shelleyIt’s hard to find a good shrink in this town. I’ve been seeing the same person for several years* and she’s the only psychiatrist I can find who takes my crappy insurance and will return my phone calls. So I go to her, even though I often get the impression that she’s not actually listening to me during our sessions. There are the times when she’s looking at her BlackBerry. There are other times when I feel like I’m on the phone talking to Antarctica or something because when I finish saying something she waits 30 seconds before responding, and she’s just…blinking at me. (This could be something they teach in Shrink School. How would I know?)

There’s also the matter of the form I fill out every time I go. All patients have to fill out the front. On the back is For Office Use Only. And it’s this rather unsettling checklist that’s meant to encapsulate everything about how the Patient is presenting that day. There are 40 or so categorized items, ranging from “Patient is ☐ dissociative” to “Patient is: ☐ over ☐ under talkative” and “Patient is dressed inappropriately: ☐ too hot ☐ too cold ☐ suggestively.” It seems like something Patient really shouldn’t be able to look at, and yet there it is.

So then when I sit down and start talking she starts working her way down the checklist, and since the couch is situated 15 feet away from where she’s sitting I can’t really tell what boxes she’s checking, which then makes me kinda anxious so I’m almost certain “Patient is: ☐ anxious” is one of my greatest hits.

Anyhow. Have I mentioned she takes my insurance?

So I have 15 minutes with her every month. She’s written a couple of books about Jungian themes in film or something like that and on more than one occasion I have left with a prescription for Ativan and the recommendation that I watch Fritz Lang’s M. Last week I mentioned something that prompted her to bring up Cape Fear, which then prompted me to wonder aloud whether the bad guy was played by Robert Mitchum or if I was just confusing it with Night of the Hunter. This prompted her to dash over to her computer, saying “I just have to find this out now, it’s going to bother me until I do,” to look it up on IMDB.

I would say that searching for trivia answers on the web during a session is an unorthodox practice, but then again, I’m a latecomer to this sort of thing.

(Oh and speaking of hunters, my mom gave me an LL Bean gift card for Christmas which has proven to be about as useful as I suspected it would. I’m having trouble finding anything I want or need, though this scary Leaf Monster suit is very appealing. It doesn’t come in small sizes though.)

*And look what good it’s done!

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