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Dr. B. Said

As I contemplate my treatment by the psychiatrist J. B. M.D. over a span of twenty years, I recall some of the things the good doctor said and did.

Dr. B. of Connecticut, of the upper classes.

Who carried bedpans as an intern, therefore understood hard times.

Who, like all the upper classes, envied the truly rich.

Dr. B. the shrink, with all the constriction that goes with the word.

Dr. B. the glass ceiling.

Dr. B. the therapist, as the simple anagram goes, the rapist.

Dr. B., self-satisfied like a Nietzschean noble, who learned from birth to call his class good.

Dr. B., ever seeking the drug that would make his fortune, something for the growing market of addicts, for whom the human trials, in Mexico, need not be so strict.

Masculine in his imaginings, “I don’t give milk!” Dr. B. would proudly pronounce.

Dr. B., who pronounced, rather than said, and said rather than talked.

Dr. B., who said many things, general, sometimes true, mostly unqualified, binding, damning, about me.

Most of which I believed, and carried, indelibly, in my heart for years.

Dr. B. said

that I knew how to spell the words, but did not know their meanings.

Dr. B. said

that I was such a masochist that it brought out the sadist in anyone.

Dr. B. said

that my verbal intelligence was so high, no one would guess my performance ability was so low.

Dr. B. said

that I worked with losers, since they all worked for such low pay.

Dr. B. said

that I was passive. Leaning back in a chair, he pantomimed, “This is you, having sex. You just lie there, saying ‘Do me.’”

Dr. B. said

that I could not put boundedness on a task.

Dr. B. said

that I was overinclusive.

Dr. B. said

that my dominant affect was anger.

Dr. B. said

that I had the impulse control of a gnat.

Dr. B. said:

that everything about me was primary process, never secondary thought.

Dr. B. said

that I should find a job in a corner somewhere, away from people.

Dr. B. said

that my observations were all correct, but that my conclusions were all wrong.

Dr. B. said

that all I understood was content, not process.

Dr. B. said

that I could not trust my perceptions or judgment.

Dr. B. said

that I had an iterative mind; the right thing never came out first thing.

Dr. B. said

that he could not judge my writing, and would not listen to it.

Dr. B. said

not to list the journals that published me on my resume, since these could not be good journals.

Dr. B. said (shifting his girth)

that he could help me lose weight.

Dr. B. said

that he alone cared for me.

Dr. B. said

that I could never refuse a gambit.

Dr. B. said

that, when I and my department were laid off at work, that such people were not “keepers.”

Dr. B. said, about his grants, in anger:

“Do you really think you could write this grant?”

Dr. B. said

“You’re a volcano. Just because you are dormant doesn’t mean you are not a volcano.”

Dr. B., reluctantly telling me (“…because I have to.)

that the clinical trial he wanted me to participate in was for a drug that might cut off my visual field (“…because I have to.”)

Dr. B. said

that I was the sickest patient he had.

Dr. B. said

If it feels good, it probably isn’t.

Dr. B. said, when I wanted to talk about my past, especially about what happened to me when I was sick (prostitution, assault, drug addiction, rape),

“Let’s not pick through the garbage.”

Dr. B. said

“You’re just a girl who likes to fuck.”

Dr. B. said, much later, about the whorehouse, covering his ass:

“But you only worked the phones there.”

Dr. B. said, responding to the fact that he didn’t know that my parents were interned in the Buchenwald extension camp Dora Northausen after 10 years of treatment:

“People who are in concentration camps are fucked up.”

Dr. B. said

“Don’t not to go to AA,” telling me I would just talk a great deal of shit there.

Dr. B. later said

that I had wasted my life.

When I pointed out that the dozens of psychotropic medications he prescribed to me cut into my intelligence like a lobotomy, Dr. B. said

“Oh, there’s plenty of that left.”

But Dr. B., too lazy to take a decent history, also said that I picked up on everything. Nuances of mood, behavior. Everything.

And acknowledged that I was highly intelligent.

And marveled, that every time I was knocked down, that I got up; knocked down still harder, and again, and again, and again and again, I got up.

“Will,” he whispered one time, looking at me with unrecognition “Indomitable will.”

Yes, doctor. No thanks to you.

–Larissa Shmailo


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