The Patriarchy Got In The Way Of A Good Time At The Psychiatrist's Office

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally had an appointment with a psychiatrist after six months of waiting. I won't lie. I was not looking forward to it. Every single appointment I've gone to, aside from the ones with my fabulous therapist, has included someone pointing their finger at me and blaming me for my situation in some way, because, you know, I am just so in love with generalized anxiety and depression.

I am so in love with generalized anxiety and depression that I joyfully spent two hours sitting in the waiting room with other crazy people, one of whom talked out loud to himself about windows. When he stepped outside for a cigarette after loudly announcing "I AM STEPPING OUTSIDE FOR A CIGARETTE", another crazy person said at top volume "AM I EVER GLAD THAT HE LEFT, BECAUSE HE WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY". Really? Yes, really.

I was so relieved when the Palinode arrived to wait with me, because he has this magical ability to drive out the crazy. No sooner had he walked into the waiting room than I stopped rubbing all the skin off my hands in little balls and the guy walking around carrying a barbecue lighter left. Seriously. There was a guy there with one of those long, metal barbecue lighters, and when he laid it carefully on the counter, the receptionist didn't even bat an eye. If you like people-watching, Wednesday nights are psychiatry night at the medical clinic downtown.

The psychiatrist was like every other psychiatrist I saw back in the mid-1990s. Rather than talk to me about all the difficult questions, he had me fill out tests that do a really crappy job of assessing my depression and anxiety levels and asked me how old each of my parents were, how many siblings I have of each sex, whether I have a university education, and if I am planning on killing myself. I told him that my parents are in their sixties, I have two brothers, university wasn't my bag, and, no, and I don't have immediate plans for offing myself. He handed over a prescription and let me take a moment to stop hyperventilating.

This is where the story takes a turn that makes me think I might be hallucinating this whole 2009 thing and that it's really 1955.

"Please send your husband into my office before you go," the psychiatrist said.

Back in September, a doctor actually had the gall to tell me that I'd better get well soon or my husband was going to grow tired of me. I thought that this unbelievably extreme patriarchal sort of thinking was a cultural aberration, a hiccup in the space/time continuum, but I guess not, because there I was watching the Palinode walk into the psychiatrist's office without me. That I wasn't made privy to their conversation made me feel infantile, like I was a little girl and the Palinode was my big daddy, which is okay it it's sexy time, but not in mixed company. If I hadn't just spent the last half hour hyperventilating and snorking into a tissue, I would not have allowed that to happen, but I could barely figure out how to do up my coat at that moment much less stand up against infantilization by patriarchy. I felt such shame and embarrassment about it that I didn't even want to ask the Palinode what had been said behind my back.

So, what did I do instead? I stood outside in the snow and smoked angrily. Boy, did I ever get angry all over that cigarette. I got so mad that I destroyed it with fire and probably gave myself cancer.

I have a prescription, though! And side effects to look forward to! Down with woman-hating motherfuckers!

Grace In Small Things: Part 96 of 365

Grace In Small Things: Part 95 of 365