Above: The Department of Human Resources (DHR) building in Columbus, GA
In June, 2007, I was finishing a short term psychiatry contract in the public health system in Columbus, GA. Columbus is one of Georgia’s largest cities, on the Alabama border, and home to Fort Benning, one of Georgia’s largest military bases.
In August, 2007, I would attempt to retire from psychiatry, by letting both Georgia medical licenses and federal DEA licenses expire. The stress was literally ruining my health. Seeing patients was my favorite part, but the system itself was so dysfunctional that I risked everything if I missed a call.
Saturday, June 2, 2007 – I fantasize about taking a sledgehammer to the walls at work. It’s a maze, inefficient, unnecessarily confusing, and downright dangerous, with too many blind alleys, locked doors, and long, narrow halls. Everything is so disconnected from everything else that the entire organization functions like a mindless blob of quivering protoplasm. Individual effort dies in situ, never achieving enough momentum to spread beyond the 12’ X 12’ walls of the private offices.
These offices all have the latest electronic equipment and programs, though, upgraded too often to be useful. But they have zero reference books, so I bring my own. I had to retrieve my own DSM-IV from the 500-foot walk to my other office, because the computer only takes diagnosis numbers rather than words. I have not memorized diagnosis codes and never intend to. Of course, the intake office does not have a DSM-IV.
Saturday, June 2, 2007 – Anybody ever consider that heaven is not having to pay taxes?
WASTE OF TREES
Sunday, June 3, 2007 – Columbus is full of railroad tracks. As I negotiated 15th Street and around a tangle of other streets, I went under a RR trestle where Norfolk-Southern cars filled with fresh wood chips, piled high, smelled the air of pine.
How sad for those trees, I thought. Their chopped chips are probably going to make junk mail, paperwork, and packaging. This while their fellows are burning in a hundred square miles of uncontained forest fire in southeast Georgia.
Thursday, June 7, 2007 – I’m becoming bored with current events. I’ve had fun on the internet message boards, but the columnists remain uninspired – from my perspective – and I battle basic assumptions, like the belief that competition is good. So, I approach it with the cavalier feather stroke of playfulness. I balance discussions about nuclear proliferation in Iran with questions about paranoid counter threat tactics by the US. How much are taxpayers paying for nuclear proliferation under our noses at home?
Lah de dah . . .
Another world, another opportunity to blow it up, or not, depending on your reference point. Worlds split off from each other, I believe, and those who believe in nuclear holocaust may well travel along a world chain of events toward that outcome.
Moi? I’ll let that car pass on by, to avoid being swept up in that drive chain. I see myself as an illusion-popper, clarifying ambiguities, flipping coins, turning phrases, bringing a sense of hopefulness through flexible thinking and clever (to me) juxtapositions.
Slowly, I see others becoming more confident, more outspoken, more imaginative. Less victims, more involved, responsive, and reflective.
Friday, June 8, 2007 – The world is overrun with “gonnados” who expect others to pay huge up-front costs for questionable future rewards. There was an online Washington Post column extolling the new president of Arizona State University, for his grand vision of developing better communications between Americans. President Crow starts by firing 20 of 23 deans on the faculty. This communicates clearly to me.
Next, he creates lots of programs – a biodiversity center, for one – in order to make Arizona State a bigger place, competitive with Harvard and the like.
Another empire builder, think I. I post my view that he’s another “ivory tower elitist with more theories than sense, standing on a soapbox bought with other people’s money.” Another megalo-maniacal world changer, think I. Yawn.
He talks about “stovepipe” mentality, but if he has replaced most of the deans, he’s just creating a different stovepipe for those he’s indebted to, or who share his agenda.
Thursday, June 14, 2007—I discovered yesterday that writing a prescription for something like Geodon doesn’t necessarily mean the patient will get Geodon. Yesterday’s patient got four days’ worth of samples because that’s all the pharmacy had, so by the time I saw her, she hadn’t taken it for over three weeks. By then both she and I decided she didn’t need it.
I’m beginning to wonder if these meds work at all. As Seth* says, your beliefs determine your reality. Those who improve give the pills the credit, but I’m not so sure. Antidepressants like Prozac “change your brain chemistry,” they say, but so does any life experience, and the fact of going to the doctor may change it even more. Perhaps pills are merely transitional objects, tools to link mind with body, as valid for relieving suffering as faith.
I wonder how many people would take antidepressants and the like if they were over the counter. To hold the claim of potency to the measuring stick of free market capitalism would be an experiment worth trying.
Saturday, June 16, 2007 – Everything has always seemed so simple and obvious to me, issues of right and wrong, justice, fairness. As I have come to know myself, I’ve shed projections from others, thanking psychiatry for teaching about projections and projective identification. Psychiatry supplies the words to describe confused feelings. People’s lack of clarity leads them to assume way too much and act accordingly.
I grew up believing I was potentially a brutally violent person, in need of rigid self-control, yet I’ve learned the opposite is true. My childhood question, “Why can’t people just love each other?” remains as valid today as ever, and I’ve yet to learn the answer. My nature has been to look for things to like, and I can usually find something, especially if I’m in a situation not easy to leave.
I’ve always felt safe and protected, though, not only by parents – although they certainly helped – but by life. Not flamboyantly psychic, I suppose, I’m merely supersensitive emotionally, although there is no objective standard to measure this. I don’t even believe I’m supersensitive, merely more aware than others, and more trusting of my perceptions.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
Sunday, June 17, 2007 – My desire for solitude stems from a wish to know myself apart from others’ projections and judgments. I suppose even as a child I was trying to reconcile what I felt with what adults said, and with what I saw. Basic truths boil down to one truth: God is love, and I want to do god proud, I will aspire to demonstrate her love in every thought, word, and deed.
It sounds sappy, inconsistent with my tendency to scream things like “Back off, asshole!” to the gas guzzling red truck tail-gaters with mag wheels and attitudes. This is innately loving, I figure, because if I didn’t yell or otherwise show him where his rights end and mine begin, how would he learn? If he already knew, he wouldn’t be tailgating. And just because he’s behaving like an asshole now, it’s not necessarily a character trait, especially if he backs off or passes. The loving hand of God therefore works through me to teach such testosterone-poisoned creatures how to grow in grace, in terms they can understand.
I’ve found taking my foot off the gas works, too, if yelling doesn’t, and I’ve allowed many such a creature to rush ahead to a destiny too frenzied for me.
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, 1835 AND 1840
Monday, June 18, 2007 – de Tocqueville cites the lawyer class in America as the equivalent of the aristocracy, and the jury as the means by which every citizen sits in judgment over every other. It strikes me that we do have a society that looks to laws to solve social problems, and perhaps the preponderance of lawyers in government has distorted our national perspective.
Thursday, June 21, 2007 – I flip flop from thinking the drugs I prescribe are dangerous to thinking they are useless, validating Seth’s* assertion that the belief determines the effectiveness. I really do believe drug laws create an artificial mystique about their effects. Everyone would claim this is doctor turf, the license to prescribe, but I contend that this is a front for the government and pharma to falsely inflate the price, as well as presumed benefits and risks.
*Seth is the channeled entity who spoke through medium/author Jane Roberts. There are several books in the Seth series.