Happiness Project

“I feel like I am so very close to being admitted.” I say, through tears as I sit in my psychiatrist’s office, staring at her…. But through her. We just sat down, I get right to the point. “We can, if you feel like you are anywhere near close…” I stutter… Shake my head no… Because I’m scared of what will happen in my real life that will faulter if I admit the truth. My dogs? What will happen to them? My husband? He would be crushed…. ‘But not as crushed as he would be if I really, actually did it. Skip admittance and right to the deed of “checking out”‘, I think to myself. My ego won’t let me. I have a tiny bit of pride left, so I say “no, not yet, I know there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, I can’t see it, but it has to be there.” My psychiatrist, the woman that has truly given me the best advice in years and really cares, is really concerned… Deeply. “I am confident that I have a solution. I have a ton of options. You have to know that we have lots of options and you need to give it a chance to work.” “I know, that’s why I’m here.” I say, heavy heart, sadness emanating. I’ve held these tears through many days and now they spill over.

By the time the hour is up, she’s increased my Cymbalta and added folic acid, fish oil and something else to my long list of prescriptions. She’s convinced that the problem is within the brain barrier and we have to get through. “It’s not your fault.” She repeats many times.

“I wanted to talk to you about something you said last time we talked. Now, I’m not a Chaplain but I’m deeply religious…” She says, with a deep crease in her brow. He face is freckled and round. She wears glasses and her light, natural red hair is in a lose ponytail laying on her back. She looks like a child. I know she is not. I know that this woman has seen far more than her innocent face portrays. To my right, is a shadow box with a dozen medals, a picture of her platoon in a sandy place on top of an M1 Abrams tank. And she, is concerned about ME.

I know she doesn’t have to talk to me about anything. She’s not my counsellor. She’s my psychiatrist. She is to assess my mental condition and prescribe meds. But, she has chosen to counsel me when she can and for that, I am deeply grateful.

“Do you want to talk about how you feel about being abandoned by God.” She said it, right out there… In the open. Like a spider hanging by it’s silk in the middle of the room. I stutter again. “I do, I mean, I just…” I don’t know what to say. What is there to say? I have studied psychology. I know what can be said about this in a psychological point of view. The view of God is or can be a direct reflection of a patient’s view on their parents. And I tell her I know this. She slowly shakes her head but doesn’t say anything. She’s waiting for me to begin.

“I cannot hear Him anymore.” I vocalize without thinking. Oh crap, does she now think I hear voices? What do I say to make her not think I’m schizophrenic. I haven’t felt this uncomfortable in her presence and I have told her almost every dirty detail of my life. “I mean that I can hear God. Or… I could hear Him. When I was at peace and my mind was open, He would guide me.” Surprisingly, she didn’t write frantically in her notepad, but she looked me in the eyes and said, “I understand how you feel about God abandoning you. I’ve talked to many people who’ve gone through the same thing. Even I have felt that way.” And we look at each other, the hurt in her eyes was there. She was tearing up. I could see it. She knows the abandoned feeling of reaching out to the the only one that completes her and have complete and absolute silence in return. “I don’t know why God does this. I can’t explain it, and it happens to all of us. First He’s there and then, silence. I don’t want to say that He does this on purpose. God is not cruel. I truly believe this. I don’t want to say that it is for a reason, but maybe in the vast scheme of things, it is.” She’s talking so fast that I can’t get a word in. She’s passionate about this. And I love it. I feel connected to her. “You have to believe that there are miracles, but they are not common. Maybe God intends your healing to come through doctors and health care providers…” She sighs, “I don’t have the answers, but I feel your pain.”

“I wanted to say that I’ve been journaling and I’ve prayed about, you know, God’s promises.” I squeak in between her rambling, through tears. I eye her, because she may not know about God’s promises.  “I went to a Christian College, I’m a Jesus freak… I believe He can heal me. I believe that He must fulfill His promises.” So I told her about my prayer about giving us happiness and how, since then, I haven’t been made happy. But all kinds of information about happiness has been coming my way. “Does God use email?” I think to myself. She flows into a new conversation just as easily as water over a cliff. “You’re on to something.” Because she knows and I know that happiness is not tangible. She mentions something about childhood and the brain being formed by trauma. I look at her, tears beginning again. “Yes, ok. There are meditations that you can do. And the body scans will help and…” I snap out of my deep sadness for a moment and grab my phone… Yes! “I have an app! It has body scans and meditations on happiness..” I open the app and she scrolls through them. “Even a whole section on veterans.” This is when she grabs her notepad.. To write down the app name. See: Meditation Studio

It was a tough session, for both of us. “I made my psychiatrist cry.”, I say to my husband later. He asks why as he reheats lunch, “because I’m pathetic.” I quip, walking away, embarrassed. He laughs, I laugh (tear ducts swollen and closed for business).

Happiness is not something that I can just be or do. The pain took that from me and rearranged my neurons over the past year and a half. The Nothing Has taken over, like Jericho. But, I do have the tools and the encouragement from a trusted friend and incredibly smart psychiatrist. So… I wasn’t admitted and #thehappinessproject has begun. Firstly… We must explore #mindfulness. Onward!

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