Monday, September 7, 2009

Life full of mania with a dash of humor and a slice of normality (those are the secret ingredients) Vol 1 Issue 23

I think you can make a pretty accurate judgment on what kind of experience you are in for from the selection of the reading material in the waiting room. As much as I hated going to the dentist growing up, having those “Highlights” magazines there to entertain me during the minutes leading up to the anticipated oral misery about to be upon me made the trip seem not so bad. While awaiting my turn in the barbershop chair I can always count on getting caught up in my sports with “SI”, “ESPN the Magazine” and other sports themed mags (and the occasionally skimming through of a “Glamour” is purely accidental mind you). While working in my sales job in The Nasty I would time from time be on appointments in which I was forced to wait until my contact was available to meet. During those times I could be found browsing through such periodicals themed in hunting, cars, the Civil War, politics, and television entertainment. Each one of these reading materials would mentally prepare me (good or bad) for the encounter I was about to undertake based solely on what I had just flipped through. Whether this quirk of mine is shared amongst others or not I somehow seemed to try to envision the person and experience I was about to undergo based upon that material sitting out in the waiting room. Imagine my complete dumbfoundedness (yeah, obviously not a word since I get that red squiggly line under it after I type it, but I’m keeping it in all the same) when I walked into THE Ohio State University Harding Hospital (Mental Health and Psychiatry department) and found but one magazine and it was so awful I can’t even remember what genre I would even try to categorize it under (needless to say this wasn’t a good start for me).

At this point in my life I had obviously made the trek back from the mountains to settle into the familiar flat farming fields of central Ohio, I was home. While I really didn’t know if I wanted, or for that matter thought I needed, to see a doctor (psychiatrist/psychologist) I felt so lost and confused with this whole thing that I agreed to go partly to entertain my parent’s wishes, partly to look for answers, and partly because I felt it was the responsible thing to do. Granted I did not have the best experience with my medical care in Denver (that was more than likely contributed to the fact that I at the time could not come to terms with the BMD diagnosis and therefore felt that I was not different and did not need any help, strike 1) so my reluctance to see anyone in Ohio was fairly prevalent. However after hearing that my Mom had gotten me into THE Ohio State University Harding Hospital even though I had no referral and the wait list was about six months (she has a gift of persuasion, some would use other terms to describe it, but it’s definitely a gift) I figured it was a good thing. Sitting in the waiting room with nothing to read and no idea on what my doc looks like I kept pulling the fake stand up whenever someone would walk by and make eye contact with me. Finally a shorter man with glasses and a beard walks into the room and beckons me to follow, I figure I’ve got nothing to lose and follow. We enter his office and I ask if he is doc so-and-so (that really wasn’t his name but I’m a man of ethics and decided to respect his privacy, the favor will soon be returned) and he replied yes. He explains to me that he doesn’t use names in the waiting room for confidentiality reasons (I didn't get it, I’m in the mental health hospital at THE Ohio State University, it’s safe to say the majority of people around have a good idea on why I’m there, but que-evs it’s a nice gesture nonetheless).

He opens the conversation by asking me to tell him what happened and who I am (in a nutshell). I am a little set back because I’m not sure how to answer, for some reason I feel embarrassed and set-back from this procedural like interview I was in. It felt almost as if the doc had a standard set of questions to ask with no real interest in the answers only that there was an answer so that they may make their way to the next question. I start out by telling him my name, where I was from, where I went to school, what I had been doing with my life, and of course recalled as many details from my episode as I could but my noncommittal mentality to the convo had to be evident. It did get easier to talk to the doc through the conversation but I never felt comfortable with it. For some reason I felt ashamed of myself for what had happened and nothing was really happening in that office to make me feel any different, that was my fault. Just as I had no expectations or visions from the lack of reading material in the lobby/waiting room, the feelings were just the same in the office, really there was nothing but I wasn’t trying that hard either. While these emptiness feelings were out of my control I could have handled the situation a lot differently. I ended up heading back a few times to Harding Hospital but then I took a job in The Nasty and stopped my meetings with the doc. I wouldn’t change anything in my life but at times I do wish I would have handled them a bit differently. If there was one thing I could do over from that initial meeting it would have been that I would have walked in with my head high, chest out, and smile on my face and started out by saying:

“My name is Derek Lee Thompson. I was raised in South Charleston, Ohio and was recently diagnosed as being bipolar; which to some is considered a mental illness, but I would have it no other way and this is my story…”

Since many of my manic experiences involve music I’ve decided to add random music videos to the blog for my enjoyment and your inconvenience. Enjoy!

Coming Correct,

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