I haven't been writing as much as I'd like, but I've been working toward one of my 101 in 1001 goals--one crucial to healing, really in all areas of my life. I've found a psychiatrist; seen him 3 times in 10 days, and am hopeful about this new connection.
I've been extremely fortunate. In Canada, psychiatrists are hard to come by; people wait for months. In order to see my first one 8 years ago, I finally had to take the drastic step of going to the hospital. The second, the wonderful man who spent 7 years finding the best medications he could for my perplexing array of symptoms and whom I still plan to see when necessary, worked in the health clinic at my university. But he never really had time to talk, and therapy is what I'm lacking in my treatment.
Unfortunately, therapy costs money, but not psychiatrists. They're doctors, which means the government foots the bill. For that, and for the fact that family connections enabled me to have my first meeting with Dr. Goodheart so quickly, I will be forever grateful.
I'd actually seen him once when I was 16 or 17, but my parents weren't ready the way they are now. I felt immediately safe in his office, curled up in one of the "nest" chairs I hope to buy someday when I have money and the space to keep one. The room is wall-to-wall windows, with skylights and a ceiling jutting up in odd angles to a peek. The walls are painted in brilliant colors--one for each: turquoise, red, green and yellow--joyful and eccentric, they remind me of a seaside vacation.
At my first session, I spoke about my attempts to find help, mentioning that the latest counselor I'd seen--the one who actually helped me--believed I had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I felt foolish just saying it aloud. How could an almost 33-year-old girl, who'd never been to war and never been raped, have developed this disorder? And even more importantly, how could I have survived as long as I had if I were really so debilitated? Why wasn't I pregnant and on drugs at 16, a prostitute, living on the street? How did I graduate from university; attain some appearance of adulthood?
Dr. Goodheart surprised me by asking to see me for a longer session in just 4 days. Was he actually taking me seriously?
I reached, but timidly. The PTSD thing--does it seem...weird? Do you think I really...?
He shook his head yes, emphatically, and I almost cried. A doctor who listened. A doctor who lived a 45-minute drive away--halfway between my own house and Mary's--who wanted to see me again, not in a month, but in days. And most importantly, an official diagnosis, from an actual doctor, of PTSD--a sign that whatever is wrong with me really IS as serious as it feels to me.
The treatment? Reading, living, and talking to him about both. He tells me that essentially, I have to re-parent myself. Perhaps I wasn't all that far off when I began this blog, when I chose its title.
And so Growing Up Jenny begins--this time, with expert guidance.