Misperception versus reality

So, in Florida I tried to see a gynecologist in about the 3rd year we were there.

I saw a sign, I dont now remember where, saying “A Place for Women.”

So, I called them up.

I went in for my appointment; I filled out the paperwork. For the “date of my last gyn visit” I accidentally put down 1989 instead of 1999. I was doing that all the time until the 2000s. After getting stuck at Wernersville State Hospital in my 20’s I went into an alternative reality, and in my head it was still the 80’s. So, 1996 would always come into my mind as 1996, et cetera. So, the turn of the century was a watershed for me. It blew my mind.

So. I wrote 1989 instead of 1999 on the form; also, that I had a 5 year old son. I was extremely overweight at this time and taking a pile of psych meds.

So, the nurse practitioners 1st question was, “did you have your son on the couch?”

I was horribly embarrassed, of course not, I had him at the hospital outside Buffalo, New York, after driving there from San Diego at 7 1/2 months pregnant. It was quite a story and my reason for needing some support in that regard.

But, SHE GOT THE WRONG IMPRESSION.

I was desperate to make that connection and instead I got a disconnect from society.

There were always things that were a little weird or bizarre about me, but generally I was able to turn that around with a core of decency.

In this case that got totally screwed.

I am looking back at this right now. It is just so painful. And saying to myself. “Was that just Florida at work?” Im not sure.

I tried to correct the impression but there was no way to do it. Its like Marcel Proust, in Swann’s Way: the nephew doesn’t tip his hat to his uncle as he passes him in the street, there is a reason for it (I dont remember this very well) but the uncle doesn’t know this and thinks he’s been snubbed and never speaks to the nephew again.

For some reason, I didnt want to go to another gyn office. I continued to see this NP throughout the rest of my 16 years in Florida.

So, I wanted to make the point about the bizarre edge to my life and personality. I can be misperceived; generaly it can be corrected but sonetimes it cant.

For instance, that all my answers to the Rorshach ink blot tests when they tested me at the state hospital during my first admission there; that they all looked like insects.

At the time I wrote that off as an erroneous test result but, looking back I see it was profound. I PLAYED WITH INSECTS WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL! I didnt remember! I was just so lonely!

My mother said everything was bad, the people were bad the fruit was bad. Nothing was the same as England where everything was lovely. I played with melted tar on the edge of the street and she used butter to get it off my hands.

I had such low self-esteem.

Every where I looked everything was bad compared to some wonderful faraway land.

At the state hospital I was all puffed up with PRIDE over my recent accomplishments, graduating from Kent School and Harvard University. Even though I was suicidal, these things made me feel very important. BECAUSE of my low self-esteem.

The nurse practitioner at the state hospital who I saw fir counseling rge first tine I was there had to ENCOURAGE ME to look at the negatives.

I had almost died and as I woke up again, Everyrhing felt like springtime And IT WAS SPRINGTIME! The park was so lovely

My friend Georgia, from my 3rd stay, was one of the few residents who had been far from Berks County, this was an issue for me because I just couldnt connect and they were FORCING me to do so and this put me at risk of getting into an inappropriate relationship which I did do.

Georgia had been all over the place.

She described herself as “non-verbal.”

She has been dogging me all these years. Over something I did. It wasnt as bad as you thought, Georgia. It wasnt what it seemed. I am so sorry.

She told me about her early childhood, it sounded pretty horrible.

I did some bad things in my head back then. I had no mental training or religious formation or self-discipline. It was pretty shocking that I somehow managed to get through Harvard-Radcliffe College that way. I realized it, and spent the rest of my life trying to live up to it.

After the state hospital, from ’88 to ’90, I used to try to follow somehing I read, and its embarrassing that I cant remember where, I think it was in a famous Supreme Court Decision; about the importance of keeping up the APPEARANCE as well as the FACT of propriety.

That was what preoccupied me in my peregrinations post-Wernersville, post-Harvard Advocate President as I sat smoking in my mothers garage and driving the country roads trying to avoid rage reactions and on medication for seizures.

Then, I met my husband to be and we left town.

That was a dark time. Another one started when I returned here from Florida after divorcing my ex husband. Within a few weeks my mother was threatening to put me in the state hospital.

Here I am today.

Its the Clozaril; and largely quitting smoking. All those old, bad things have passed away.

The Clozaril is the oldest and best ‘newer’ antipsychotic med. I was put on it during a year long stay on an inpatient unit after a serious overdose in 2016 when I was just so ill that I could barely even hold myself up any more.

Someone finally cared.

I am a different person. Those two things have enabled me to turn over a new leaf. Whatever I may have done in the past, i likely dont do it any more.

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