Poem #30

Diagnosis with the Crypt Keeper

The first time I meet my psychiatrist,
he asks if we’ve met before.

This does not bode well.

He asks why I am meeting with him today.
It’s in my chart: “She thinks she has ADHD.”
My primary care did not believe me,
of course, they never do. But I asked,
so I’m here, meeting the Crypt Keeper.
He does not know my name, keeps calling me
Merlin. How could I ever give it up?

We speak of history and I’m not sure
if this guy knows what Complex-PTSD is,
keeps asking if my parents hit me.
I keep telling him no. It was different,
pervasive, you wouldn’t understand.

We talk about school and how the kid
struggled onto honor-roll, to college,
to a job in the big city. She’s a winner,
and nothing is ever wrong with winners.

Coping is what I do, I say, please believe me
when I tell you that this is not normal. I am not
normal right now. When have you ever
watched tv, read a book, written an email,
and folded your socks at the same time?
It’s compulsive, not designed.
He listens more then, wants to know about
the family history. I tell him about cousins,
all boys, who were diagnosed after throwing
a chair at a teacher, after running themselves
ragged in the schoolyard. Girls aren’t noticed,
they just have to cope, I say. Didn’t I, huh?

Nodding, he stamps me with a diagnosis
that feels true, and gives me anti-depressants
because we’re going to “move to controlled
substances, if absolutely necessary.”
It’s Day 5, I feel calmer, but still not my best.
Focusing on art takes twelve hours, not two.
At least the work gets done.


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