Saturday, December 01, 2007

I wonder if she wonders

Sometimes Melanie is very open and transparent with me, and sometimes she puts on her psychoanalyst face and I have no idea what she's thinking. It's kind of annoying, but it's probably pretty appropriate.

I wonder if she wonders what's wrong with me. I once mentioned something my psychiatrist said -- can't remember what the context was, and I'm not sure why I disclosed that, except that I like the important people in my life to know about what I struggle with. After the panel discussion I organized, when I discussed having bipolar with Claudia and Professor Supportive, it felt weird that I hadn't told Professor Fun about my disorder.

Sometimes I feel like I have more in common with the clients than the social workers. When Melanie told me about a client who is diagnosed with depression and didn't take out her garbage for months on end, I could completely relate. Taking out the garbage is hard for me, too, since I have to go downstairs and put it in the containers in front of the building -- I can't just go down the hall and drop it in a chute.

Another client, who also often gets depressed, bought 6 carrot cakes and ate four of them at one sitting.

"Four whole carrot cakes?" asked another worker.

"No, the miniature Entenmann's cakes," said my supervisor. "But it's still disgusting."

I've committed that disgusting eating pattern (with other kinds of cake, though; I hate carrot cake).

Also, I confided in Melanie, during the Thanksgiving lunch the agency held for the clients, that being around so many people made me a little nervous and was hard for me, which is why I was hiding in the back frantically plating food, instead of mingling with the 25+ clients who showed up for turkey and the trimmings. She condoled with me, saying that being in a crowded room of people you don't really know is very stressful.

But there have been other times I've conceded some anxiety, and she's looked neutrally sympathetic, and I can't tell what she's thinking. She recently increased my responsibilities and gave me some more direction than usual, and when she asked me what I thought about that, I told her that an increase in responsibility usually makes a person a little anxious. She agreed, but didn't say much.

Then on Friday I brought in three red peppers for lunch. I ordered from FreshDirect, and instead of ordering my usual six I accidentally duplicated, so they delivered 12. That's fine, I love red peppers, but they don't keep long, so I brought some in for lunch. I had a granola bar and three red peppers. And I got some inquiring looks.

"I've never seen anyone eat a red pepper like that," said another worker, as I sliced and seeded them. "Like an apple or something."

"I have to eat them before they go bad. Besides, I love fruit and vegetables, I eat them a lot. I eat in strange patterns. I can eat half a watermelon, and that's dinner," I said.

Odd looks all around. Oh, no, I've said too much... Crap.

So I wonder what Melanie thinks is wrong with me. I'm guessing obsessive-compulsive disorder. Strange rituals and patterns, lots of anxiety. Near-expert knowledge of psychopharmacology, as though I've been taking medication for years.

We also talked about how difficult it is for me to write process recordings when I worry that I'm leaving out something important. People with OCD are perfectionists. And if she saw my apartment, with all the recylables piled up and the books and papers everywhere, she'd certainly think I was a hoarder.

Or I could be completely self-conscious, and she doesn't suspect a thing. We do have fun, jokey, collegial times together. On Thursday evening, one of the male social workers, Jared, was trying to send me an email and kept misspelling my last name, which is part of my agency email address.

"What are you sending her, Jared -- a love letter?" asked Melanie.

I looked at her and raised my eyebrows.

"He seems so intent on sending it, not saying it in front of me," she clarified.

"I wouldn't have an office affair with Jared," I joked. "He's not my task master -- Eric is my task master." (Task master is the title for the person who supervises the student when the supervisor is unavailable; Eric is the other male social worker.) "I'd have an affair with my Task Master. That would put a nice S&M spin on things."

And we all laughed.

Melanie and I also both love the sugar cookies with frosting that the program director imports from New Jersey.

"You're going to get diabetes if you eat too many of those," warned Jared, as she and I bit in.

"You're going to get high cholesterol and have a heart attack and die if you keep eating those pork specials from that Cuban restaurant," I retorted. (He eats that during many team meetings, since he's usually visiting clients during lunchtime, and he's always shaking hot sauce or pouring beans on piles of pork and rice.)

"I agree," said Melanie. She thinks his pork specials are really gross; she's a semi-vegetarian.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

No comments:

Post a Comment