Nurse takes my blood pressure.
I have porridge, not too hot, not too cold, just right…
I have yogurt and fresh fruit. I enjoy an omelette with cheese and bacon bits. I wash it down with a cup of coffee. I take my medicine with a glass of apple juice. I take a shower and get dressed. Today is Saturday…
The nurse informs me that the Psychologist is here to see me. I go to the consultation room to find him sitting there in his usual chair already. He hands me multiple stacks of papers. They describe the diagnostic requirements according to the *DSM -V criteria manual which Psychologists and Psychiatrists use globally to align their understanding of mental health conditions.
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.
I scan through the headings on each little bundle:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
“I hand you these today to go through when you want to. I picked up that you presented with possible signs in all of these areas, some more prevalent than others.” he states. “I can point out that most people will present with symptoms in general, but not enough to be diagnosed as such.” He continues.
“Thank you.” I say. “Just to be sure, I think I will read through all of them to see if I recognize myself. I will naturally entertain the thought without accepting it.” I continue.
“I do however feel very certain that my Psychiatrist hit the nail on the head when he confirmed that I was on the spectrum. He is also treating me for ADHD and OCD symptoms. The rest would still be interesting to read.” I say whilst reading through the first booklet he assembled with photocopied paper and staples.
He did a rush job because the sheets are not aligned and the streaks he made with the highlighter is not entirely covering only the parts he wanted to accentuate, but also irrelevant blank spaces on the side of the paper. This tells me that he tried to turn the page too quickly post highlighting a word or phrase and the tip of the highlighter grazed the side of the page as he turned it. I conclude that he must have been in a hurry to get it done and hand it to me to make a point. It feels like he want to show that I have a multitude of mental health challenges and I would need his help for at least a year to make sense of it all. It felt again like he was chasing money…
Then again, he is running a business, so technically he has to book sessions with clients in order to keep his boat afloat. I get that, its just kind of feeling like he’s dragging out the sessions, that’s all…
“Thank you for all the information. I appreciate it.” I say.
“Your welcome, I really enjoyed our conversations up to now and I hope you stay around for another week in order for us to really dig deep into your psyche and see where we can uncover unknown past memories which you haven’t dealt with’. He replies. “We can then unpack and come to terms with those feelings during our sessions over the next couple of months.” he adds and hands me his business card.
I let him know that I will see my Psychiatrist later that morning and that I will know what my next week would look like after my session with him.
We greet each other and he leaves.
I have a cup of tea.
The nurse calls me and informs me that my Psychiatrist is here to see me.
“Good morning.” He greets me, dressed in relaxed clothing similar to last Saturday.
We exchange pleasantries for 2 minutes (I don’t particularly like small talk)
“So, did you consider the possibility of returning to your life soon?” he asks.
“I did, yes” I say, “I think it would be great to plan my exit strategy and start facing reality again.” I finish.
“Okay, good, that’s a good sign. I’m glad you feel up to it.” he says, “When would you like to go home?” he asks.
“Well, today if possible, ha ha, but I assume you don’t release patients over the weekend so Monday would be fine. Just to give you time to prepare all the paperwork.” I say.
“No problem. We can do it today if you are sure you can handle it?” he states.
“Really?! I was not sure if it can happen today, it was just a quip really to lighten the mood. If its too much trouble Monday is fine, really.” I reply.
“Not at all, I just need to pop over to my practice next door to get my Prescription Pad and your file and I can complete your Release From, sign it, and let you go back to reality and your family and your home.” he smiles. “I’ll be just a minute…”
He gets up and leaves the room to go and fetch his paperwork…
It dawned on me that I now had to go back to Normal…
I feel kind of nervous, anxious, but in a healthy way. So anxiety and excitement has similar physiological symptoms, so it’s in how you frame it mentally really. I make a choice: I feel excited to go back to my life, my daughters, my home, my Alaskan Klee Kai, my family, my future!
My Psychiatrist returns and completes all the necessary documentation. He hands me my prescription for my medication for the next month. We book an appointment to come and see him in 2 weeks time. I gather my belongings and sign out at the Nurses Station. I thank all the Staff and wish them well, and I head out of the front door, through the security gates towards my SUV. I throw my bag in the back, get into the Driver seat and sit.
I see blood on the steering wheel, blood on the seat, blood on the gearshift, blood on the hand-break, blood on the passenger seat and a massive pool of dried blood on the plastic floor mat. I see the open switchblade with dried blood on the blade lying on the floor at the passenger side. I take everything in and I sigh…
It feels so long ago, a feint memory of a series of unfortunate events. I was a completely different person back then. I have come a long way out of the valley of the shadow of death. I’ll clean it up when I get home…
I start the engine and I start driving back to my house. To start my new life!
I have been there, I have visited Normal.
I always struggled and didn’t know why I felt like I do not fit in. Now I know. I am different. I am awesome and I am fantastic, so:
Awesome + Fantastic = Autistic!
I have been there, I have visited Normal, and now I am ready to go back there again.
There and back again…