Thanks to C, writer at Seasons Change and So Have I, I have taken on the idea of the Friday Confessional. There’s something so cleansing about it. I am not Catholic, nor have I ever been. But, I can see why confessional is an important part of their Christian denomination.
October 25, 2000
It was quite an eventful day. Not even a week earlier, I had come out to a teacher about my cutting that had gone on in secret for two and a half years. I was on psychiatric suspension until I was able to see a doctor. I suppose that was probably a punishment that was meant for my parents. Their only respite from me was school. It was likely intended to force them into seeking treatment for me, rather than ignoring the problem, as I confessed in that principals office. They had known about it for more than a year at that point. And it was my father’s taunts about it that gave me the little white scar with two teeth just under the freckle on my left forearm. That was the nasty gash that led me to this very day.
My mother cautioned me before we left. “Don’t say anything crazy, or else they’ll put you in inpatient.” I was going to an inpatient facility for outpatient care. It was twenty minutes away from my home, and filled to the brim with all likes of troubled kids, far worse than me, from all around the area. I heard the horror stories of that place from friends that had complete meltdowns and whose parents were scared out of their wits. “I roomed with this girl who had fifty stitches around her neck. She tried to slit her own throat.” Talk about cutting. I was an amateur digging at my wrists with a dull steak knife.
My father was a bastard the whole way there. I always hated being in the car with him. It felt like I was trapped, forced to listen to him go on and on about whatever was grinding his gears, usually me. It seemed like there was something I had done or not done that set him off on a raging tangent. Today, it was the fact that I was going to therapy. “This is a waste of fucking time and money! I’ve been in therapy for 20 years, and do you know what it got me!? A fat sack of nothin’! So wish in one hand and shit in the other, girl! See what fills up faster!” At least I can say that he was memorable in those states.
It didn’t matter. That day was about me. It was the overdue response to all of my distress calls. They took to prepping me in the car. I was not to say anything about the family. I was not to smack talk anyone, or else I was going to get taken away. If I lied or exaggerated in any way, they’d go to jail, and my brother would be put in a home. It would be all my fault that they broke up our family. The fate of the family was in my hands now, and I’d better now screw it up, or else I’d never be forgiven. They would leave me to rot in a foster home. Eighteen was still two years away for me. Two years is a long time in your teens.
We arrived, and I was greeted by a woman who looked to be about my mother’s age. She was thin and had bright eyes. Her name was Dr. H, but she preferred Ann. I was hesitant. It was impolite to refer to any adult by their first name. It was a sign of disrespect. She handed my mother a huge stack of paperwork and told me to come right in when my mother was finished. My mother looked through the stack, and then started thoughtfully. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t signing my own consent, and then I realized I wasn’t of age yet. It looked too large to be consent. My mother leaned in to me and asked, “You don’t torture animals, do you?”
I was astounded that she even asked! What the hell was on that form?! She explained it was just an assessment, and that there would be ridiculous questions on there. Some kids were a lot worse than me, she noted. Clearly.
I went into her office, and it smelled like lavender. The lights were dimmed, a candle was lit, and there was an inviting sofa with pillows and a blanket next to her desk. “How are you feeling?” I burst out crying. I couldn’t stop. I spilled everything. All of my misery and isolation fell from my eyes and mouth into her lap. I purged, like word vomit, until I felt empty again.
She told me, “This isn’t your fault. You have a disorder.” It was a relief. All of these years, I had known that I wasn’t like other children. Children aren’t sad and scared. People don’t go around crying every single day of their lives, wishing they were dead. She continued to explain was Major Depressive Disorder was, and assured me that I would see a doctor about getting medicine for relief.
“Will I have to be on this medicine for the rest of my life?” I asked.
“Sometimes, medication is just a crutch until you can get better.”
Famous last words. (I’m on five psychiatric medications as of right now.)
I went home and went to bed. Bed was home. Bed was the only safe place there was in the entire world.
My boyfriend showed up later, and we went out to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. When we came home later, everyone was gathered in the living room. My mother announced to me, “We’re taking your father to the hospital. We think he had a heart attack. Your grandmother is coming to watch you.”
Fine by me. My boyfriend and I went into the game room in the basement and had sex again. He stayed pretty late, as my mother announced he had to go into emergency open heart bypass. And all I could think to myself was, “Good. I hope he dies on that table.”