[personal profile] lhexa

I saw the first psychiatrist several days ago, and rejected him almost immediately as one who pays more attention to imagined symptoms than to the person in front of him. He started by attempting small talk with me. I would have little of it. I then made some mistakes that I will not make again. I was asked whether I experienced ups and downs.

What? How do I answer that question? No, I am never happy or sad. Yes, I am bipolar. I hedged. I said I wouldn't describe my moods as such. I said there are times when I am interested in what goes on around me, and times when I am not. Times when I feel motivated, and times when I don't. Times when I feel like I understand other people, and times when I don't. As I said, I made mistakes.

I was asked whether I have brilliant ideas. No, I'm quite dull. Yes, I'm brilliant. I said yes, well they feel brilliant, they recently deal with how I'll cope with my future. I didn't get far enough to say that they involved cooperating, accepting help, and learning to listen to people. I now believe that "brilliant", along with "special" and "blissful", are cuss words in a psychiatric office.

The fellow spent awhile out of the office. I easily remained calm. I had met more intimidating doctors. I had met them in groups, in fact. My mother was called in, and I was subsequently excluded from the conversation while the psychiatrist bullied his helpless audience. The two-year depression that I told him about, how did it come about? the doctor asked. He had never asked me that question. He said that schizophrenia shows up between 20 and 24 years of age in males, and my depression was its prodrome. I, for one, doubt the reasons are even mostly physiological. I am more inclined to think of self-sustaining sociological processes of isolation and alienation that end in a complete break with the social order, when I make attempts at explaining myself. My mother was asked, "Do you like seeing this lost and confused look on your son's face?" She said later that it was my usual look. Even if schizophrenia is in my future, its diagnosis won't be in the hands of a psychiatrist who possesses no idea of compromise.

I will remain honest. I don't want yet another secret to keep. And perhaps honesty will confound every counselor and psychiatrist I see, while calmness will be interpreted as emotional withdrawal. I can already anticipate my isolation being wrongly seen as a recent development. But it's not safe to be open. It takes courage. It destroys social bonds and is not sufficient for creating new ones. People are so far from expecting or liking openness that etiquette speaks against confession. Still, I believe the alternative to be worse. The alternative is having secret upon secret pile on each other until all one's relationships are defined by what information is kept away from whom. I hope others will, unlike me, have the presence of mind not to scramble desperately to maintain their friendships after the bout of openness has passed and everyone around is left with far fewer illusions to maintain.

I am a socially inept, ungainly youth with acne and little hope. Almost every day within my memory strikes me with pain; sometimes I wince visibly. My happiest days got me into a psychiatric ward. I struggle so that I will not interpret my future happiness, my growing understanding, and my ambitions as signs of arriving schizophrenia. To return to a life I love I must conform to the standards of an immature profession and be extremely tactful about my own beliefs. I'll almost certainly have to go back on medication. But despite all the shame and deception that has been present in my life, I am proud of it. It is an unsafe life. It is not safe to be distant from people. It is not safe to return from the distance. It does not feel good to tell people that I believed I was a dragon, or that I became afraid that I would be killed because of what I (thought I) knew, or that (as far as I can tell) a girl tried to kill herself because of what I did, or that I saw a movement in the gestures, offhand remarks, and confusion of random people on television or the radio, or that I would gladly and repeatedly act foolishly, apologize and emote foolishly, for a little bit of company. But I believe that in being open I change the very standards by which I am judged. I am certainly past the point where I can easily rationalize hiding some things and revealing others; I'll tell what I am asked to tell most times. And I believe that the alternative to openness, always having something to hide, is worse. I will tell the incoherent story of my stay in the ward, and soon.

I am in a situation where ecstasy is more unsafe than my most desperate acts. I will join noone in dwelling above humanity while a life I want is what is at risk. I will force myself to be mundane if I have to. It's not as though I can lose myself in commonplaces now. If I am above humanity... I often will be... I want it to be because I am there lifting. Not because I am flying there to avoid humanity's grasp.

Date: 2004-04-19 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guilen.livejournal.com
I think you're a person I need to talk with more often.

I personally like the word brilliant, and would apply it to this. I like how you manage to put into words what a lot of people kind of hide from each other. Maybe you're not crazy. Maybe the way you think just means its necessary for people to mean what they say a little more often.

Hrm. Not alone, not alone.


Date: 2004-04-27 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
Writing this cost me, actually. It brought me into a state where I fretted about my ability to actually tell the story of my time in the ward. And once in that state I felt that I couldn't understand what I had said previously, in particular what I had said here. Trying to tell a simple story has brought me into a minor depression.

There are some things I won't offer for some time, and those things include real-time talking. I would rather remain socially withdrawn while I figure out how to deal with the psychiatric profession.

Date: 2004-04-27 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guilen.livejournal.com
Well... that's not a bad idea, and good luck with those guys. In some ways, though, I would argue that it might be good to talk with people you could identify with. There's a certain bit of relief if you feel like somebody out there can relate. That's what kicked draconic.com with an audience heh heh.

Whatever's good for you, of course. That's sort of the approach I've been taking to things lately, anyhow.


Date: 2004-04-28 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
"Of course", "sort of", "anyhow" it's the approach?

I don't want to talk while I'm in a dejected mood, because while in such a mood I have difficulty understanding the things I've done previously. And it's too dangerous for me to push myself into such an elated mood that I could keep up with you; I won't do it. But I'm in a (temporary) state of balance now that I've found a good psychiatrist, and willing to talk.

Some things about you I don't identify with, and some things I do. There will be misunderstandings if we talk, though I'm willing to deal with them.

For your part: have you been listening to much music lately? A very big part of the story I'm going to tell involves me, for the first time in my life, understanding a difficult song. If you have a similar experience I want to be there to see it happen.

Date: 2004-04-19 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raki.livejournal.com
It was painful to read that, to read about you like that...

Perhaps the only thing I can tell you is that how far you're taken still may not surpass how far you'll go. And I see you out there.

Date: 2004-04-27 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
I don't apologize for its being painful.

I am glad that you told me even that little. I don't understand it, as it happens. But I don't want to live unseen.



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