Any potential suspense attached to how I got on at the loony bin Psychiatrist this morning has largely been dispelled by the very existence of this post. For it’s pretty obvious that, unless I’m typing this with my nose (and God knows I wouldn’t be any slower), I am not presently in a straitjacket.
The whole experience was, well, an experience, and oddly very enjoyable.
My preparation began subconsciously last night when, while left in the house for a while on my own, I ended up watching an episode of Monk. It was only while he was sitting with his shrink that I realised that this probably wasn’t the best thing to be watching (and also realised, sadly, that he’s one of the TV characters I most identify with). Anyway, this morning I got up (got an extra 90 minutes lie-in too) and set off for a morning of detailed analysis.
By me. Everything that happened was carefully examined to see what clues, if any, could be gleaned. What should I wear? (“Will I try and look casual, professional, frazzled”)? My appointment was in Stillorgan at 8.30, & I’d to get there by car. Since my normal trip is to the city centre at 7, and I get there by train, I’d no idea what the traffic might be like. Imagine if I got there late (“what would that tell him about me?”). To be safe I left at 7.30, and was there at ten to eight (“how anal will he think that is?”).
I went onto the building (known as the Stress Clinic), explained to the large black Security Guard who I was to see, and he escorted me (“why? because I’m dangerous?”) to a seat outside the doctor’s door. Here I suffered the only really uncomfortable experience of the whole morning – there was a girl already in with him, a girl with one of those, “like, you know, D4” accents, and I could hear what she was saying. I thought of listening to my iPod (“what if he catches me? Will he think I’m withdrawing from reality?”) but decided instead to look at the magazines. These consisted of: 3 Hello!s, one OK!, one Look!, one Bazaar (“why doesn’t Bazaar have an exclamation mark? Is their Editor depressed?”), and a copy of the Irish Medical Journal. This told me that either (a) there are far more mad women than mad men or that (b) his secretary buys his magazines.
I flicked through a couple of these (Jennifer Aniston has a new boyfriend – who knew?) and eventually the girl came out. I met my doctor, handed over 250 euro (told you I was mad) and I was welcomed for the first time into a Psychiatrist’s room.
He sat in a chair, and I was directed to a comfy 2-seater sofa (not a couch, which I must admit, being a huge fan of stereotype, that I was slightly disappointed with). There was a five-cent coin on the seat, which had obviously fallen out the the pocket of my predecessor (“or had it? What will it tell him if I pick it up?” By now I was ridiculously paranoid). I left it there – sat on it, in fact – and in a quiet and reassuring voice he asked me to tell my story.
Which I did. He impressed me several times at his perception (when I told him about my blackout/pacemaker/heart problems, he said “ah, did they tell you it was Stokes-Adams Syndrome?”, and when I said no, they never mentioned that, he Google’d it and there it was exactly as if someone had followed me around for eighteen months).
He says I don’t have depersonalisation, I have “derealisation” (and again, Google backs him up), and has started me on tablets to try & calm inner anxieties & to combat the ridiculously small amount of sleep I get each night.
I’ve to see him again in six weeks, but I really am hopeful that he’s putting me on the right track.