Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gynecologist’s Visit

If any guys read this, here’s your chance to turn back. Not that I’ll be graphic.

Since I’m thirty, I decided to bit the bullet and get the full check-up. I don’t know why thirty is the magic age, well, okay, I know part of it. Thirty is the age by which if you haven’t shown signs of bi-polar disorder you are free of it. That was my sword of Damocles as it were, that I’d be like my mother. That I’d have her disorder. Like everything in my life, there’s a lot more to it. Living with a woman who was as wild as her, and a brother that whether he is bi-polar or acted wildly to be more like her and be accepted, well, I never learned what emotions were or how to express them. But that’s another post.

One of these days I’ll get into the physiological aspects of PTSD, for now, I’m just writing these entries as things come up. And today, it was the gynecologist.

She came highly recommended by a workmate. And she was incredibly friendly. The part I always hate of any new doctor is when they ask for family history. I’m honest.

“My mother lied a lot,” I tell her fighting back a tear. I knew I would tear up. It’s a new situation and, dammit, it triggered a memory that I’m fighting against. “For instance, when she had gastric bypass surgery she told everyone she had cancer instead.”

“I had a friend like that in college,” she told me, “our whole senior year she told everyone she had ovarian cancer. She didn’t.”

I don’t know my family medical history. That bothers me at times. My mother also lied to me a lot to keep me ‘in line.’ For instance, if I wanted pizza she’d tell me I was lactose intolerant. If I wanted strawberries I was allergic. If I liked a boy in school she told me we were related and I was a sinner. Blah, blah, blah. So while I’ve been allergy tested for most things, there are still a lot of questions left. The only thing I know for sure is that she is, by all standards, bi-polar.

“That must have been hard,” the doctor told me. “My mom tells me some of her stories. Her grandmother abused her horribly.” I sigh, because abuse is just so common.

Then she asks how I’ll do in this, how I’m feeling. I tell her the truth, that besides the possibility of a flashback, I’m all for it. I run at my fear now, not away from it.

See, when I first started having my period my mom did the sensible thing and took me to the woman’s clinic in our hometown. There was only one, and it was a good drives away down an old country road. The first time I went as the doctor explained about hair ‘growing between your legs’ I started cracking up picturing my inner thighs turn into Chewbacca. I had learned this already in school and knew what pubic hair was. But the second memory –

One of the things I have to work on in therapy is how I view my memories. The worst ones, I see them as one watches television – on the outside looking in. I’m completely detached. I need to get back into myself and look out, to feel my emotions and see through my own eyes, not those of the observer I became.

This one, it’s half and half. Half in, half outside observer. And, like the worst memories, there are gaping holes in the action. What I remembered, and what played through my mind as I was talking to the doctor as I fought back tears, was a fight with my mother. I forgot what started it but I was yelling at her. I was loud. She then decided that I was crazy and it was a PMS induced insanity. Thus, and I think my brother helped, it’s just darkness in my mind, she dragged my out of the house by my hair and into the car. Then she drove me to the clinic as I kicked and cried in the back seat of the car.

My brother’s smile. I remember that clearly. Him looking down at me with his smile. He had this particular smile that just by him doing it frightened the shit out of me. It meant something was up. I really can’t describe it, but it wasn’t a happy smile, it was an evil one, one of power over another. I remember screaming just when I saw it; the sides of his lips curl up. He must have helped her, because I remember that smile as I lay in the backseat of the car.

She dragged me to the clinic the whole while screaming about how I was going crazy. I was insane. I was unstable.

I don’t remember if I ever saw the doctor. I don’t think I did. A nurse came out and saw the scene, maybe she realized who the real crazy one was. Although, not enough for me to be taken away from my mother.

This memory came up as I sat there talking with my doctor and I started to tear up. It was strong. But you know what? I’m getting there. While I recognize that it’s not the best that for part of that memory I was watching myself helpless in the backseat of the car, I still went though with my appointment. I didn’t faze out of the situation either, I was able to ask the doctor questions about what was happening, about how everything looked.

In the end, the doctor said I did marvelously, that she has had patients come in with a similar history and just seize up and cry. But I didn’t want to let the memory overtake my present. I want to live in the now. I do, however, realize that perhaps that’s a memory I need to work on as even now typing it I want to cry and I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have control of it yet, or that perhaps it is one worth crying over.


Amel's Realm said...

I think you're doing it marvellously, as well, Vic. I think oftentimes we need to give ourselves time to mourn over sad events/experiences. At least for me it helps me move on. If I deny myself the mourning period, I'll never be able to move on. So I think crying over it is good for a period of time, and then you can let it go.

I salute you for your bravery to face your dark memories. Keep up the GOOD WORK, girl!!! :-)))) I know you'll make it through...one step at a time...one moment at a time!!!

Victorya said...

Actually, you might be on to something. Not only didn't I get to live my childhood, but I really never got to mourn it's loss either.

Perhaps tears are okay on occassion :)

Amel's Realm said...

Yes, I believe tears are necessary on occasion he he he...

Just be kind to yourself: this is actually my own resolution for this year he he he...

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

You must pick it apart, over and again, disassemble it, so it loses the power it holds over you. As an adult, I had a sister I could do that with. (Sure was a pain the arse when she wanted to drag me through HER painful memories, though!) It became better therapy than any shrink could offer - the common ground and shared secrets diffused a lot of the helplessness. You are incrediblly brave, remarkablly astute, and extremely intelligent, but most of all.. you are a SURVIVOR, my friend. x