Dr. Wise’s office is soothing and quaint. The blinds on her two large windows allow the sun to filter in for just enough light. There is a sound machine somewhere within her office that is playing the sound of water running through a brook. Next to the chair for which she is sitting is a small end table and on it is a large mason jar filled with water. The frosting on the glass makes you thirsty, but this water is strictly for her. There are paintings of Black America on her walls. In a corner she has a plethora of plaques and awards for her work in psychology. They sit on the floor as if to say she has been there, done that. The paintings that hang on her wall are more important than her psychology commendations.
Even with this soothing atmosphere, I am anxious. I know that this doctor is fully capable of helping me. What makes me nervous is her strength, her tenacity, and her ability to keep it real. She reminds me of Maxine Waters, no chaser here. I look at her and I see what I thought that I used to be. To have to reveal that I am no longer this strong, intelligent, and driven woman is humiliating to me. I sit in the chair across from her waiting to say something. She is writing in a what appears to be her file on my case. The silence is nerve racking and I am two seconds from getting up and walking out. My urge and need to flee has kicked in and I am ready to go. My shoes feel as though sand or cement has been placed in them and this prevents me from moving. I realize that this aint nothing but God holding me still.
“So, how are things?” Duhhhh….. “Fucked up!” Dr. Wise takes her Mont Blanc pen and make another note in my file. “Jacinta, how do you feel today? Are you tired? Are you in any pain? If so, how would you rate your pain on a scale of one to ten?” Tears roll, a sign of weakness that is coming far to often on a regular basis for me. I have got to get it together. This is not who I am. This is not who I am. I begin to tell Dr. Wise that not only am I disappointed as to why I am in her office, but what she sees before her is not a representation of who I am. I am in pain, but there is no scale that I can rate it. I can only tell her that I feel lost. That I feel confused. That I feel sad. That I am scared. She is steady taking notes. “What is making you feel lost, confused, sad, and scared? You are no longer in Tampa. What is making you feel the way that you do right now?” I don’t have a clear answer for that. My mind is in a fog. This doesn’t agitate Dr. Wise in the least. She just continues to take notes while watching me figure out what I need to do to answer her questions or start a conversation in general.
Dr. Wise senses my confusion and decides to start the conversation on her own. “Look, this process is not something that will occur overnight. We have a lot of work to do. What you are going through right now is an explosion of mental illness that has started within you since birth. Mental illness is hereditary. It is heightened when it goes untreated and when there are real life scenarios that trigger that mental illness, which worsens the condition. You appear to be a highly functional adult who has unfortunately lost her way. What you need to do is to accept this information that it is ok to be in the condition that you are in. You have already made the first steps in coming into a remission of your condition. You have acknowledged that you have issues and you have ventured to seek medical attention to address those issues. Together, we will build a dynamic medical team and plan for your recovery. This will not be an easy road, but we will achieve results. Does this sound like a plan to you?” It’s music to my ears.
I am in the waiting room of Dr. Wise’s office. She shares a suite with what looks like another five doctors. Each with their own specialty. As I look around, there are several people here patiently and impatiently waiting to see their psychologist. I am not going to lie, being in this room makes me nervous. I am operating on a double edge sword. The truth is… I am not crazy and neither is Jacinta. Yet, here we are sitting in the middle of a Psychological medical center. It is somewhat degrading. I feel bad that I am thinking the things that I am thinking. It doesn’t help that there are others around me, that in any other setting, I would flat out think that I was in a room full of crazy folk. However, my baby, the love of my life is among this tribe. I don’t think she is crazy. I love her. I love everything about her. I just need to understand how I can adjust my train of thought to not judge her, to help her, to understand her. I am sure that the other family members or supporters in this room feel the exact same way that I am feeling right now. It hurts to see them suffer and go through all that they are going through. I haven’t spoken to God in a while but right now I hope he is listening to my prayers.
The door to Dr. Wise’s office open and Jacinta looks completely exhausted. We leave the waiting room and instead of bombarding her with questions about her session, I decide to remain quiet and allow her to talk to me when she is ready. Once we are outside, I ask if she would like to get something to eat for lunch. She says that I can pick up something, she is just ready to go home. I find myself feeling sorry for her. No telling what went on in that room. I am not the kind of person that would even go to a Psychologist. In my opinion, I would have just tried to work this shit out in my head all on my own. I don’t see the point of telling someone all of your personal business and deepest secrets only for them to tell you that you are crazy. Hell, you knew this before you went in to see the doctor. On top of that you have to pay them! Not on duty! However, this decision to see the therapist is not one of my own.
Chico decides to go through the drive through at Popeye’s. This is his favorite go-to when he can’t make up his mind as to what he wants to eat. All I can do is look out the window. I don’t feel like talking. I feel as though Dr. Wise has asked me some really broad questions that have a ton of answering to explain. My answers are not as cut, simple, and dry. I don’t even know how long it would take answer each question. The only thing that I can do is take one question at a time. What’s strikes me the most is the fact that she has stated that I was born this way. That mental illness is something that I have inherited. As I think back throughout my life, I know that I have been seeing doctors most of my life. I even remember the social workers and the court ordered visitations with my mother. Was I crazy then? Did they know something that I did not know? If it wasn’t for Ms. Burris finding us in that closet, Jordan and I would be dead. This I know for sure. I wish that she was still alive. I would love to pick her brain. She is probably the only person that would be woman enough to tell me all of the details that I don’t know about that time.
I do know this. I plan on doing the best that I can to figure this shit out. Chico didn’t marry a crazy incompetent woman. He doesn’t deserve this.