Let’s just say that I kept my appointment with Dr. Ellis and I lived to tell about it. He is truly the nicest man; I think we were meant to be together – don’t get it twisted; I am talking from a professional perspective only. Even though I call Celeste and Abigail daily to moan and cry, rant and rave, and attempt to regain my sanity, I always feel like I am bothering them. I have been so whiny and down on men – those no good bastards, that if I were either Abigail or Celeste, even I would not want to talk to me. I need to do something nice for them; I’ll just catalog that for future ideas the next time I am at the mall. However, Dr. Ellis is another story – he listened to me and I didn’t feel like I was getting on his nerves.
When I walked into his office, 15 minutes early as requested by Dr. Ellis, I finally met Ms. Secretary/Receptionist. The office furnishings – leather furniture, dark wood trimming, plush burgundy carpet, impressed me, but I sure as hell didn’t like her. Why? I have unresolved issues. I’ll try harder next time to be a bit nicer, unfortunately for her, I was just resentful that another person, a stranger, would be privy to my misery. I am still so embarrassed about the fact that I am getting divorced – I feel like a failure, therefore, the less people that need to know about by shortcomings, the better. While sitting in the waiting area, I tried to shrink inside myself every time the door opened to admit another patient. Dr. Ellis’s practice has three other psychologists. I didn’t realize this little fact when I made the appointment. Chances are I would have cancelled my appointment, if I had known. I would have died if someone recognized me, or God forbid asked me why I was there or who I was going to see. The scandal! Fortunately, Dr. Ellis was on schedule and for one moment I liked Ms. Secretary/Receptionist because she ushered me out of the waiting area and into the sanctuary of his office.
Once inside Dr. Ellis’ Office, I immediately felt at home amidst the bookshelf lined walls, comfortable furniture, and the thousands of books that protruded from every nook and cranny of the office. There was even bric-a-brac placed throughout the office – not with a feminine flair but in more of an ‘I’m a man and not quite sure what I should do with this stuff’ kind of way. The lights were soft and I felt overwhelmed by the cozy yet slightly disheveled environment. Instantly I knew I would like him.
Ms. Secretary/Receptionist directed me to sit wherever I felt most comfortable. I decided on the overstuffed, brown leather chair, next to the end table with tissues. Just a premonition…but the best of all choices. Within minutes, Dr. Ellis entered. Surprisingly he was an older gentleman, approximately 20 years my senior, sitting in a wheelchair. It was easy to see why he was so widely respected. Dr. Ellis personafied a quiet intelligence yet peered through his glasses with the the kindest and most compassionate eyes. I was moved to tell him all of my problems – I wanted to share my deepest insecurities and greatest fears. Of course I didn’t, my reasons for being there were bad enough; I didn’t want to give him any reason to think I was a nut.
Once seated across from me, Dr. Ellis introduced himself and asked if we could begin our session with prayer. When I acknowledged in the affirmative, he took my hands, bowed his head, and began to pray…
“Father, we come before you on this day, asking that you make your presence known. Bring comfort to Angel now as she opens her heart to discuss the things that are burdening her. In Jesus’ name we pray…Amen.”
I was stunned, perplexed, and dismayed. I was thankful for the prayer, but I was so angry – even though not in my nature, I wanted to curse and yell and scream! Was I now prohibited from doing so in the face of the “holy” man? Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Dr. Ellis must have seen the look on my face and the change in my demeanor, he quickly reassured me that the prayer was to bring comfort, wisdom, and peace – not to prohibit me from discussing whatever was on my heart. Then he asked me why I had come to see him.
For the first few minutes, I sat speechless. All day I prepared mentally for this session – what I would say? How I would say it? etc., but when faced with the question, I didn’t know where to begin. So I blurted it out…
“My husband, Bryce, left me. He filed for divorce and moved away with another woman. I desperately, want to save my marriage, but don’t know how. For three months, I have walked around in a daze torn between wanting to kill him, crying over my pathetic life, and wanting to kill myself. I am at the end of my rope and have exhausted everything that I know to do. I am here because, I don’t trust anyone, let alone myself, to make decisions in my life. Honestly, I don’t think I can go on.”
“WOW! You have a lot going on. With all that emotion pent up inside, I don’t know how, you managed to not cry.”
“I don’t like crying in front of other people. I don’t like to be weak.”
“In order for you to heal you have to cry. You will have to feel every emotion no matter how painful. Do you realize that out of the top 10 most stressful life events, you are suffering from number two – divorce and number three – marital seperation? The number one stressful life event is death of a spouse and because the death of a spouse and divorce have some common characteristics like, the ‘death’ of the relationship and seperation from the one you love, these two life events are often reversed based upon who you ask.”
“So I am not crazy for being miserable?”
“Not in the least bit. Actually, your thoughts and feelings are normal; however, we don’t want you to remain in this depressed state. While your feelings may be normal it is not healthy for you to remain this way for an extended period. How often do you think about killing yourself?”
“Whenever I think about Bryce making love to Margo. Whenever, I think about the fact that I cannot do anything to make him love me. Whenever, I acknowledge that our marriage is over.”
“Are there any particular times of the day when your feelings are stronger than others?”
“Yes, at night when I am alone.”
“Angel, I have some recommendations for you…”
It was then that we truly began to talk and I cried like a baby. But when I left Dr. Ellis’s office – two hours later, for the first time, I felt like I could make it through this ordeal.”