As expected, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. The most interesting document is the initial assessment from my psychiatrist when I was about 9 years old. The words seem to echo hollowly, almost appear meaningless: “very perfectionistic, overly sensitive, shy, withdrawn little girl,” “extremely irritable, quick to flare, overly sensitive, etc,” “devaluing of herself, may make threats about wishing she was dead, talks about herself being a ‘bad person,'” “overachiever… wants to be the best and do the best.”
It sounds simplistic too me, almost offensively so. Words about “no signs of depression,” “happy and content most of the time,” “no unusual fears or phobic reactions.” I know, I know, that this was an initial assessment and things changed. I have my mom’s “book,” in which she basically wrote diary entries about my emotional health.
Even going through those entries, which I’ve read before too, are tiring to me. They seem one-sided, clinical. I know, I know, they can’t be any other way, but I wish there was something more here.
In these piles of papers, these yellowing sheets of lined notebook paper, I want to find an explanation. I want to understand what happened, who I was, where I was and how I survived. I want an explanation.
In a letter to my therapist and psychiatrist from my father, he writes:
“we’re both concerned that B’s egotism is so extreme that it impairs moral judgment. She seems utterly unable to summon empathy, and when she does her purpose seems more manipulative than empathetic.”
“B reports that she feels depressed. We know that she feels like a ‘bad’ person when her behavior is inappropriate, but we can’t help but feel sometimes that her apologies are manipulative.”
I know, I know, that my parents love me more than most anything else on the planet. But flipping through these papers, notes, letters, diagnoses, clinical terms and records of meds increased and decreased, up on the Klonopin, down on the Risperdal, I feel like pieces of the puzzle are missing. They’ve filled in some, the medical records filled in one or two, my feelings (complex to describe as they are) fill a chunk, but I still have no narrative, no story I could tell. If I wrote my memoir, I wouldn’t know what to say.