I have a medical appointment scheduled for next week. In a long series of failed therapeutic efforts that began at around age 14 and have been going on periodically eversince, here’s another attempt of mine to look for options for improving my situation that I may not have come across so far. Or options that have gotten out of reach. I don’t even know what I’m expecting of this appointment. Well, let’s just say that at the very least I get confirmed what I’ve been seeing and feeling all along: That there is no real help per se and that I will have to accept what happened and is happening to me at some point. Things went terribly wrong for me from the beginning and despite my all-resolved major and persevering efforts have never been right – or “righter” – eversince. I mean, there is the initial abandonment a few weeks after my birth, to be followed by the initial traumatization at the pediatric clinic that sent my system so far out of whack that it’s been signalling lethal danger over anyone coming within less than two feet of phyiscal distance eversince, no matter the situation or preceding context. As of January 3rd, I have been living with more or less pronounced anxiety for 48 years. I have survived frequent and severe bouts of emotional, verbal and some physical abuse with an early on-set that left me with the feeling that my mere presence on the planet is a contamination of the human species and that I had to make up by doing something outstanding every single day in order to deserve being here amongst the “normal ones” and in the first place. And there were multiple retraumatizations during my toddler days that set the feeling of being an unwanted outcast in stone, figuratively speaking.
On account of low self esteem and simple lack of knowledge that it was o.k. to stand up for oneself, I allowed the abuse to continue in multiple ways and situations, be it in the very first few years of pre-school and kindergarten or much later in school and ultimately my adult life. There was less than a handful of situations when anger bordering on rage over being treated unfair would have the upper hand and when I’d set my foot down or did stand up for something. In retrospect: That’s so pathetic that I now think I rightly deserved all the abuse that’s been going on for decades (on a side-note: I’ve worked on myself and became far less tolerant of being abused. I guess, this equals progress on the way to healing and recovery from the past). Although other people think they see some talents in me, I’ve been feeling like the least scum of the earth for most of the time, which left me wishing I hadn’t been born at all (Today, I still wish I hadn’t been born, but for different reasons altogether, some of which Woody Allen speaks about in his 2009 movie “Whatever Works” and in his unique and entertaining way of processing his own neuroses in his capacity as an artist). At this point in this blog, you might expect the notorious suicide attempt, but for reasons beyond me, I haven’t really and seriously attempted to kill myself – except for this one time when I was hospitalized in my early twens and during my time in the military. But you can’t really call this a valid attempt at killing myself using nothing but a mildly sharpened kitchen knife I had managed to smuggle from the hospital kitchen into my room and then going about scratching my wrists a bit (guess, I never had a real death wish and ultimately – death will be taken care of anyway by way of aging and dying…). And since I tend to overthink and overplan things from the OCD I have developped as a coping tool and from replacing lack of basic trust with as much control in any given situation as possible, I would now make extrasure that I don’t come out with a failed “attempt” on the other side. But suffice it to say that recurring thoughts of prematurely ending this pathetic survival mode has been a given throughout my even more pathetic life.
Coming from this utterly negative place that probably took the form of being cynical about myself and thus perpetuating the abuse inflicted through varying forms of self-abuse, it should become evident that standard schools of therapy will have had a hard time with me as a patient. In addition to that, I’m stubborn and probably have a propensity to be overbearing and a little snobbish, too, as yet another awkward way of coping with the profound insecurity when interacting with the outside world – or even internally, in that I could never be sure what my real needs were given that I was never allowed or encouraged to express them, let alone have them nurtured. Even when I did express them, I got bullied from the rest of the family or peers. From 48 years of having been around, I think I can safely say that politely asking for things is always interpreted as being weak or dumb or both – no exceptions according to my experience. Other than that, I think I have acquired enough coping skills to get me by, although they didn’t do much else but that, i.e. barely get me by (and ultimately had me end up as a case of living on welfare as of 2008). And last, the therapists I did see were anywhere between set upon certain favored therapies they’d impose upon whomever showed up through being moderately troubled themselves to being majorly troubled and even being blatantly unqualified in one particular case, where I got close to thinking about sueing the person in question in order to get my or my insurance’s money back (which technically speaking is still my money). So, not too much luck with “the experts”, either.
Exactly what was I hoping for by seeing a shrink again then? I can’t even be all sure any more. At the very least I need an accurate diagnosis for a change in order to undermine my disability status with the relevant authorities and when future check-ups occur (they are being routinely performed every 2 years). I also still nurture hopes of finding some drug that makes bearing known triggering situations easier for me. So far, my system would display major side effects to whatever drug administered to the point, where their use became pointless or even detrimental in other areas. (a thing could be said here about using medical drugs in general, in particular with regard to long term studies being performed and illustrating the long term health risks of certain agents in medication). And expressing myself like I do here, but with a real person is always a welcome side effect – actually something, I’d probably benefit the most from and something I’d have been doing on a regular basis, if I could afford it or if my health insurance would cover such services – which, unfortunately, they don’t.
However, one major concern has been on my mind for some time now: What if this turned out to be yet another situation I’d run my hopes up high about and that will leave me hanging in the balance in its aftermath? What if I come out realizing there wasn’t anything else to do than what we’ve been doing in the past and to not too much avail? Will I relapse and feel hopeless? Will I come within being suicidal again much along the lines of what I’ve repeatedly heard about inpatients, who’d commit suicide right after they got released from hospital (which reminds me of my own psychotic fit I’d suffer on the way home after a four-month hospital stay during my time in the service)? Is there a moment of hopelessness, when a patient like me realizes the full scope of damage being done to them and their lives and how their best bet as far as recovery is to come within close reach – at best! – of where other people have been for their entire lives as far as emotional health? Is it that very moment when one realizes how far removed from anything along the lines of “normal” we’ve been living our lives and are likely to live out the rest of our days on the planet? A moment of utter, infinite solitude when faced with the entire scope of one’s own inescapable fate? Oh yeah, yeah, I already hear those talking about choices and how everything we do or don’t do was a matter of choice (a.k.a. “radical accountability” and such. I understand being responsible and accountable, but I refuse being responsible for crap I clearly didn’t do myself…). Well, to the notorious optimists, I say: No, it simply isn’t. For example, whether you’re born in a so-called 3rd or 1st world country isn’t any of your own choice and whether you’ve been exposed to the brutality of war or famine or natural desasters or family clans fighting each other at bloodshed will inevitably impregnate your thinking with certain ideas about reality at large and human beings in particular. And in many ways I dare say being born into a dysfunctional background might have a similar impact on emotional health. I speak from rich personal experience in that regard, so feel free to argue with me all you must! I’ll be happy to dissuade you from your former point of view and I bet my bottom dollar you won’t stand a chance against my arguing … (see? Overbearing 😉 LOL)
Well, in coming back to the medical appointment: I think, I feel safe to say that I’ve become a tiny tad indifferent to myself and whatever history or fate I believe to have. In other words: I’ve taken so many blows, I’ve been let down so many times that I safely know what it’s like. And I’m still here, much to my own surprise to be honest (guess, I’m safe to call myself a survivor then, aren’t I?). I couldn’t even give you a good enough reason as to why that is with all the pain safely “outnumbering” the more joyous times. Of the latter, there were some as well, of course (“of course” now…?). Like my wedding day, e.g. Boy, was I taken aback at the sight of my (ex-) wife in her wedding dress! At this very moment the full scope of the realization washed over me that of all men in the world, this beautiful, witty, good-hearted, honest, sexy-as-hell woman chose me over all other men she could have married?! For real now?! (On a side-note: I now completely understand the mercy of not being able to see the future so it won’t ruin the present moment of bliss). Those first few years of our marriage along with the bulk of my twen years, I’d color the best years of my life in retrospect. I can honestly say, I was never happier at any other point in my life. In other words: If I died now, at least I’d die knowing that I’ve experienced true, unconditional – weeeell, aaaaalmost 😉 – love once.
Exactly what was I afraid of about seeing this doctor? Bring it on, doc! I know your kind by now. 😉