Friday Conversations With My Psychiatrist | An alternate recovery tool and a psychotic Granny

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Psychiatrist Day


I purposely missed my last appointment with my psychiatrist. Something happened, I was angry at myself and depressed as a result, and didn’t feel like talking about the incident. So I skipped. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve skipped an appointment because I didn’t want to talk.

My next appointment is Friday, August 13, and I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to talk about what happened by then.

Our appointments have been fairly infrequent this summer. Generally we see each other for seventy to ninety minutes every two weeks, but he’s had some deserved vacation time, plus a couple of conferences. Or something.

So, the last time we were together was July 16, 2010, and we discussed a lot of stuff… most of which had me ready to throw a chair through one of his large windows.

But the beginning of our appointment — this is from memory, and my note taking still sucks, so some of it might be a little off — was spent talking about my new recovery tool… the archives of our local 120-year old newspaper.

The idea was to search through the archives, find out what happened in this region during the Great Depression, write about it on my other blog, put together a larger piece for the newsletter of the local historical society, then offer something to the local paper.

Having a place to go, having a reason to leave my apartment, felt great. Semi-business attire instead of sandals and cargo shorts, interacting with adults. It all comes from my decision to start up my other blog, and to give it a purpose.

Most importantly, it gave me something to think about other than my relationships and the diseases and the mind numbing everyday bullshit I have to think about otherwise.

As a recovery tool I don’t think I could have had someone else plan it out better than this, and it worked for almost three weeks.

Unfortunately it just hasn’t worked for the past two weeks.

Two, almost three weeks ago, the crosswalk lights in the intersection outside my window started to malfunction. For ten days the sound beacon wouldn’t stop it’s electronic tone-deaf beeping. So I couldn’t sleep at night, which meant I was sleeping during the day, or I was exhausted. So no newspaper archives.

Once that got fixed, my girlfriend’s work schedule got messed up, so I ended up taking care of her 4.5-year old son for most of the week. At least it felt like most of the week. So no archives.

But, back at the time of the appointment, it felt like a huge weight had come off my shoulders. Just having something to do, something I could talk to my grandfather about… it felt great, sitting in my psychiatrists office, to have a plan.

And, personally, I think it’s a great plan. Nothing too fancy, no grand goals, just something to do that I’m interested in doing. I just have to actually get it done… which is almost always the problem with most of my plans.


Then we got into the relationship between my son and his older brother. Last week most of this got sorted out, but back during the appointment… my girlfriend’s oldest son is 4.5-years old, and he’s neglected by his father (STBEH). Neglected to the point where it’s really abandonment.

STBEH has visitation rights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every second weekend — Friday at 4pm until Sunday at 7pm. Over the summer, and on long weekends, the weekends get stretched to Monday at 7pm. As it stands, right at this moment, STBEH has seen his son for four hours over the past four weeks.

On his visits STBEH will drop his son on the couch, turn on the Wii, then disappear into his room where he’ll play online poker for hours at a time. We’ve had phone calls from the kid begging us to come and get him, because his father hasn’t done anything with him all night.

All that to say, the kid is getting really fucked up.

He basically has his most insane outbursts when he realizes he’s going to his fathers, and a few hours — maybe a day — after he gets back.

He’s also starting to take some of his frustrations out on my son. Which has me worried. I caught him, just before my appointment, getting ready to hurt Victor. He had Victor’s arm in his hands and was getting ready to twist it — it was bizarre, he was looking at me and smiling the whole time while, in slow motion, he twisted my sons arm.

I was on the couch, but when I realized what was going on I bolted across the living room, grabbed his hands away from Victor, pointed right between his eyes, and said ‘you do not do that, ever.’ And, once I let him go, he just asked if I’d like to play a game.

So… my worry is, my son has a brother who is going to grow up somewhat broken, and he’ll have a large influence on my son’s life. My bigger worry is I’ll see him hurting my son, and I’ll react badly.

But last week we spent a lot of time together, and it went way better than I thought it ever could. So there’s hope.


My mother, at the time of the appointment, had been pressuring me to allow her to take my son to visit my grandfather at his retirement home. The only problem I had with that was her mother would be around at the same time. I do not want my grandmother to be near my son.

It’s pretty simple. My grandmother is an evil, psychotic bitch who has abused every member of my family, and I want the abuse to end here. My mother, meanwhile, has spent the past five months defending the woman who abused her for sixty years.

Just before my appointment my mother talked to my grandmother about what was going on, and my Granny said she didn’t remember demanding to know why I hadn’t gotten my girlfriend to have an abortion. Or the time she told me my son probably wasn’t even mine.

So, after getting some partial assurances from my grandmother that nothing bad will ever happen again — assurances, but no acknowledgement of the bad shit — my mother asked me to, basically, just get over it.

After all the stories my mother told me when I was a child, of the abuses done to her by her own mother… after all that indoctrination, after all the bullshit my grandmother pulled on my brother and I, after everything she said about my son… fuck that, I wish the old bitch would hurry up and fucking die.

So… it was about here that I wanted to throw the chair through the window.


But something occurred to me in that appointment that I hadn’t thought of before. Twenty-five years ago my grandfather — who does have some coin — went out and bought himself a bunch of really expensive stuff. A new car, a leather jacket and a satellite dish. And my grandmother flipped out.

Because there’s no pension. When my grandfather resigned he took his severance package from 50-years of service, and invested it instead of relying on the pension plan. So without my grandfather, and his money, she’d have to rely entirely on her own nursing pension.

One of the things she said to me during her bizarre interrogation, was someone had overheard me saying I was going to inherit all of my grandfather’s money, so I wouldn’t have to worry about looking after Victor.

…I think the idea of being poor, like she was growing up in Alberta during the Great Depression, is like a giant glass sliver in her brain, and she’s trying to make sure it doesn’t happen if my grandfather dies before she does.

It explains a lot of her psychotic behaviours over the past twenty-five years… like how she made sure my mother always knew there was nothing in the will for her, but just gave 200 acres of land to my uncle.

I don’t know… there’s something there.




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, crazy people with no pants, CSG, Granny, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Psychiatry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Friday Conversations With My Psychiatrist | An alternate recovery tool and a psychotic Granny

  1. Bromac says:

    The research and writing is a fantastic idea! I’m glad you found that outlet and I hope you can get back to it soon.

    UGH–the brother incident is frightening. Sad. He sees you being a father like he wants. He doesn’t know how to express his emotions regarding his own abandonment and treatment. He wants someone else to hurt like he does. Victor doesn’t hurt, and Victor gets what he doesn’t. Sad. And scary.

    Interesting that you’ve started the research on the Depression and then recognize a connection with your own family. Cool.

    Take Care

  2. Chris says:

    I had a great visual of you throwing the chair through the large window even though we’ve never met. And I don’t know what your doctor’s office looks like.

    Thank you so much for the link! This is a great blog.

    Take care,

  3. Yo is Me says:

    is that a dancing beetle on your header? did you change that just for me? i’ll pretend you changed it just for me.

    UUUUGH. this is why people tell you not to date people with kids. you don’t get to pick the ex. asshole parents bother me. i hate them.

    maybe victors brother is just testing boundaries. they like to do that. poke. poke. pokepokepoke.

  4. auralay says:

    I think it’s great that you’re there for your girlfriend’s son. My dad was/is a neglectful parent, so I grew up pretty broken. However, I was lucky enough to have my grandfather in my life as a positive male role model/influence, thus buffering the effects of abandonment that I had to deal with.
    This is in no way saying that you have to step in and be a surrogate parental figure for her son, but know that just by being there, playing with him, talking to him, telling him no when he needs to hear it… you’re really helping him out in the long run. A lot.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Bromac… that’s pretty much exactly what my psychiatrist said. His thinking is the kid will see what we do together, then compare it to what he does with his father, and start to resent me. It’s a little convoluted, but it makes sense because I’m pretty sure I did the same thing during some of my mother’s relationships. Something I do worry about is him taking out his frustrations on my son — I’m not even really sure at this point if he recognizes I’m Victors father. I do know when I’m in my girlfriend’s apartment he does put himself in between Victor and I at every opportunity.

    Hello again Chris… and thanks for writing that. My psychiatrist has three large plate glass windows that look out onto a small river, some brush and — across the little river — a restaurant. On the right, as you walk into the office, there’s his large brown desk, his chair, some filing cabinets behind him, his diplomas are on the wall directly to your right. Just to the left, and in front of you are a gravity scale and a nice couch. There’s a large space behind the couch where he stores some stuff… I’ve never really looked. When you open the door you’ll also be looking out the windows. There are two comfortable, yet light enough to throw, chairs close to his desk. I sit in the one closest to the door.

    Hi Yo, that’s a tired bumblebee. I always had the same rule — never date someone with kids. Four years ago I started to get involved with a woman with a three-year old boy. She was very upfront about everything, and brought him along on several of our “dates”. At first he was pretty reluctant to be around me… I got pretty freaked out at how fast he grew attached to me. Breaking up with her was actually, probably, a mistake. But it happened.

    It was also pretty disturbing how quickly my mother adopted my then-girlfriend and her baby.

    Hi auralay, and thanks for that. I think I’ve been way too hung up on trying to define the boundary between my influence on the kid, and what his fathers should be, because the father really isn’t interested in being a father, and I’m going to be a part of his sons life… well, pretty much forever. But, at the same time, it has to be up to the kid to decide what our relationship should be. So… we’ll have to keep doing stuff together.

  6. Pingback: Another reason why everyone should Hate my Grandmother | …salted lithium.

  7. Melanie says:

    Hey hon. I know what it’s like to have a “broken” child and to see what they’re going through and what they do to cope. Sam is similar with Jess sometimes, only verbally. She’s jealous of the “normal” life Jess has had in comparison. If you ever need any advice, you know how to reach me. Until then, take care.

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