Me: I’d like to make an appointment. I know I’m depressed. I’d like to talk to someone as soon as possible. Yes, please send a message to my primary physician. If you can also send a message to Psychiatry. We’ll see who gets to me first. (Click.)
Medical Center: This is Kaiser Hospital returning your call. We can schedule an appointment with a behavioral specialist. It’s one-step between general medicine and psychiatry. It’s not until February 20th.
Me: Ugh, fine. Let’s get it on the calendar.
Psychiatry: This is the Psychiatry Department at Kaiser returning your call. You’d like an appointment…let me check our calendar. Oh, are you available today? We have an opening at 12:30.
Me: Yes, yes. I’ll be there. Thank you.
Therapist: Catherine Gacad. Catherine Gacad? Hello. (Shake.) My office is this way.
Last time you were here was 2005. Treatment for an eating disorder. What kind of eating disorder did you have?
Me: I was anorexic.
Therapist: And now?
Me: I’m over it.
Therapist: So your eating disorder is managed. Can I ask what brings you here today?
Me: I went through a break-up last night. There is something wrong with me. I don’t want this to happen again. This was not the first time. We had been off and on for the past year.
Therapist: And what makes this time different?
Me: He said he wasn’t in love with me.
The therapist stops scribbling. He looks up, startled, compassionate.
Therapist: And how does that make you feel?
Me: I feel destroyed.
I’m sad. I’m mad. I’m upset with him. But I’m more upset with myself. I don’t want to blame him. You know, I don’t even think I do. There is something wrong with me. I want to figure it out.
Therapist: I think we’ve delved into some good ground here. You came in depressed about your break-up, but you are positive about life, about your outlook in general. Your feelings of sadness right now are normal. You recognize that there are changes that you need to make, modifications in your behavior so that you can sustain a relationship, so that you can be open to a relationship if that opportunity arrives.
You are programmed to run away. This will take work to change. I believe you are ready to work on changing your behavior. In order to do that, I need you to be open to exploring your feelings, to keep a journal to track your experiences and emotions. Alcohol and drugs cloud your experiences. We promote group therapy here at Kaiser and one-on-one counseling only for severe depression. You are not severely depressed, but I can work with you for six weeks. You must commit to not drink for the duration of six weeks. After our one-on-one time, together, we will agree on a group therapy session that is suitable for you. What do you think?
Me: Yes, I’d like that.