Transitioning from human demons to bacteria.
In the eighties my days were spent assessing the whys, whats and how comes of human behavior. Working in forensics on a daily basis was initially enjoyable. I felt as if I could and would make a difference, if not for the patient then at least making the right decision so they would not hurt others. It amazes me how naive all of us are as we enter a new profession. I had my experience working for a local police department, as well as a medium security correctional facility. Oh, let me not forget the degree. That all important piece of paper that is supposed to get you the third party reimbursement, the (cash) if you will. In the movie “Red Dragon” Ed Norton plays a forensic psychologist very well. This was partially my role. To figure out and try to predict why, and when and will they do it again?
It was the disclosure of the patients, the sane patients not the insane that wore my soul thin, and caused me to hang teniously from a fragile rope of hope. That hope had to do with mankind. There is an oxymoron, mankind. One just does not use the word mankind when working forensic psychology. I had the physician assistant degree but chose the psych field over medicine. This was partially due to my own history of being sexually abused and victimized at a young age, as in my book, “Above His Shoulders.”
After seven years in the field, a divorce, not sleeping well, missing my children, and smoking as if it were an oxygen replacement I was coming very close to becoming the definition of despair. I was able to find a good therapist, as well as a mentor in Arizona who was at the time, an obscure author in his own right. He helped set me on a path that was always there, I was just too myopic to see it. I strive to see the positive, the good in people. Even when those individuals do not see what their potential is, I felt it was my job to support and guide their introspection to find that missing link. In the field of psychology, especially forensic psychology this is not difficult it is near impossible at times. I did not share many of my experiences, and to this day they are buried inside my temporal lobe. There is a morbid curiosity with most humans and they often anxiously await the darkness. This is common and it allows them to safely get in touch with their own dark side. All of us have the ability to fall to the depths of evil. Many times there is a thin line that separates that good/evil border.
After my “tour of duty” with the Hannibal Lechters of the world I was able to find some semblance of self. It was if for years I went without showering, or washing my hair. That feeling of intense grunge and then the refreshing feeling of cool water spraying your body, and lathering with excessive amounts of soap. That was my transformation in Arizona. My sweat ceremony, my awakening that carried me on a new path. That path was new but yet familiar. I went back to medicine.
Medicine is treating the demons that enter our body. They are tangible, and can usually be anihilated with antimicrobials. The strep throat, MRSA and the like. There was solace in suturing a wound and not laying my head on the pillow ruminating on how the person may strike again, or rape again, or abuse someone again. I just had to wait for their return and remove their sutures. How clean, how precise, how relaxing this was as opposed to the forensic arena.
Recently I have just entered back into the psychology arena. I call the shots now. I am more protective of my self, and my psyche. I pick and chose my patients and they are usually marital couples or individual therapy with high functioning individuals trying to cope with life trauma. This is my path, and if I can deliver some good, help one person get on a healthier path then I have done my job. I try my best not to personalize the sessions and move forward looking to my respite, nestled in the woods of oak and hickories.
We walk this path briefly and quickly. We must be true to ourselves and do the best we can to give back to others. If we do not implement that scenario then how do we live? Do we just work hard, and down a few suds on the weekend to numb reality? Is that what our life is meant to be? I hope not. If so, then our existence seems very meaningless. I have been told I think too much. I do not se one single blade of grass and relax. Maybe the fields of grass is my relaxation. Maybe I am supposed to worry about the big picture and give what I can in words. Just maybe this IS my role on earth? I am beginning to figure out my path at fifty four. Do you know what your path is? Have you dumped your demons? Have you at least recognized you have some? If so maybe, just maybe this might help you start thinking of a different path. Not a path of a new Lexus, the new Rolex but maybe what percentage of money can you give back anonymously? I went from human demons to bacteria. I would like to at some point go back to nature daily and watch the seasons pass before my eyes knowing mankind is NOT an oxymoron.