The Psychiatrist

I was eight years old, and I’m not exactly sure what I did but my mother concluded that, I needed to see a Psychiatrist. My mother stated “You are depressed.” Whatever that means, I say to myself. I was only eight years old.

I remember sitting in a waiting room filled with nothing but silent people very few children, mostly adults. Everyone displayed some level of shame as their heads were hung low ,eyes glaring at the floor . I too hung my head low confused about my presence. I remember the room being extremely dim and excessively warm as we sat and waited to be called.What could I have done to make my mother feel I was sad? Did I not smile enough? What could it have been?

Then a very tall pale skin man entered an opening in the doorway. His hair was brown and very silky looking. It laid still on his head with no motion. He wore a green short sleeve collar shirt with tan khaki pants.He stood maybe a little over six feet tall. He had large glasses with dark black frames and a very thick, dark, mustache. He looked down at his paper and said ” Shannon Brown”. My mother tapped my back as she said go ahead. He looked down at me and told me ” Hello,we are going to head this way” he stated. We walked down a hallway and made several turns as we arrived at a room.

The far corner housed a large bookshelf filled with books. Next to it on the right was a window with blinds and curtains that covered the sunlight. Perpendicular to it was a long desk where he pulled his large squeaky chair from to take a seat. Above his desk were pieces of computer paper with crayon drawings of stick figure people. Many different pictures with different handwriting styles. On his desk stood a couple framed pictures, a notepad with a pen and a clear glass jar with a suction top, filled with spearmint peppermints. Green and white stripes galore-my favorite. Directly in front of my path was a long sofa with a tall standing lamp at the end. Last an empty table sat with a chair and a few sheets of empty paper on it.

He instructed me to have a seat. I slowly took a seat unsure what to expect.

How are you today? He asked. “Fine” I stated. He begun to ask me several questions and after his questions he told me to sit at the empty table and draw pictures of how I felt. He said “Draw what I felt” . I felt fine so I drew pictures of ” Rocco” from the cartoon “Rocco’s Modern Life”back then I loved drawing.

My mother took me to see him often.,the same routine over and over, talking about how I felt, drawing pictures and then my favorite part of all eating spearmint mints As many as I wanted.

As I grew older , I began to resent my mother. I was angry with her. She was sending me to ” The psychiatrist” to open up with someone I didn’t even know and to open up about myself. I viewed that as her inability to get to know me.Was that her selfish lack of care? Why didn’t she try to talk to me? I was never able to let go of the angry emotions I held towards my mother.

I truly may have never needed someone to talk to as a child. I was to young to make my own decisions and so I had to receive his help. Even as adults we feel like we can become reluctant to take the advise of others.We are now in control of our lives and our decisions. We know what is best for ourselves and we will protect ourselves and interests.My experience showed me that even when we think we may not need something or someone it could ultimately be whats needed and we may not see it at the present moment. It may truly be apart of a lesson to learn later. My anger is long gone towards my mother, she did what she felt was best. I do not have a bad taste anymore for psychiatrists like i once did.

psychiatrist

Since Damian’s passing I speak with friends and family often. Opening up to a certain extent depending on who i’m speaking with. After he passed many suggested I go see someone to talk to and all I could remember was the past. My initial response was “NO”. I took the time to think about it and ultimately decided to go.

My psychiatrist gives me someone who knows nothing at all about me- that will just listen to me. Allowing our mouths to move, emotions to flow and words to go is key as we grieve. When everyone goes back to their normal life, my appointment is still set. When there just isn’t anyone around , there is Ron. My psychiatrist is someone who isn’t passing judgement or over eager to give input. He is just there to listen.

Personally my experience with my psychiatrist is quite intriguing because even though he hasn’t experienced grief like I have he experienced many things in his life that led him through fights with extreme depression and suicide. He overcame all of it and sits in his seat to relate to those feelings with me having gone through them himself. I admire that, so when I say ” I want to die” he truly understands.

Having as many available outlets is healthy. There is always something we don’t want to share with someone. Share it with your psychiatrist. Open up and let it out.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime “How individuals grieve depends on many factors: their support system; the circumstances of the death; the response by family members, friends and the criminal justice system; the nature of the relationship with the deceased; religious or cultural beliefs and customs; and the individual’s coping skills. No two people will grieve in the same way. However, survivors often find it helpful to speak with others experiencing loss, as there are common reactions and experiences that may prove useful to share”

I thought the article was interesting because the very first factor mentioned was the support system. Our support systems vary and we may or may not have many around to truly be there when we need. There will always be “Triggers” in life that will make us remember our loved ones. The triggers may even cause us to have a break down. The triggers will always be there.When we take a step back and allow whats around us to help us, then it only helps propel us to further growth. There are many different things that can take over our lives emotionally and physically after the death of a loved one. We have to help ourselves at our lowest points, and put tools in place to help us do so. It is OK to get help from others. I have had that problem allowing others to help me, I have to make it, I have no choice. I will give it all I’ve got.

“NO, I don’t need to go see anyone” I said to my mother. ” I’m fine, I just need to be alone”. Its always OK to have your time but if you can bring yourself up to it, take a second to see if it helps. What do we truly have to lose my doing so?  It already fells like we’ve lost our minds and pieces of ourselves. This is a part of putting it all back together again.

I thought to myself one day, as I sat there sharing my pain with my psychiatrist, ” How am I affecting Ron?”

See! In everything we do, we impact others. Our hardships and losses are always impacting others. It may be our journey, but as we walk , we reach out and touch others along the way. If an experience presents itself take it, it may not be just present to help only you,but others to.

“Yes” this is a long battle. As many of my coaches always said ” There is no victory without a fight”.

Today, Tomorrow , Forever.

Love Shannon

 

5 comments

  1. I certainly believe that talking is therapeutic, but it can also be damaging if you choose the wrong person. Of course some people are professionally trained to be good listeners, but there are other people who just seem to have a natural abundance of that trait. I’ve always been more of a writer than a talker, so writing about grief is something that helped me, though I think some people might have thought it a bit odd that I chose to put such thoughts on a public forum. I think the best thing is to do whatever works. What isn’t a good plan is to just sit back and do nothing.

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  2. Shannon,
    Your last paragraphs are such loving reminders of the power of empathy and it is amazing that in the midst of your grief, you could wonder how Ron is! When you are a sensitive person, people want to add labels in our youth and redirect our feelings. But, finding a special psychiatrist or therapist when you need one, is a blessing. I hope Ron appreciates you too.

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  3. You write here with authenticity and courage. There is humor, too, especially when recalling your experiences as a child. How much baggage could an eight-year-old be carrying, anyway? Now, of course, there are things to talk about. Feelings and new discoveries, positive and hard, sometimes both at the same time. I’m glad you mention a support system, dispelling us of the notion that the lone-wolf model works. Even wolves don’t live alone. They live in families and packs.

    Thank you for reading from my blog. Thank you more for what you share here.

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  4. Beautifully stated. I had a therapist who spun my mind out of control. She simply wasn’t the right one for me. After a time of processing that, I was brave enough to try again and found the woman I credit with saving my life, my ability to be a mother, and giving me the tools to find the path to become the person I was supposed to be. And you are absolutely right: Our story affects them too. She once told me that my insight had helped her to see things differently in her own story. The circle of life passes through us. Thank you for sharing your story.

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