Patients and therapists and hospitals…Oh my!

As much as I talked at home with my parents, I didn’t talk nearly as much at the out-patient facility. Part of that was my shyness, but I also think I knew I’d give myself away as cuckoo if I talked too much.

The other patients talked too much anyways. I picked up on this relatively quickly, and I felt like I needed to stop people from rambling and droning on and on. Some people, once given permission to talk, would take up all the time allotted to a question or activity.

Even though I didn’t ever feel like sharing, people going on and on and on drove me bonkers (even more so than I already was, naturally). One day, I was the first person into the classroom, and I decided to draw on the whiteboard. On the left, I wrote GO in big green letters; on the right, I wrote STOP in big red letters. The rules of the game sufficiently explained, I put a chair right under the board so everyone could see me and the rules.

Th therapist for that session started with asking people how they were feeling, or some other obscenely vague and ambiguous question. Now was my time to shine. I put the red marker in my left hand, the green marker in my right hand, closed my eyes, and then conducted the conversation. As the first person talked, I would raise the red marker if I felt like she was oversharing, and once she changed the topic, I’d raise the green marker.

This did not go over well with her or the other patients. After much grumbling, the therapist asked me to join the rest of the group. My rouse garnered some unwanted attention from the therapist, and he asked me to share something with the group. I had never talked in front of the whole group before. I didn’t know what to say, so I told them about what I did the night before.

Long story short, I had gone on a bike ride with my dad around our neighborhood and we got separated. I rode around our neighborhood rather frantically on my search for him. I was afraid he hadn’t come with me and I was imagining things again. 

I told the whole, long story to the group (minus thinking I’d imagined my dad). Instead of thanking me for sharing, the therapist told me my dad and I should have had lights on our bikes so that people in cars could see us. 

First of all, I stepped out of my comfort zone to share with the group, and the therapist criticized my story. Second of all, it was August or September, so the sun didn’t go down at six, which is when we went on our ride. 

I vowed not to share with the group after that. I hated being in the room with all those people anyhow. They were all a lot crazier than me, and they made me uncomfortable. I would either hang out outside the room, trying desperately to read, or I would hang out with the therapists who weren’t running a session.

These two habits were not necessarily conducive to me staying in the out-patient program, and shortly thereafter, my psychiatrist discharged me from the hospital. This came somewhat unexpectedly, so my parents were a bit miffed.

I didn’t really get a proper goodbye with my favorite therapist, which made me sad. But part of me was relieved to be rid of the place. I knew I didn’t belong there, and it felt good to move on.

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