They told Marty he had PTSD. You know: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But he knew it was much bigger and more involved than just that.
PTSD. Just a label. Doesn’t do it justice.
It’d been awhile now since he’d been this way, well two or three years really. It was the preceding five years or so that that did Marty in.
He’d been cut up by shards.
He did get away in time, although now he felt like a bloody pulp of a person. The culmination of all of that. But he’d become just a shell of the man that he used to be. An imitation of the man that he was. And his daily life now resembled nothing of his past. Although everyone around Marty behaved as if this wasn’t the case, so cloaked behind their walls and always walking on eggshells, Marty had decided that he had any choice but to do things HIS way from now on.
Alone he stood his ground.
Marty’s partner, or “friend” as his Dad used to call him, was no longer a part of his life. It took two years for him to get away from Eric, who just wouldn’t let go of his grip. At least not until Marty was so cut up and bruised that he was satisfied. Or something. It had been many years of wrangling and conflict and a battering of Marty’s heart. And Eric had spoken down to him for so long and created such havoc and degraded his heart and his mind and his psyche. Marty kept hanging on, while Eric continued smashing him into little pieces.
Cut up by shards.
Marty sat in the hot seat in the doctor’s office, ready for his new therapist’s weekly onslaught of pop psychology pronouncements and diatribes and indifferent and impersonal interrogation that Marty realized was now a part of his life. This therapist was okay enough Marty thought, but why couldn’t he understand that things in this world are never only black & white? That life ebbs and flows? Marty was getting used to the whole scenario of being expected to spill his guts and relive everything in his life, every week on these “appointments”, but he didn’t think it was doing him much good.
“How do you feel today Marty? Have you been having any trouble with your daily routine and taking care of yourself since I saw you last week?”
Marty folded his hands in his lap. He didn’t want to answer WRONG that’s for sure. But he also didn’t want to get into a whole thing again like they did last week. Then it was another crying jag. And sometimes tears don’t heal the way they say they do. Like how they all go on about on Oprah and all those other inane TV shows nowadays.
You know what I mean.
“I’m good doc. No my daily routine is fine, I’m not having trouble with my daily routine, no.”
This therapist, well he was more like a “counseler”, was much younger than Marty. Marty’s impression was that his disposition exhibited a lack of experience, or he hadn’t lost any innocence yet or something. He had no history of life’s upheaval, so how could he even relate?
“And what about the medications Marty, you’ve been taking them all? Remember what happens if you don’t take them correctly, you don’t want to have to go through all that again, right? Remember last time?”
Yeh Marty remembered all too well. Last time it left him face down on the sofa for weeks, unable to to put one foot in front of the other to get any of his personal business DONE. Not answering his phone. Not wanting to live. He found it hard to believe (at the time) that anything good could come from anything. And he was just too used to feeling that way.
“Yeh doc I’ve been taking them all. My daily routine is fine.”
The doctor scratched his young chin. “Well what about your thoughts of suicide, has the Depakote been taking that away for you? If not we’ll have to add something else to it, like an anti-depressant or maybe up your Xanax intake. What, we have you at 2 milligrams now? And I told you we can always consider the electroconvulsive therapy too, I don’t know Marty if you’ve thought about that.”
Marty sighed. “Doc it’s all fine. And to be honest, I don’t think medication is what’s gonna right me. I don’t think it’ll make right all the wrongs that I’ve been through. Doc, I don’t think it’s gonna fix anything, I’m too cut up; it’s just gonna take some time I’m hoping.”
The therapist was taking notes again. For some reason Marty always felt like he was in trouble in this chair. The therapist scrawled behind that yellow legal pad and it made Marty uncomfortable, like he wanted to swipe the pad off the therapist’s lap. This doc apparently had some preconceived notion that as long as he complied and took all his pills some magic wand would be waved and everything would be fine. And he didn’t seem to listen much when Marty stated his own opinion.
None of this was fine.
“Well Marty you have PTSD and you know there’s not much you can do. I mean the medication will help alleviate the symptoms. You don’t wanna go back to the way you were when you first came to see me do you? You don’t want to have to go to the emergency room again like you did last time. Remember when they had to come and take you away?”
Marty sat. They’d been through this talk so many times before. He really felt the therapist wasn’t at all getting to the heart of the matter. He felt he was just placing a label on him, treating him like his whole life was some sort of textbook case of symptoms and behaviors that Marty really didn’t feel like hearing about. Not practical. Not him. Didn’t he understand that when life changes beyond your very own comprehension, that maybe it takes a bit of living to sort things out?
“Okay doc yeh I hear ya. And like I said, I’m compliant. But I have to ask you, what about my heart? I’ve asked you before, what does a person do when their very soul and nature have changed so much they hardly recognize themselves? And can’t take the pain of the hole in their heart?”
“Just take your pills Marty. And I’ll see you the same time next week. I mean unless there’s something else.”
Marty stood up and made way to the door. The young doctor sat, legs crossed and yellow legal pad on his lap. He looked up at Marty and smiled a goodbye. He didn’t know what he was doing really. Marty imagined that when he walked out the door the therapist just thought: PTSD.
He gave the lady behind the glass, Helen was her name, his co-pay, and confirmed next week’s appointment. Marty was jumpy; the normal jumping out of his skin thing that he seemed to have mastered lately. Instead of waiting for the elevator he ran the two flights of steps downstairs and bolted out the exit door. When he walked out into the sunlight he felt how much everything hurt.