I visited a psychiatrist once
Greatly troubled by memories
Dark, debilitating intrusions
That growled and spat
Ripped and shredded
All decency and peace:
Pulses of Hatred
From childhood -
Ghouls in my head
Lying in wait!
He sat behind a huge desk
A small person
Fortressed by this great plank
Covered with papers and pens
Books stacked in disparate bundles
Titles turned away from the patient.
Not quite neat – not quite messy.
I liked him at once.
He looked a sensitive man
Not really comfortable with other people's pain
But soldiering on.
I remember thinking: 'He's a little bit scared.
Yet – he works.'
I valued his input before he opened his mouth.
So we discussed: Hatred
My cause for counselling.
'I do not want to be ripped apart
By Hate, again,' I tried to explain.
'It's a useless emotion
Accomplishing nothing but destruction
Of myself and the people I love.
Logically, I refuse Hate
But my mind plays games with me
Not even definable dreams.
Emotions - like acids in my brain -
Eating away my finer sensibilities.'
We saw each other on two occasions
Talked, almost like friends
And even chuckled over tea.
Just the norm, I thought, but not really sure.
I had no experience.
I remember both pleasure and privilege.
After the second hour had fully passed
In amiable conversation on deep topics
He said, 'I really don't know which one of us
Should be on which side of this desk.'
And I gasped.
'Go home, Cynthia.' he said quietly.
'Be wholly assured, you are not ill now.
And you will not be ill again.
These bad moments will pass.
Maybe not immediately -
There is much stress in your life right now.
But they will pass
Because you choose not to nurture them.'
I shook his hand
Knowing - knowing! - he was a doctor, not a friend.
Moved, and buoyed, by his simple humanism
His shared wisdom and knowledge.
And he was right.
I knew he was right that very day
As I drove home.
Yet, all I remember of him really
Is His Essence.