Friday Conversations With My Psychiatrist | February 26, 2010

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Psychiatrist Day


By the time I got to my psychiatrist’s office I had been overdosing on Extra Strength Tylenol and ES Advil, as well as taking large doses of penicillin, for five days, and living with the pain of an abscessed tooth for seven days.

My brain was fried. As I sat down, and after pulling my bottles of apple juice and water from my bag, I totally forgot everything I wanted to talk about. This was a strange appointment.

In my defence, I hate mouth pain. Sore teeth, cavities, whatever. And abscesses are the motherhumping worst. This one popped up on the Saturday before my Friday appointment. Sunday and Monday I was taking a normal amount of ES Tylenol, but I was also soaking two Q-Tips at a time in OraJel and lathering the anaesthetic over the effected tooth every 45 minutes.

Monday night, after a trip to the emergency room, I had the penicillin. But the doctor told me it’d be cool if I took ES Tylenol for the pain, as well as ES Advil to reduce the swelling. From that point on I was popping both like candy. Just before I left for my Friday appointment, I checked the box and found out I had been taking slightly more than three times the “recommended” dosage for four days.

…it’s a fantastic combination, by the way. Almost straight away I could barely feel the tooth.

So, for the hour, I kept starting a conversation about an issue, then forgetting where I wanted to go with it a few seconds later.

I did a lot of staring out of his large windows, trying to collect my thoughts. But I was just wiped out.

Towards the end, after a lot of small talk and half thoughts, I finally got it together enough to bring up the deeply fractured relationship between my mother and grandmother. Earlier that week my grandmother had signed over a 150 acre property to her son, without telling my mom.

It was just the latest “fuck you” from mother to daughter. This one was just a bit larger than the others. My mother has always been convinced she was conceived out of wedlock, and this was the cause for her parents’ totally loveless 60-year marriage (she was right).

It would explain the nearly psychotic resentment my grandmother has for her daughter, and by extension my brother and I. So, while her brother has always had copies of the keys for the farm, my mother could never get her parents to loan her the keys.

My grandmother, through my grandfather, never had a problem loaning her son money for cars, for school, for his kids education. It gets weirder, because my uncle has never liked his mother, and rarely treats her with any respect. Meanwhile, my mother spent a large part of her life trying to figure out what she did to piss off her mother so, of course, during the search she tried to do things to make her mother happy.

I always think doing this — talking about other people during my appointments — is lazy. I suppose it gives some context to my own situation, but offering my psychoanalysis of the people around me isn’t really the purpose of my visits. But, again, I was coming off a lot of drugs.

It turned out there was a lot of foreshadowing in our talk about my family dynamics. A few days later my grandmother asked me some exceptionally vile questions about my girlfriend and our baby, and I told her to “go fuck yourself.”

Which, thankfully, will give me lots to talk about at this weeks appointment.

The only other topic we discussed in any detail was the behaviour of my girlfriend’s oldest son. He’s four-years old and has regular temper tantrums, mostly they consist of a lot of loud and repetitive yelling of “no”, some moderate screaming and are over in less than thirty minutes. Then there’s the occasional freak out, which lasts about an hour, and there might be the occasional “I hate you mommy” along with loud screaming, and the occasional kick at the dog.

He also does this thing where he cries to his mom “I want to be good”, as though he couldn’t stop the tantrum.

But a few weeks ago he flipped out. For more than two hours he couldn’t stop screaming. My girlfriend called me, and asked me to come over and help. When I got there his face looked like plastic, it scared the shit out of me. He was on the couch, mostly still but he’d occasionally thrash around, but just screaming at the top of his lungs.

It took about twenty minutes or so or constant hugging and reassurance, but he eventually calmed right down and acted like everything was normal.

So I talked to my girlfriend about getting him some counselling. I’m convinced the divorce, and being shuttled back and forth between two parents who can’t stand each other, is fucking with the kids head.

There are local community programs for kids going through what he’s going through, but he’s too young. So there’s a provincial agency… which I can’t remember the name of, they sent a worker to meet with my girlfriend’s son a few days ago. Everything seemed to go well.

And that was pretty much it for the appointment. Afterwards I went to the video store across the street and for $12 picked up “Waltz With Bashir”, an animated film about the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon; “Away We Go”, which is a movie about being pregnant my girlfriend and I watched a week before our son was born… it kind of took the edge off the panic, and; “Tyson”, a first person documentary about Mike Tyson. I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s supposed to be excellent.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Appointment Day, Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Bud, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Granny, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Psychiatry. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Friday Conversations With My Psychiatrist | February 26, 2010

  1. Stephany says:

    Vindictive grandmother, leaves me shaking my head about the land sign-over. Hope the tooth settles down, and I think you’re doing a great thing by helping your GS son get some therapy, art therapy anything to help him get through all of this, time with you probably really benefits him, walks and kite flying and basketball playing….

  2. Stephany says:

    oops that should read GF (girl friend’s) son

  3. Clare says:

    reading you…keep pushing through…hopes for tooth-healing…poke

  4. Tanisha says:

    Enternal Love
    Grab hold of the utmost love,
    gaze upos its eternaty.
    Passionate images enclose you in a dream.
    Chosing illusion over reality.
    Dreams over life.
    Pleasure over freedom.
    Your desires take hold where you’re sheltered.
    Only to get a glimps of a healing wish.
    Leaving unheard echoes behind.
    Waiting for the miracle that will embrace your soul.
    You’re touched by the unblemished angel.
    Your ambitious heart is betrayed, lost and wretched.
    Invisible to the eye,
    controling over your mind,
    Precious memories will stay at ease.
    Intertwined into a collapsed promise.
    Only to remember your unconditional detemination.
    So the fragile body has warmth.

  5. Cat says:

    Thank you for your amazing blog. I am not your thousand post reader but when I come across a site like yours that makes me see things differently, I do tend to spend time reading the posts, so I can get a sense of your perspective (subtitled, reading desperately to get a hand-hold on life). Two things about me: I went outside today, and Bruce Cockburn once wrote me a thank you note.

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