I get annoyed with too many physicians prescribing pills. Say that three times fast. When I first went into the hospital, over two decades ago, for unexplained pain, and stayed there for five days, the doctors scratched their heads over all the weird results from all the myriad tests they'd done on me. On the fifth day, they did a CAT scan and the results looked like I'd "been beaten with a bat." My connective tissue was all swollen and squeezing everything else. After I got home, the long march of medical inquiry began; doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist. For the most part, I welcomed their poking and prodding because I was as baffled by my ghastly symptoms as they were. But seven out of eight therapists, sprinkled among the rheumotologists and gynaecologists and a zillion other ologists, talked to me for ten minutes, then tried to throw psych drugs down my throat. Don't get me wrong; I think prescription drugs are wonderful things when correctly prescribed. That being said, I didn't trust the opinion of anybody who barely glanced at me for even a quarter of an hour but was positive that they knew exactly what I needed.
The doctor who finally figured it all out, the one who took the time to read my copious notes and listen to my descriptions, said something brilliantly simple to me. My insecurity was raging, and I'd begun to think that maybe this was all in my head. I recognized the fact that I was screwed up, depressed and miserable...maybe I'd done this to myself. Another chance at self-blame and I grabbed it with both hands. My surgeon looked at me and said, "Rebecca, depression doesn't show up on a CAT scan." I've never doubted the importance of second and third opinions ever since.
I was thinking about all the people in my life right now; kind and generous folk who truly care about me and want me to be happy and fulfilled. It's something I've never had before and the feeling is wondrous. How different life is when you do some simple self preservation exercises: namely not allowing life suckers and emotional cannibals to feast on you. It feels good to have meat on your spiritual bones, with no teeth marks or gnawed joints to contend with. I still get that ice-water-in-the-guts feeling when I have to tell someone "no" but the world, contrary to what my insecurity assures me, hasn't come to an end yet. I am gloriously, blindingly unimportant to the vast majority of everybody else. It doesn't make a difference to the scheme of things when I take a little time for myself, when I don't spread myself too thin or forget about REM sleep to please somebody else. In the big picture, such secure actions don't mean much, but they're a whole new world for me. I am becoming, a little bit every day, a better person. Happier, more thoughtful, far more insightful and even a bit more intelligent, all because I'm listening to something other than the voice of insecurity. What a mouthy brat it is. True friends have been instrumental in this and I wouldn't have true friends if I hadn't put a muzzle on my inner negatives. I'd still be plodding along with the old familiar crowd of toothy-jawed cannibals. True friends are the best prescription I've ever experienced and I thank God for recognizing them. They're part of my regimen of self-discovery now, a foundation to help shore me up as I build my own structure. So good luck to all of you out there as you work toward a more sunshiny self. May you find and hold, and be found and held, by true friends. Make sure you include yourself in that mix.