Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My boyfriend meets my shrink

Yesterday did not go as I had hoped or intended. At 7:00 p.m. JV and I had an appointment with Dr. R. At 3:30 I learned my co-worker Greg was murdered last Saturday night.

Not by a client. By some stupid teenagers who'd wanted to use the machine he was using at the gym. Words were exchanged, and Greg apologized. Then they followed him into the locker room and attacked him, and Greg died.

It's impossible to believe. Greg was one of the biggest and strongest guys I know. Always working out, drinking Muscle Milk. But he wasn't a steroid-crazed musclehead. He was so gentle. Always patient, never got frustrated or mad. Talked me down off many a ledge, especially when I first started. Seems like every time I was having a total meltdown in the file room, he was there to soothe me.

Greg was such an amazing man. A man's man, but with the most beautiful manners and way about him. He was always the first to say "hey, Ayelet, how you doin'?" Simultaneously powerful and gentle. I'm repeating myself, and I'm not doing him justice. I can't. And I can't understand it, and I can't believe he's gone.

So when I met JV at Dr. R's office, I was already shaken. Listening to JV ask painful questions that Dr. R couldn't really answer didn't help. Will I be able to care for children if I have a depressive or manic episode? Do the medications I take cause birth defects? Dr. R emphasized that as my doctor, he can't really answer those questions to JV's satisfaction.

I don't know why I was expecting Dr. R to give me a clean bill of mental health, to reassure JV that I am marriageable, that I won't relegate most of the childcare to JV and drift off into my own little world. Which is what Mara did, apparently.

I was also upset that Dr. R said my medications elevate the risk of birth defects. Lithium does, very slightly; there's not much data on Remeron or Cymbalta. But the most teratogenic I ever took was Depakote, and that's one of the reasons I stopped taking it. Probably the main reason. And as a woman over 40 (which I will be by the time I conceive a child, if I ever do), I'd be a high-risk pregnancy anyway, and my doctor would monitor me closely with or without psych meds in the mix.

Dr. R reminded us that this is a process, and that at barely 2.5 months in, we might be jumping the gun a little bit. I guess it's been years since I've gotten this close to serious with anyone else. Not since my overdose in 2000. I haven't told anyone I dated since then about my illness, except Ikey Abadi, and that couldn't go anywhere.

I know JV doesn't judge me for my illness. But that doesn't mean he's ready to accept it and live with it. Especially now that he has children, who are of course his first priority.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I am sorry it was uncomfortable and frustrating. I recently had the same kind of session, but with my children. It was very difficult trying to answer my childrens' questions about my disorder, and I know I lost a lot of respect in their eyes that day. Bottom line is Mommy can't control her behavior and her responses, so why listen in the first place.

  2. Ayelet,

    Hugs to you for your devastating and shocking loss. It is so mindless and inconceivable that someone that helps people everyday should die like that.

    Also having JV and Dr. Roda finally meet would have been hard under the best of circumstances which this hardly was. Don’t over think it too much; JV may just need to know what the possibilities are, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to run screaming away. Keep giving it time and being yourself and showing JV all the really GOOD reasons to be in a relationship and possible future marriage with you.

    Hugs and bubbles,
    A long-time supporter and friend

  3. :( I'm sorry you had such a painful experience. My niece recently asked me if I had depression (she saw my "helpfordepression" email address). I told her I didn't, which was probably the wrong thing to do. I don't know how I'll ever tell my kids about this, if I have kids. You were very brave to do that.

  4. I think you did the right thing by not telling your niece. She is too young to understand the complexities of mental illness, and she doesn't live with you on a daily basis. This is information that is best shared on a need-to-know basis. My childrens' therapist thought they needed a forum to ask questions, and while in theory I believe in full disclosure, I am regretting that I ever revealed any of this to my children.

  5. i am sorry your friend died.
    Adult human males are the most dangerous animals on this planet

  6. I'm sorry about your friend. He sounds like a wonderful human being.

    I agree with the "hugs n bubbles" commenter above. Under the best of circumstances, this would have been a tough one. Take it easy. Keep breathing. You weren't going to get a big easy green go-ahead, and JV probably knew that up-front. If it were that easy, you wouldn't be taking him to meet your doc in the first place. The fact that he went with you shows that he has patience and willingness to deal, and isn't running off at the first sign of an issue. That's a lot more than a lot of guys are ready to offer. So go slow, hang in, and let worry worry about itself... breathe.


  7. To the "Mommy" commenter above:

    I think in some ways it's helpful to know that yes, Mommy has a problem, but she's taking care of it and dealing with it, not ignoring it. It's definitely better than just wondering what the hell is going on.

    My own mother has some severe depression and anxiety issues. She doesn't like talking about it, but I guess at one point we must have discussed it. I don't think we lost respect for her, knowing she needs medication to get through. I do think we lost a taken-for-granted sense of security, not knowing if she'd be able to handle things, or take care of us. But in some ways that was also due to her personality and how she deals with life in general. It's hard to see your mother as a separate human being with problems, and not as alternately goddess/blametaker, but we do learn to do it eventually if we want to. At least... I hope I have. Maybe I still need to work on getting that fully sorted out. ::sigh::

  8. Ayelet,

    I, too, offer condolences on your loss as well as offer support for your uncomfortable meeting with JV and your therapist. Truth be told though, the information that your doctor gave JV, he would have found out at some point anyway. It is good that you are trying to be so open and up-front with him. Hopefully he appreciates that and sees that as a sign of trust and willingness to face the hard road of reality in front of you, but at the same time, a willingness continue to work towards health.

    I think that everyting "S" said is right on the nose.

    As far as the medications and birth defects go, go ahead and show JV the research that you have done. If the risk does go up even a little bit, he should know that, but he should weigh it for what it is: an increase in the CHANCE of a birth defect not a guarantee.

    This has got to be so hard on you to willingly expose yourself so much to someone else that you care so much about and are partly terrified of rejection and abandonment, but YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING. Any man that you want to marry will have to face these issues with you at some point. It’s best to know whether or not that man can handle it because you NEED someone who can. You deserve to find someone who sees you, problems, strengths, charms, failings, successes, and all, and still chooses to be with you. Being open like this is the ONLY way you are going to find that man. I take my hat off to you for your courage and continue to support you from the sidelines.

  9. Thank you, everyone, for reading and commenting and leaving bubbles ;) It means a lot to have your support and your much-needed reality check.

    Yes, JV isn't about to bolt. During the difficult conversation with Dr. Roda, he kept squeezing my hand reassuringly every time he had to ask something painful. He later said he wished I didn't have to be in the room for those questions, although ethically it was probably impossible for me to leave.

    Anonymous with the children, I wish I knew what to say to help you feel better. Someday, if I'm lucky, I'll have a child or children and I'll have to talk to them about my illness. I think the final comment says it best.

  10. I am so very sorry for your loss, Ayelet. may "Greg" rest in peace.
    Its always a pity to know that people have to loose their lives because of stupid acts such as that one.

    As for your handling of your relationship & disorder....you're really doing a super job.

    Concerning the marriage thing. 2.5 months is never jumping the gun in the frum world. Get married! Seize that day! Live every day fully!

  11. I haven't checked in in a while but I agree with everyone else who gave you warm fuzzies. Truly, I'm just so stunned to hear about the unnecessary violence (now there's an understatement) that I just don't know what to say. I'm so sorry about Greg.
    JV sounds like a real catch.

  12. The murderers were teenagers not adult males and it was an adult male who was a decent human being that was murdered.

  13. Sorry to read about Greg. bde. re: marriage/kids, etc., will PM.