But MapQuest It First

November 6, 2009 at 3:27 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I had my psychiatrist appointment the other day.  I must say, it was not what I expected.  No couch, for one thing.  What self-respecting shrink doesn’t have a couch?
  I was here because I had long suspected that I had ADD.  Then, on the recommendation of a friend, I read a book.  "Driven To Distraction."  Instead of the healing that she had hoped would happen, I got a little freaked out because I saw more of myself than I was really comfortable with in the book.  So now, here I am, in a psychiatrist office, answering questions and filling out some quizzes, and talking to the head doctor about my problems.  I told him about my mother, and I suspected that she had it.  I told him about my sister, and how her problems are much deeper.  I told him about my ex, and how I could never be myself in front of her.  He took notes and nodded in all the right places, and gently urged me on.
  I’m not sure what I think of the guy.  He’s older, laid back, and obviously pretty bright.  He was easy to talk to, and I learned a lot even during just this initial interview process.
  I guess I expected some sort of big revelation.  Maybe a siren to go off and the lights go red, and a troop of orderlies would come marching in to fit me for a straight jacket.  That being a ten on the lack-of-subtlety scale, what I experienced was about a two. 
  He said, "I haven’t just been sitting here idly and and letting you blabber on.  I’ve been evaluating you this whole time.  I would say you definitely have it."
  "Oh."  Oh.  Well, okay then.  Now what?
  I think many people come to see a psychiatrist for the express purpose of getting drugs.  This is not what I want.  As I said, I don’t want to lose *me*.  What if, in the process of taking care of this, the drugs make me normal, and normal turns out to be an unimaginative, unfunny, boring and very stupid asshole?  What if, without my ADD, I’m just like Detroit’s ex?  Nobody wants that. 
  But I was offered the meds.  He said it would help.  Would it stifle me creativity, I asked in a Scottish accent.  He said no.  If anything, it should help focus it.  I suppose that would be the true test.  I did tell him about my 40-plus unfinished novels.  If this can help me finish one, and more importantly, follow through with the necessary steps to (at least attempt to) get it published, then I will consider the meds a success.
  Unlike some and just like other mental disorders, a certain amount of self-healing can be done.  The doc didn’t tell me this, but I have figured it out on my own from what I read and from what the doctor said cryptically about other things.  With ADD, you find ways to work around things.  You learn to deal with it.  You figure out how to trick yourself into getting things done without realizing it.  You adapt, you adjust.  You craft your own tools, as it were.
  With some OCD, meds along with behavior modification work wonders, until the meds are no longer necessary.  You learn not to act so freaking crazy.  That’s the medical explanation.  It is my hope that I can do that with this:  use the meds, modify my behavior, and then no longer need the meds.  Maybe that’s the doctor’s goal, too, but we didn’t really go into long term.
  Before I was sure I had it, I was obsessed with the idea.  Now that I have some confirmation, it is oddly different.  I worry compulsively, and this is one less thing to worry about.  So, there’s some relief, I guess.  But now that I *know* I find that I don’t want to be strictly identified as just that, like a label.  I am more than someone with ADD.
  I am a father, a brother, a worker, a lover.  A thinker.  A smoker and a joker.  I’m a proud black woman.  I’m an old Jewish man.  I’m a carnival ride, I’m a household pet.  I’m a church choir.  I am a rock, I am and Island.  I am many things.  I am more than just my ADD.  But all in all, I’d rather be a hammer than a nail.

  We shall see, won’t we?
  And by we, I mean all the voices in my head.

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