It is so hard to resist the urge to describe my waiting room experience in detail. I mean, technically a waiting room is a very public place and anything you do there is in front of a bunch of complete strangers. There’s surely no expectation of privacy in the waiting room… but the waiting room at a mental health clinic is certainly entertaining. I brought a book anyway, and it ended up coming in mighty handy.
Okay, so I can’t resist the urge entirely. I went in around quarter to noon and waited in this place for probably two hours or so. In that time there were plenty of people who just sat and waited or walked in and gave the name of the person they had an appointment with. A few were twitchy, some demanding, but mostly just quiet people sitting. Normal stuff for the most part… but there was one shining example of why we were all there in the first place. She came in wearing dress pants under an actual dress over which she had a hooded sweatshirt. She carried a briefcase (and maybe a backpack, too, because she kept producing more bags). She reminded me a lot of that overly made up character from the Drew Carey show… only with shorter hair.
She wore headphones the entire time, but lifted one up when addressed directly and yelled everything she said whether they were over her ears or not. I won’t give every detail I remember, but a few highlights won’t hurt, right? This is a facility that accepts the state medical card and is located downtown just a short couple of blocks from the public safety building. Prisons and courthouses surround the place, and they have been the go-to office for suicide watch/support since I was a teenager. Basically, they are always busy. Walk-ins must wait typically between 2 and 3 hours to see a counselor for the initial assessment. I had walked in and brought a two-inch thick paperback to keep myself occupied.
This woman was informed of the wait and of course yelled “WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT TWO TO THREE HOURS? CAN’T YOU TALK TO SOMEBODY? I’LL WAIT A FEW MINUTES AND THINK ABOUT YOUR COMPETITORS! MAYBE I’LL GO TALK TO THEM INSTEAD. YEAH, YOU SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO.” …and so on and so forth. After seating herself and her companion, she proceded to read aloud the title of every magazine, comment on the types of magazines available (Outdoor Photography, Working Mother) and how someone had hand delivered these so this must be a nice place. She implied that their unwillingness to see her must be a result of them being either too busy, too stupid, or MAYBE THEY’RE JUST SCARED! (nevermind that there are barely any seats left in the place).
After she was called to the window again they offered to call her at home for an assessment and she agreed, but not after more harassment of the receptionist and threats to steal the stapler near the window what wasn’t staffed because “Nothing’s using it” because “THAT WINDOW DOES NOTHING”.
Anyhoo, I kept my nose in my book because she had a tendency to speak to people around her whether the seemed interested or not and frankly I wasn’t in the mood for any more craziness in my life. When I finally did get called back to speak with a counselor she was very nice and we probably talked for an hour and a half. After all was said and done she had created a sort of file for me, and referred me to somewhere else. I suppose it should feel good to be told that I don’t seem to have a mental disorder, just a lot of transitional grief so-to-speak. I’ll be calling one of the references she gave me and making an appointment there to seek treatment for my attention deficit issues.
I suppose it should be a relief, and it is to some extent. I know that I’m not off my rocker completely, just dealing with a lot of things in the last five years or so that get overwhelming. Journaling on this blog helps, and I’m lucky to have a few friends who are always willing to listen. If I can just get to a place where I’m able to talk it out, I’ll eventually work though everything one way or another. Of course it wouldn’t hurt to have my brains in better order either…