When my soul was sanded so raw
the capillaries couldn't even seep,
I questioned the value of pain.
"You must experience your feelings of abandonment
until you are comfortable with them," you said.
When my suicidal doppelganger
turned me inside out, pulling my anus
through my mouth, you said,
"Now that you are stripped of defenses
you have a better chance of changing them."
When I called you up one weekend
to say I was terrified of inanimate objects
like doorknobs and tea kettles, you said,
"Stay with it. Globalized fear indicates
a necessary therapeutic regression."
Finally the antidepressants kicked in
and I felt like myself.
When I left you gave me another card
since therapy was “unfinished”
and I might be back on your couch or another’s.
I gazed at your office figurines,
crystal leopards and pewter trolls,
porcelain ballerinas and kachina dolls,
and imagined the souls of your patients
trapped inside them-- those, like me,
who sought relief through words
when only medicines would do.
I could have been the glass giraffe.
(published in Slumgullion, an e-zine now defunct, I believe)
Prior to the advent of modern pharmacotherapy, manic-depressives were often seen by analysts. In reports of up to seven years of therapy, no improvement was noted.