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Carefully Crafted

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where do I sit? How's my body language? Did I wear too much make up, not enough? Damn it! I should have washed my hair this morning! Did I choose the correct clothes? What does my designer bag say about me? Should I have left it in the car? Did I really have to finish my tweet while he waited in the doorway?

All that screamed through my mind today as I met with the new psychologist for the second time. I don't think I made a really great impression during our first visit. I wore my 5150 tank and no bra. I wasn't thinking then. He said it gave him "insight" into who I was and what I was about.

But I know, I know what they, these doctors, do because I've seen it in my charts from various other providers: "well groomed today," "uncooperative body language,"" no eye contact," "unusually chatty," "no make up and hair in a pony tail," "manic," "depressed," yada yada yada.... Every move a psychiatric patient makes is scrutinized, put under a microscope and dissected like a frog in an tenth grade biology class.

I usually don't mind therapy, I get to talk about my narcissistic self for 45 minutes. Today, however, wasn't so great. I was nervous, I was unsure of myself and I was teary. I hate being teary, it serves no purpose I can think of other than making me look weak.

It is all about appearances isn't it? Isn't that why I drive a Mercedes and wear a Rolex? Isn't that why I botox the hell out of my forehead? Isn't that why I color my hair and paint my nails black?

I told the doc of all that has transpired over the last week and a flood of emotion came over me and betrayed the shit out of me. He said when I first told him of the horrific things I sounded "nonchalant." I said I was numb. I told him I "compartmentalize" to get through my life.

He assured me that was a perfectly normal coping skill, deal with what I can when I can and put the rest away until later. That's when I really began talking, and he began questioning, and that's when I nearly lost the appearance game. I felt the betraying tears.

I was determined not to let them cascade over my lashes. I would not allow them to trace the outline of my cheeks. I would not reach for a tissue. I would hold it together and continue to compartmentalize.  I'm quite sure in the copious notes he was taking he wrote of the cracked facade he'd witnessed and of my insistence on controlling the emotion that almost overcame me. 

All of my psychiatrists before had mentioned my ability to hold myself together and my "great coping skills." They spoke of my strength and resolve. I knew it was all bullshit on my part. They didn't really know me, I never let "me" out.

Very little of that was there after the first few minutes with this doctor today. I almost lost my appearance, the person I've carefully crafted over the years to cover my inner self. This doctor was touching nerves, nerves that haven't been touched in years.

Was it good? Was it bad? Did I even want to know that self? Did I want anyone else to know the real me? I did know I didn't feel comfortable with a new doctor getting a glimpse of my inner being.



Unknown June 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM  

Perhaps you should let the inner being choose for a while. I think that spirit cries out to spirit and it will cry out to one it sees is safe and like minded. Perhaps the spirit in you saw the desire to help in him, the ability to heal and teach and guide and listen without the babble most have. Maybe, Diva, just maybe, this is a doctor who really gives a shit and isn't in it for an interesting cocktail party story and a paycheck..

Christy June 26, 2012 at 4:17 PM  

It's the only way to heal.

Susie - Walking Butterfly June 26, 2012 at 4:19 PM  

Sounds like he is doing what you pay him to do Hun. Painful as it is, why "keep it together"? I hate trying to talk while crying, nuthin pretty or together about that! I understand not wanting to do that in front of someone you just met, yikes!

Jacky aka Queenijax June 26, 2012 at 4:27 PM  

I'm scared of the same thing. letting go. scared to let them dig deep, so i only surface talk. I don't want to cry. i know what's written in my files and i'm scared they're going to think i'll do something bad-which i won't, but how do you let it all out in 45 minutes and be expected to leave all perfect and fine again. Just doesn't make sense to me.

Andrea L June 26, 2012 at 5:10 PM  

It's scary, but maybe this doctor will be really good for you... compartmentalization may be holding you back...I know the first time I got really sick, I was 'hiding' pretty much everything from everyone, until there was just no room left to hide things, and it wasn't good. Although now, many yrs later, I still do it to a certain extent, I am much better at expressing things... Just the fact that you are able to express so much on this blog is amazing, but maybe the next step is sharing these things with your doctors. From what I see, you seem like an amazingly strong person, despite everything you have been through and dealt with. This is a horrible disease, where we so often feel so alone, but you aren't!!! Honestly, you, and your honesty in your writing have been such a blessing to me, and the fact that you can do that is amazing! Your doctor is there to help you, so don't worry about how you look, whether you're wearing your 5150 shirt with no make-up or you are completely manicured with your name brand are an amazing person either way, so let him see that, and help you with what you need help with!

joanne June 26, 2012 at 8:43 PM  

Maybe, just maybe it is time to let the real you out..just this once, just to this one person, just a little bit. sending love and prayers to you..and a little funny;
both of my sons inlaws are psychs...I am so uncomfortable when they are around!

W.C.Camp June 26, 2012 at 8:51 PM  

Diva I think it's good that you ARE yourself in front of these people, not some manufactured facade of who you 'want' to be. It takes guts to spill yours to anybody but particularly someone who you perceive is judging your every move. Still in the context of 'OWNING' your life with all its warts & wonders is a 'Good thing' I think. Hang in there and give both the Doc and yourself a chance to learn about the real you - even if sometimes it hurts. In the end, you will be better off for it. W.C.C.

Barfly June 26, 2012 at 9:15 PM  

I'm still lurking around BPD. Sorry for the absence. Things is happ'n round heeya. If you need to talk I'm here.

Cloudia June 26, 2012 at 9:30 PM  

Gotta say it.
Psychiatry is profoundly insulting and damaging to the human spirit and dignity. Sure, psych meds in some cases change lives. But mysteries like you? What does that dismissive, remote, soulless jerk know about the mystery of you - or himself?
Life is a glorious mystery.
We ALL learn coping skills,
and yes, sometimes fight tears.
Sometimes not.
You don't need them to rubber stamp your soul.'
Brave enough to face the Abyss?
I found peace wisdom and faith
when I gave up on those
"humans' and their learned
Read any Thomas Szaz?

Aloha from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

middle child June 26, 2012 at 10:43 PM  

Good doctor! Keep going there. It's ok if you are afraid. It is where you are meant to be!

Mom June 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM  

Don't just say it, don't just post the words that people THINK you are. Simply BE who you are, if people don't like it...tough s--t.

I've learned a lot since my husband died ten years ago. I was totally a different person then. Today, I'm free, free, free and oh, it feels good. Please yourself first. Life is short, breathe.

MarkD60 June 27, 2012 at 7:07 AM  

You are a great person who needs to quit worrying about most of the stuff you worry about.

Furry Bottoms June 27, 2012 at 8:18 AM  

Hmmm mixed responses about this. The reason why therapists are so "soulless" is because its the best thing for the patients. They want to make sure that the session is about the patient, not the therapist. They have to appear that way (I had psychology training in college, no fun)

I think he is doing his job, actually. You resolved recently to get to the bottom of this mess, and that you were beginning to heal. This is exactly what the healing process looks like. And yes, it can be ugly. It wouldn't worry you or scare you if it was so pretty. In the long run, you'll be at peace.

I hope this Dr remains true to you.

bazalkryn June 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM  

I don't think there is any point in seeing a therapist if you are going to try to hide your true self.

The Bipolar Diva June 27, 2012 at 4:47 PM  

I guess there's no way out of allowing this therapist know more. I generally don't mind answering questions, filling in the blanks, but for some reason this guy had me nailed on the second visit. It freaked me out!

Candace June 27, 2012 at 7:24 PM  

It totally makes sense that it freaked you out and that he hit the nail on the head. Sometimes it's really scary when people can see who we are. But its exhausting to hold on to the mask and not be your authentic self. I love you!!!

Pat June 28, 2012 at 1:41 PM  

You need to reveal the real you to the doctor or else how is he going to heal you? Aren't you tired of pretending all the time?

Princess Kate June 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM  

I think the inner you is WAY stronger than you think. Stay strong blog-sister. Always stopping by to see what you're up to.

Susie - Walking Butterfly July 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM  

Hey Diva, today is my 2 year Blogoversary and I gave you a little mention! Thanks so much for being my blogfriend and being the awesome lady you are!

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