Riding The Wave-Episode 2
Dr. Lisa Hamilton, the woman supposedly best suited to help me deal with my condition, is so not my image of a psychiatrist. In my mind, they are paid best friends who listen to all your trouble, ask you how you feel about everything, and look like retired school teachers. Nothing shocks or phases them, in fact, they are emotionless. Not so with Dr. H. A fetish, blonde, with a pixie haircut, she’s not your old school Southern Belle. She’s more like Athletic Barbie- tall, lithe, and very tan. Not that spray on mess either. You can tell it’s the real deal ’cause her skin is a little wrinkly around her neck. I like it. Makes her a real person in my eyes. Her office has pictures of her on a boat holding up fish of various sizes, that I presume she has actually caught. She keeps a pair of running shoes by the door and has a model kayak on her desk. I have a pretty good idea of how she manages her own mental health.
As I settle into the overstuffed leather chair that lets out a “pufft” as I sit down, Dr. Hamilton looks me over as if she can read my mind.
“Hey Stephanie, how ya’ doin’?”
“I’m good. You?”
“I just watched you have an episode in the Jeep. What was that about?”
Did I mention that Dr. H seldom wastes words? Cutting to the chase is her trademark. Two of the walls of her office are floor to ceiling windows. Basically, she has a great view of the parking lot and the marsh behind it. Of course, she saw me.
“Just riding the wave. It’s the first one I’ve had in a two days.”
“What were you thinking about right before that happened?”
I rub my hands along the arms of the chair. The cool leather begins to warm up under the friction from my palms. “I was thinking about the fact that I didn’t do my homework assignment. You know, the list of my anxieties.”
Without hesitation, I jump right in with the excuses. “This was my last week at the office. I had several good-bye lunches from different departments. I had to clean out my office, and I got the keys to the store from the realtor. And last weekend I went to Charlotte to hang out with Rachel. Things have been so busy. It just didn’t make the cut on the To Do list.”
“I see. So why do you think you had an episode in the car?”
“Probably because I didn’t do something that I was tasked to do. The goody-two-shoes in me had a problem with that.”
“Do you always do what people ask of you?”
“Actually, no. I’ve never really been a people pleaser. I don’t see the benefit in it.”
“That’s certainly an interesting response. Why is there no benefit in doing what someone asks of you?”
“I’m not saying that I NEVER do things at the request of others, but I have found that when my initial reaction is no, and I say yes anyway, I’m extremely miserable. I have watched a lot of women make themselves very unhappy and unnecessarily busy because they refuse to say no. There is no benefit to people pleasing. Folks either like you or they don’t, and it’s seldom because of what you do for them. Learning to say no was a powerful tool for me. But that’s not to say that I don’t have a relapse every now and then.”
A flash of surprise danced across her face, and then was quickly gone. She jotted down a few words on the pad on her desk, and then resumed her clinical posture.
“Do you think you would have benefited from making a list of your anxieties?”
“I’m sure I would have. It was just a busy week is all.” Why was I starting to feel and act like a petulant teenager? I am here to get help. Dr. H. remained unfazed.
“Let’s do it now. You can make a list of all of your anxieties during this session.” Before I could answer, she reached into her draw and pulled out a fresh legal pad. She then grabbed a pen out a red mug with the word “Diva” on it in bold black script and slid the pen and paper across the desk to me.
I reached over and took the items and placed them on my lap. I looked out of the window behind Dr. Hamilton at the grasses growing out of the marsh. They were swaying in the gentle breeze. Apparently the consequence of not doing homework at home is doing homework in session. I looked back down at the blank pad and began to write:
Opening a book store in this economy
Did I do the right thing by letting my daughter go live with her dad
Will my store make money
Will I be able to pay my bills
Will I be able to retire
Is the bookstore a whim or a passion
Will I regret leaving corporate America
When I was done. I slid the pad back across the desk. Dr. H read in silence, and then asked: “Why did you leave off your orgasms?”
“You didn’t list your orgasms as part of your anxiety. Why?”
I blink a few times before I answer. “The orgasms are obvious. They are the reason that I’m here. I want them to stop.”
“In order for the orgasms to stop, you need to understand why you are having them.”
“I deal with my stress. Head on. I don’t run or hide from it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. I dive right in so that I can get it over with and on to the next thing. I don’t spend a lot of time ruminating over why something is happening. I look for the solution.”
“In other words, you rush through one difficult situation so that you can tackle the next without rest or stopping to examine what you may have learned or what you can do differently. You do realize that stress can kill you.” I never said Dr. H. was Suzy Sunshine. “You have to learn to release your stress and anxiety. That’s why you are having the involuntary orgasms. Find other ways to blow and you’ll take back your clitoris.”
The absurdity of the conversation was so not lost on me.