I woke up one ordinary day and realized this was the day that I was going to face my fears. As I’ve previously mentioned, I harbored a deep seeded fear that maybe all the critics were right and I was “crazy” on some level. This was a recurring theme for me- Did I mention that OCD can be a wee bit repetitious? Although I recognized the pattern, I was stumped in regards to how I could fix it or if it could be fixed. Then, a thought hit me or rather, more of a question, “Are you ready to be professionally diagnosed?”
Without reservation, I knew the answer! I realized that sitting in fear of what could be was a prison far worse than the truth. Clearly, the time had come to confront what was going on with me even if it meant dealing with a less than favorable diagnosis. A fire stirred beneath me and in just a few days, I found multiple referrals and resources.
Now, the advantage of having your mother as a Psychologist was that I clearly understood the social etiquette and expectations of psycho-therapy. As I went through my referrals one by one, I interviewed each therapist as to their preferred method, resources, and etc. While they answered, I asked myself, “Can I share my worst self with this person?” This was the most important question to ask when choosing a therapist because if you could not be honest with your therapist, then you were wasting everyone’s time.
After countless phone calls, I found the perfect psychologist. Some therapists offered a soft and soothing environment for a patient to open up, holding their hand as they released their demons. Some were analytical and quantitative. My approach differed. I needed someone to call me on my bullshit, but also I needed help separating out other peoples issues. I seemed to take responsibility for the whole world’s problems and it had become overwhelming.
When I first talked to my psychologist, who I began calling Doc because of her PhD, I appreciated her no nonsense approach. Our conversation was easy and I connected with her in just a few short sentences. We mapped out our goals together and I even booked my first session for the following week. It was on! I was going to face my demons, head on with a definitive diagnosis. At this point, I was simply hoping that I only had a few demons and not some underground army.
When I first met Doc in her waiting room, I was surprised by her petite frame. Over the phone, her booming voice made her seem larger than life. I could tell that there was a shrewdness about her and also she carried a sense of justice, an emotional justice for people. I was slightly embarrassed as we shook hands for the first time because I reeked of dysfunction and I knew it. For almost two years, I felt stuck like a wheel spinning in the mud while the car refused to move. Enough was enough!
In our sessions, my therapist’s keen eyes followed my fervent gestures. She asked pertinent questions and if I veered off subject, she redirected me to her question. We spent two sessions a week for approximately a month. It was then, after eight sessions that she felt ready to give her honest opinion.
“Jacqui, you are not bi-polar, manic, or have a psychosis that has yet to be diagnosed. What is going on with you is emotional. Clearly, you are frantic and distraught because you are not in the best place right now. The distress is making you, excuse me for the lack of a better term, a basket case, but that’s all it is. As far as a diagnosis, you have of a mild form of OCD so as we work through your past, this will minimize its hold in the present.”
As Doc spoke, my smile grew bigger and bigger. My heart radiated unto the Heavens as I thought, “I’m not crazy, just distraught.” That was manageable! I wanted to sing on top of the highest mountain with an angelic voice that was nothing like my own deep, cacophonic vocals.
Doc continued, “Even after this short period of speaking with you, I have complete faith that you will succeed in overcoming your past and creating better outlets for your anxiety.” She bends toward me and her wizened eyes narrow, “Do you know how I know that you will succeed?” As my eyes widen in wonderment, I shake my head. With a Cheshire grin, she pontifically states, “Because you are here and you don’t have to be. That’s how!” Shocked by the punch line, I thought about what she said and then, a peacefulness spread across my features because for the first time in two years, I could see the horizon of a less dysfunctional tomorrow.