I’ve noticed that whenever I have an appointment to see a medical professional – which is pretty much all the time – I tend to dress a certain way. I’ve started calling these my ‘Fuck you, Please help me’ outfits.
This is a direct rip-off of a panel from one of my favourite Hyperbole and a Half comics. Warning: Spoilers ahead! This comic is only in the book, so if you haven’t read it or are going to, you may want to skip this bit.
Our protagonist is in the supermarket. She’s got a banana from the produce department. Now she is far away from the produce department and she has decided she doesn’t want it anymore. What does she do? Her guilt and shame are battling with her urge to just stuff it on a shelf and walk away. She doesn’t want to go back to the produce department in case someone sees her. The banana becomes more and more distressing. (I’ve been in this exact situation, so I was pretty much crying with laughter by this point). Eventually, she just loses it completely and she ends up buying ALL the bananas. So this happens:
At this point, I just lost it. I couldn’t read anymore because I had tears of mirth running down my face. Then, as I began to sober, that sign just became bigger and bigger in my mind until it was all I could see.
I realised this is how I feel every time I have to walk into a doctor’s office, whether it’s my GP or my specialist or my psychiatrist or my psychotherapist. I hate them. I hate myself. I don’t want them to know I need them. I don’t want them to not see that I need them.
I’m going to write another post later about how difficult it is to get mental health support in New Zealand, but I think that is another of the factors in the way I dress.
I do it because I want them to see that I am hurting. I do it so that they can see my scars. I do it so that I look the same on the outside as I feel on the inside: despairing and defiant, vulnerable and snarling.
Here’s yesterday’s psychology outfit:
And today’s doctor’s outfit:
You’re probably seeing a pattern.
The other thing that strikes me about that particular panel is how she ended up with all the bananas. Yesterday, my psychologist and I were talking about the “Dead Fish” analogy for depression – how people continue to offer to help you find your fish, or feed your fish, or name your fish, but no one will just see that your fish are dead.
She said she knew she was offering me solutions that didn’t seem like solutions right now. They seemed too hard, impossible, overwhelming. She said that’s because my depression and all my anxieties are like a bag of potatoes on my back. They are very, very heavy. If I didn’t have that bag, the solutions that people were offering might be helpful. I might be able to make some nice food. I might be able to go for a walk. But I’m doubled over under the weight of that bag.
In my mind, those are my bananas. I lost it in the supermarket, and I ended up with all these fucking bananas and I don’t want them and I need someone to help me get rid of them, one by one.
So here I am. LOOK AT ME. I OWN ALL THE BANANAS. FUCK YOU. Please help me.