Saturday, April 12, 2008
I had my first session with my psychologist on Thursday. I was nervous sitting in the waiting room waiting for her to surface and call my name. But I picked up a Heart and Soul magazine for which my cousins wife used to be the Editor in Chief. I flipped through the front sections and was surprised to see her picture there. She's back with the magazine! Cool! I wanted to go around the room and say "That's my cousin's wife!", but that would be pretty silly. Coincidentally, the article she wrote was about black women and mental health. Black women don't like to seek help for mental health. How true that is? I think the black community in general is reluctant to see a doctor for any health problem. There's alot of mistrust and institutionalized racism that keeps us from wanting to get involved with the health care system. Our history with the health care is tainted with multiple forms of prejudice and mistreatment(Tuskegee Experiment, Eugenics/Forced Sterilization, targeting us for certain contraceptives (e.g. Norplant)) Even on my OB/GYN rotation at a community hospital that sees mostly poor black and hispanic women, the residents and attendings pushed women to accept "provider-controlled" contraceptives, like the Depo shot. There is benefit to spacing pregnancies, but still it should be the woman's choice. That is what the Pro-Choice movement was originally about, allowing women the choice of not to conceive and birth children for whatever reason. The movement changed though for political and social reasons. It became more about controlling unwanted populations, i.e. poor people and minorities. The movement took off from there.
As for mental health, I think that most of the black community either relies on God, tobacco, illegal drugs, and/or alcohol to take care of our issues. The problem with the last 3 are obvious, but God or faith in him is very helpful. I've relied on Him in the past. I think this time though, I got to a point where I wasn't sure God actually cared and I thought maybe he wanted me to be this way. Who wants to rely on someone that doesn't seem to be there for you? When you get to that point, that's when you know something isn't right and getting professional help would be a good idea. No one understands that. I didn't understand until I went through it. My professor told me Thursday morning that this would make me a better doctor, because I'll be able to relate to my patients. It helps to really understand what someone is going through. We are taught as medical students to empathize, but to sympathize because you've been there creates a much stronger bond.
Anyway, back to the waiting room. My therapist appeared around the corner. I looked up to find an older white woman probably in her late 50s. I was a little dissapointed, hoping to get someone younger. She wasn't even on the same floor as the others. I don't know why this bothered me, but it did. We had to walk down a flight to get to her office. Once there, I told her about why I originally came in and what my problems were past and present. Then she asked about family and friends. I told her how I rarely talk to my brother, I talk to my sister once a month, and my mom calls me once a week. I told her I have a couple of good friends at school that I talk to pretty regularly. Then she asked if I had a boyfriend. Why did she have to ask that? And why did I have to mention Skittles? I should have just kept my mouth shut. I tried to describe him in the best light possible. But descriptors like met on myspace, lives in florida, limo driver, and rapper were red flags to her. She asked if I looked up anything on him. Yes I have and he is a rapper, he has music all over the net. But I'm not gonna pay the 39.95 to find out his address, credit history, job history, and whatever else you can find out from those people search sites. She asked if I knew who he works for, how old he supposedly is, when and where we're planning to meet. Suddenly, I felt like I was talking to my sister and regretted even mentioning him. She ended the interrogation with "Maybe you should think about how much you actually have in common with him." She wasn't gonna understand that meeting people on the net is normal now and although he may not be Dr. so and so, or have a white collar career, I still love him for who he is and what he is to me.
I try not to be classist. As long as a guy can speak intelligently and has some ambitions he's working toward career-wise, I'll talk to him. To get further, we have to have some type of connection whether sexual, intellectual, spiritual, or a combination. And to stay together, we have to fulfill some need in each other's lives. With skittles I have all of that. Even though we haven't met, I feel like we've already made love. It's a strange feeling.
I talked to my sister for the first time since January, the other night. She says my adopted nephew is going to grow up to be a sociopath, my biological niece's therapist refuses to see her anymore, and my adopted niece is completely normal, just boy crazy. I'm concerned about her parenting skills. She herself is a counselor and has taught parents how to deal with their problem children. So of course she feels she knows it all. But if you are concerned your child might grow up to be a sociopath, maybe you need extra help. I think my nephew will grow up to be the type of guy that charms the hell out of people to get his way and if he doesn't he'll blow up. That seems to be his modus now. Honestly I think the kid is a normal boy and my sister and her husband are the wackos. He'd probably be fine in a more nuturing less contricted environment. They have multiple rules, that are kinda pointless. No food upstairs, no snacks after this time, no tv before this time, can't go to friends houses, etc. So many rules to break for a kid who supposedly can't follow rules. And she gets frustrated over it. She has a lock on the fridge now. It's ridiculous to me. I try to give her advice, but I'm the little sister.
My sister asked me if I was talking to anyone new. I said no. As if I would tell her, please! Will she ever understand?