Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friends, More than Friends???

Who the hell knows?

And just when I had got myself to a particularly horrible place in my life. Seriously, Intensive Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment.

You have to love Treatment Resistant Depression. Okay, well, you actually have to hate it. Seven drug alterations and I lost the ability to hope-this-will-be-the-one-that-does- it! somewhere around number five.

So we've moved on to the touchy/feely shit. Just between you and me, I don't really believe in this stuff. I'm a scientist. I work in medical research. Whether or not I was breastfed (beyond the intrinsic nutritional and immunological value of breast milk) and my potty training have NOTHING to do with my emotional well being as an adult. NOTHING.

So, as I'm going along through this month long group therapy ~ where they tell me daily that I have no self esteem (also know as a symptom of depression) ~ we talk about self love, parenting, defense mechanisms, etc. Terms that never came up in the grad level course I took, "The Epidemiology of Psychosis." An obvious oversite on the part of Hopkins School of Public Health, I'm sure.

And it becomes apparent that they don't even seem to be reading my chart. "Jennifer is beginning to learn the signs and symptoms of Bipolar type II disorder" reads my first progress report. SERIOUSLY? I've been living with this disease since 1995. I've figured out ALL the signs and symptoms at this point. And if they think one of their objectives is to teach me ~ well, let's just say a whole lot of time is being wasted...

Having decided this last resort treatment is a waste of my time, I just can't bring myself to get out of bed to get there. They threaten to throw me out of the program and actually begin to realize how much pain I'm actually in. I think someone actually reads my chart even.

And then something really strange happens.

A very attractive, single, age appropriate man joins our group. Almost immediately, everyone is aware of the attraction between us. We connect on so many levels. We have shared life experiences, shared family relationship difficulties, shared loss of friends to marriage and parenthood.

We're not allowed to socialize outside of group until one of us is discharged ~ which is me, a week and a half after he's joined the group. We've already spent breaks together, walked out to our cars together and talked before group every day.

On the day I'm discharged, we rent videos and get pizza and hang out together. Some time during the evening we both admit the we hadn't intended to get involved with anyone until we had straightened out our own lives, but meeting each other had changed things. We decided to continue hanging out together and see what happens.

He holds my hand and when I leave, he walks me to my car and hugs me, holding me close and not releasing me for a long time, as if to say exactly what I'm feeling ~ I'm lonely. I'm so lonely, it's palpable, but keep it at bay. ~ I have no idea how to interpret any of this, but I feel like if we started to kiss, we wouldn't be able to stop.

When I talk to him, we chat for hours until we have to go to sleep. Every evening together ends with the same hug, but I can't help but wonder if one of these days instinct is going to take over and when we pull apart he might just kiss me without thinking about it. And I'm not even sure how I'd react.

But I worry, what if we cross that time where is you don't become more than friends, you just stay friends forever. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I do think I'm falling in love with him.

No comments: