clipboardThe following excerpt is a modified version of my first psych session from my book “Inside the Insane.”  Looking back I found my reaction to my first attempt to get help riddled with insecurity, pride, and fears mixed with an arrogance that provides insight into how a first psych session is not always what it seems:It was my senior year of college.  I was an English major at an Ivy League University and I sat in psych services ready to find an answer to end the worst year of my life. God, please don’t let anyone I know walk through this lobby and witness my inability to slap on a smile and choose a career today! (I wasn’t ashamed of my decision to get help, but obviously paranoid and insecure about other people that I knew on campus recognizing me, or knowing that I needed help when really, in my opinion, the healthiest people out there at some point in their lives seek therapy or psychiatry.)

“Ms. Loberg?” The receptionist had to blare out my name in front of everyone waiting. (She called out my name like any receptionist would, but my insecurities made her the problem.)

“Ah, yes, right here.” Fuck it. I stood up tall and proud. Hell yeah, I want some medication and someone to talk to. I walked into a tiny room and was faced with my “help.” A tall thin weasel man in his early thirties sat behind a desk. (I walked into the session already judging my “help” cause my uncomfort zone made me project negativity toward the “weasel.” Not cool or fair.)

“You must be Erica.”

“Yeah.” I sat down and crossed my arms and legs, refusing to relax. (My body language reflected my mind. I was not open to receiving help even though walking into the session I thought to myself ‘Hell yeah, I want some medication and someone to talk to.'” Make up your mind dude, your mixed feelings and messages are a problem here.)

“What brought you here today?” Here goes everything. (The kitchen sink sounded pretty good right about now.)

“Well you see I am a senior…never been in therapy before by the way…and I have no idea what to do for the rest of my life or where to go or who will listen and I have no one to talk to.” (All true.)

“What about friends? Do you have any close friends?” What if I didn’t? He knew nothing about therapy. That question could be grounds for suicide, but thankfully, I had plenty of friends. (That triggered something in me and resulted in me lashing out.)

“Of course I have friends.” (Not exactly.  Most of my friends had already graduated, my best friend that I slept with who was also my roommate was also a mess.) 

“Do you talk to them about your worries?” (My friends were part of the problem so really had no one to go to.)

“Yes, sort of.” What did this bifocal kid, who probably lived a life of nerddom, know about anything. I was a second semester senior about to face the real world in a few short months. I had serious roommate problems, no job and anxiety attacks about the future. (I continue to internally insult the psychiatrist cause I was not ready to face my own problems. My roommate problems got so bad that I had to move out and found myself in an isolated single dorm room with no one. I was also applying for jobs left and right and was getting nowhere.  The only few jobs I was able to land an interview with went south.  I somehow always managed to say something weird which results in an odd look by the interviewer and I never knew why.)

“Do you take any drugs?”

“Like weed?” From his reaction I could tell that he wasn’t asking about recreational drugs, nor was he prepared for the truth.

“Sure, I smoke weed, on occasion.” The lies felt good. They masked the pretentious judgment I felt searing my skin. (He wasn’t judging me, I was in denial that I was a full blown pot head and instead of talking about it I turned around and made him out to be a jerk for asking. I was in major denial.)

“But you do other drugs as well?”

“No. I don’t even smoke weed that much. Only when I am with certain people.”  The nerd continued to stare me down. (Lie. I smoked it on a daily basis even if it wasn’t around “certain people.”)

“Okay. So there are no other drugs being used.” (I better turn to some shrink drugs intead of diving into all the other mind altering substances I was leaning on.)

“I have tried Ritalin. Actually Ritalin is something that a friend recommended for my hyperactivity and inability to sit still, which was really hard to start taking because I hate the idea of taking a drug to alter the personality that God gave you. Like all those kids that are on Ritalin because kindergarten teachers can’t deal with their innate energy. Maybe they should return to the old days when they would simply strap kids to their chairs and not let anyone out, you know?” He didn’t know. (My speech was tangential and connotes some hypo mania for my mind was all over the place.)

“I see. Well, your time is up. Would you like to schedule another meeting? I would like to explore more and talk a little about your family life.” ( I was not interested in talking about my family life. I was here to talk about myself not realizing that family was also important to explore in my journey.)

“Sure, why not.” I stood up ready to leave this ignoramus. (Again, why am I calling him an idiot for doing his job?  It was easier to make him the bad guy then tell the truth and face myself head on.)

Fresh cold air hit my face. I thought I would go back. I never did. (I felt like I was getting nowhere when in fact, I never really gave it a chance, coupled with the fact that I was not able to be honest with him, or honest with myself. How can therapy or psychiatry work without telling the truth.  Funny thing is, to this day, I still occasionally lie to my psychiatrist about stuff.  I am still not totally being honest with myself and hope someday I’ll be able to share my issues that haunt me to this day.)

Modified excerpt taken from “Inside the Insane.

by: Erica Loberg

Psychiatrist image available from Shutterstock.