Thursday, May 26, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (53)

Dear No One,
The door shakes at one or two, it took longer than you would think to get my psych evaluation, and not as long as most things do for us. Three or four hours were spent in a holding cell with others going elsewhere. We had breakfast, for some reason I believe it was gravy, though it would be ludicrous to imagine I retained that detail through the years. The drive was about three hours, alone in the back of a van. There were two officers in the cab and they occasional said words to me or each other. They weren't in any way hostile, I've noticed security personnel tends to be friendliest where mental health is concerned, assuming you aren't making their jobs more difficult than they are meant to be.
We went to UVA where I was interviewed by a psychologist and a student. There were many questions, and a short written test.They were both very nice, and I failed to convey anything of value to them. I have never been comfortable with public feelings. After a couple of years practicing with the psychiatrist here my communication skills have improved, at the time, I answered them in much the same manner as I would have any stranger asking me personal questions The was diversion and distortion, a bit of bravado, and a bad habit I have never shaken of manufacturing answers to questions I have no real answer to.
For lunch, there was pepperoni pizza and coke. I ate mine alone in the interview room, and picked my nose for the camera one assumes they were observing me through. I tried to pee, failed, my shy bladder triumphing again as two officers waited awkwardly behind me in the bathroom. They must have taken my handcuffs off, I think, though the shackles remained. Wait, I know what it was. One hand was handcuffed to my belt and the other was free for eating and filling in multiple choice questions.
They asked me if I cared what other people thought of me. I said I didn't. They asked me how I would describe me opinion of myself, I said deific. They asked me what careers I might be interested in, I listed; author, actor, rock star, and politician. They noted that I didn't actually have to give an answer if I wasn't sure. Was I still nineteen then? Maybe twenty. I wonder if I had behaved differently that day would I have gotten the diagnosis I have now, would it have helped me later on. I was being defensive, the friendliest obstruction that I know. When the psychologist mentioned some of the things I talked about doing during the months leading up to my arrest sounded like depression, my reply was that maybe it sounded that way, but I wouldn't characterize it as such. It wasn't an intentional stance I was taking, just my natural resistance to sharing private things. I must have peed at some point after that, its difficult to envision making it through the three hour drive home if I hadn't.
My evaluation didn't turn up anything useful for my lawyers purposes. My mom seemed to blame the psychologist for this, really the fault was entirely mine. He did his best to label me with the presentation that I gave him. One of the officers asked me what we talked about in there for so many hours. A lot of stuff.
Today I checked out bipolar for dummies from the library. Its a waterlogged copy. The mania checklist was sought and found, because I had forgotten why I believed it of myself. So I mentally marked the boxes. Yep, still got it; maybe not a terrible case, more hypo than anything, and now neatly medicated. Still, its helpful to be reminded.
William Myrl (Smitherman)

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