Shrink Wrap

Faithful readers (or unfaithful ones with good memories and/or a tendency to the obsessive-compulsive) may remember that my luck with therapists has been universally bad. I actually did see another one after the last fiasco – long after! – but that was a fiasco of a different order.

This time, it turned out that the hospital was a teaching hospital, and the lesson of the day was Me. It’s nice getting attention, but not from six earnest therapists in training who all want to play “How Crazy Are You Anyway?” It was like a job interview, only more embarrassing, as I related the florid details of my melodramatic life to date. Afterwards, the therapist and I repaired to his office. I assume the students all had the same kind of conversation that party hosts have after guests leave (“Can you believe what Mary was wearing?” “If Rick throws up on the carpet one more time, I’m never inviting him back”, etc.), merrily discussing my lack of mental health and possibly what I was wearing. At least I didn’t throw up on the carpet.

So Shrink 3 told me I should come and see him again. I requested a private audience, and he agreed. We set a date and time. Unfortunately, my mother took a turn for the worse a few days before the appointment, with the usual diagnosis of her imminent demise (which in the end was as inaccurate as usual). I called Shrink 3 and left a message explaining that Mom was very ill and I had to stay with her, but would call him when I was back in town. He left me a message telling me that he “didn’t have time to see me” and suggested that my doctor refer me to someone else. This was a lot like those guys in high school who immediately start saying how ugly you are the minute you won’t go out with them, even though you were presumably pretty enough when they asked you out five minutes earler. Also, I would have thought “dying mother” pretty well topped the charts in the excuse book, and should trump any petty peeves about being stood up by a patient.

Three strikes and you’re out was pretty much my attitude at this point. However, my doctor convinced me to go and see yet another shrink last week. She won her point by saying that I could just discuss the evil Effexor with him and whether I could stop taking it. I asked her if she told him that I was a crazy bananahead, and she assured me that the term “bananahead” was not used in her phone call to him or the formal letter.

So off I went to see Shrink 4, who is from some vowel-challenged country, so his name consists mostly of S’s, C’s, and Z’s. It turns out that he is also head of psychiatry at the hospital. He and my doctor are neighbors and friends, which is how I got to see the big guy. I gave him a quick rundown on my recent history, and unlike the others, he didn’t probe for prurient details or look shocked at any point in the proceedings. He said that I have been on the medication long enough, and that I can start weaning myself off it slowly. I should be completely off it by the end of the summer, and hopefully I won’t be completely off my head, too. If so, he said to call him and he’d put me on something else, with fewer side effects. I practically floated out of his office, I was so happy.

And the term “bananahead” was never mentioned.