This morning I climbed out of my warm bed before my children woke, to the chirping of a smoke detector in need of a new battery. It was too early to get up, but there would be no buses coming to collect my boys for school today. The behavioral health clinic and my boys’ psychiatrist were waiting.
The look of that squat, blocky building on the university campus with it’s warrens of harshly-lighted hallways and windowless offices, embodies the way I used to feel about going there. It always felt soul-crushing, particularly when our insurance didn’t cover it and we were “self-pay.” They should’ve handed me back my debit card with a receipt which read at the bottom, “You are now officially a family who drops a wad for psychiatric appointments, even though you have insurance, which doesn’t choose to cover this type of thing.”
I’d look around that bland, dated waiting area and think, “No one wants to be here.”
I felt differently today. I wasn’t depressed walking through those colorless hallways. I watched my two boys, age nine and five, trundle along, happily racing each other to the familiar clinic. We know this place. It has no more destructive power over us, after the initial sledgehammer impact of the diagnoses. It dropped the bomb, and now it’s here to help us put the pieces back together and move on.
We adjusted some meds. We talked about positive reinforcement. We discussed how to convince Jack to stop shredding things and then cramming them down the heat vents. As we talked about the shredding and the cramming, Jack casually picked up a puzzle piece from the floor, walked to the vent unit on the wall and stuffed the puzzle piece down.
Cue the demonstration of the “behaviors.” Doh!
Dr. M assured me that the only people who would miss that puzzle piece would be her OCD patients, who would be forced to practice flexibility when putting it together.
We left on a buoyant note (yay for insurance which now covers the psychiatrist at the behavioral health clinic!) and had cheeseburgers and chicken strips at Aunt Kate’s house, where Littlest spent the morning playing with his cousin.