Sunday, August 5, 2012

News from the Mental Health Factory

When J__, the Blythe Danner of the headshrinking set (some of you may know that I worship Blythe Danner hopelessly from afar), put the address for this blog on the blackboard early last week, my first thought was, thank goodness I haven't written anything about the group...
Oops. I just did. My typing fingers are always getting the better of me. 
J__ is the coordinator of the program, and the other morning I caught her restocking the snacky treats. I was shocked, shocked I tell you. Eight years of college and lord knows how many degrees and they have her doing the snacks. Which only goes to show that into every job a few thankless tasks must fall.
At the Mental Health Outpatient Program, J___ in particular seems to take pleasure in mortifying me in front of the whole group. I don’t know what it is about me that inspires this quality in women, but it seems to be a Common Theme. Thank the powers that I haven’t given her too much ammunition to use against me. This blog and The Partridge Family were more than enough.
Right away, the group leapt to the conclusion that a blog typed by me would be funny. I thought, Gad, are they in for a disappointment. . . Fortunately, I haven’t seen any click-throughs from the home address, and enough time has passed that I believe the burden of being funny has dropped off my shoulders.
Honestly, I think this must be the un-funniest blog in the history of blogdom. It is funny, though, that anyone would come to the conclusion that my diary would be funny based on the things that I’ve said in a group where the main topics of conversation are depression, heartache, disillusionment and thoughts of ending it all!
My time is nearly over in the group, and I’m kind of upset about that. This hasn't been at all like the experience of the Substance Abuse sessions held in the same building and sometimes by the same people. There’s been a lot less time-wasting, a lot less kerfuffling about, a lot more focus on the actual problems that trouble people, and on practical steps that can be taken to view the monster from the outside in. Not every session has offered earth-shattering breakthroughs or insights, but taken as a whole I can feel them nudging, gently nudging... Can’t say which direction the wind is blowing, and anyway the points on the compass have all been rearranged. That’s why I wish that I had more time. It would be reassuring to note a safety net down there below.
I was reminded this week that although I may not be ready to leave the group, the group may be ready to leave me: the familiar faces keep dropping out and new faces keep appearing. Soon there will be no one who knows anything of my backstory, and no one whose backstory I know. 
Attending the outpatient program got me out of the house and gave me an excuse to drag myself out of bed and play dress-up every morning, although I can’t say that I’ve come even remotely close to accomplishing the goals that J__ set down for me at the beginning of my time in the program. Well, yes, I’ve stayed dry, that’s been the relatively easy part. But when it comes down to finding an excuse for my continued existence, a sense of purpose, something to look forward to and work towards. . . well, I suppose that was a pretty tall order anyhow. Prune away to your heat’s content, you can’t imbue a gorse bush with a sense of hope. Even the Blythe Danner of the headshrinking set has her limits.
-- Freder.

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