The waiting room is always the worst. A smattering of people all confined to one room, trying hard to keep a seat between you and the next person. We all are here for the same reasons, although it is much more obvious in some than in others. An older man in a wheelchair slouches forward, answering the rhetorical questions asked by the commercials on the ceiling mounted TV (why does it seem as if these waiting room TVs air nothing but commercials?). A lady enters through the glass door, greeting everyone as if we are all old friends when in reality she probably doesn’t know any of us from Adam. Yet another man sits, drooling, while an elderly lady who must be his mother quietly reads an outdated magazine. But for the most part, the individuals that fill the faux leather seats look average as can be.
My name- my last name- is called from a second window. The first one is where you sign in and handle any copayments needed at time of service. The second is where you sign over your identity in exchange for (relative) peace of mind. I don’t have all the needed paperwork, mostly because I did not make the appointment for myself. 3 out of 4 is fine, since I’m lucky enough to have insurance. We tiptoe around the certain words, such as “hospital” and “committed,” the young lady on the other side of the glass whispering the word “discharged” when asking what day I was allowed to go home. Mental health and the trimmings that go along with it are such a taboo. No one whispers phrases like discharge when we talk about surgery or a collapsed lung; when it comes to the chemical imbalances in my brain, though, the utmost secrecy is required. Even in a place for the mentally ill.
It seems as if the hospital I left last week was the only place I could openly talk about it. “It” being the emotional turmoil I have suffered with for a decade, at least. You can even see the need to hide these types of occurrences away from the public eye. It’s ingrained in society. On the ride to the outpatient clinic for my post-break down appointment, I noticed how far away from the rest of civilization the building is. It’s in the middle of an open expanse of undeveloped land right beside a hospice clinic. I guarantee the psychiatric building lowers the land value more. I referred to the place I went as “the nut ward” to my friend, who went on to assure me I am not a nut. But I call it as I see it and think the best people have a little crazy in them.
I mean, I have to be a little wacky: I came on the wrong day.