you love to write and are good at it so why not make a career out of it? my only suggestion for editing would be to swith out cormucopia with plethora or something like that, i see cornucopia and think thanksgiving. love you and nice work!
a friend said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm
That was absolutely amazing, completely moving. An amazing piece of work, inspiring to me and I know to everybody else that will read this. We are lucky to have you
hola said...
Feb. 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm
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