[Title grab from Kate Havnevik’s “Grace”. Beautiful song.]
Well, one thing came easily. I have an appointment at the ID Clinic on February 10. I don’t think they’re going to spend an hour and a half telling me I’m nuts. I do worry that they will attempt a spinal tap, in which case they will simply have to pump me full of Ativan and hope I sit still. Ditto an MRI, come to think of it.
But therapy this Saturday scares me.
The resentment I bear toward my father has built and built and now–I can hardly stand to be in the same room with him. He wasn’t much of a parent. He couldn’t provide (that was Mom). His behavioral science training fell totally flat when I began having psych issues. Actually, he coerced me into breaking up with a girlfriend while I was starting meds, along with the son of a bitch who first prescribed them. The incident that got me in to see a doctor in the first place? Yeah, that was on him, too. I panicked so hard before a concert that I knew I wouldn’t make it through the whole thing. I wanted to bow out gracefully beforehand. He insisted I go on. “Mr. B will hate you!” I ran offstage anyway, and that was the first time I seriously considered suicide: because I thought the last least judgmental person in my world hated me.
My grandfather died that summer, and I am more over that than I am over the things my dad did that spring.
I also have significant issues around the whole college-or-die philosophy. Nobody ever told me I could go for a trade and put off college (and make money!) until I knew what I wanted to do there. I hadn’t the faintest clue until sometime in 2007. What, was Guidance actively trying to fail me? I also knew, a year too late, that I should have had an IEP when my depression took hold.
For the record, parents? “But she has so much potential!” is the biggest cop-out on the books when it comes to coaxing your kid in the direction you think is right. Potential what? Potential earning power? If I had been remotely interested in/able to enter high-status fields, sure. Lots of that. But I wasn’t. Potential genius? Too bad about that missing catalyst. How, exactly, was I supposed to turn potential genius into kinetic genius, real, working genius without some kind of career path? I wish someone had pointed me toward editing, not writing. Fandom makes editors of laypeople; by the time I was eighteen, I was on par with my own mentors in that respect.
I could’ve taken a gap year to explore that world instead of going away, getting assaulted, and attempting to starve myself to death. But that would’ve been so easy! Besides, who gets a National Merit Scholarship and then throws it away? Oh, right: the student who, after one semester of hating everything about university, cracks up and has to go home and stare at a wall for three months.
Want better for your children. But clear the specifics with your kids first. Bounded choice does not count. Here. Read more on that subject while you’re thinking about it. Lalich draws on Lifton, among others, and I tend to like Lifton’s work.
So, faced with the cult mentality of college-or-die, I chose to die. The only reason I’m still alive is that spark in me that knew there was something wrong with that mentality. Now I’m going to face how my father, in particular, got caught up in that mentality, and what it did to me. And I’m going to face it with his therapist and with him. I intend, in short, to testify, and if that’s not what he’s expecting, it is at least what he will get. I can’t go any further with him until I make damn sure he’s been told. (Oh, snap.)
Then we can try to work out what went wrong from there.