Every Wednesday late afternoon I go into the city for my weekly psychiatrist visit. I have to leave work at around 4.15pm to make sure that if the traffic is heavier than usual I won’t panic. As a rule it isn’t busy and I will arrive around 25 minutes early. I’ll sit in the car or, if the weather is nice, go for a walk across the road in the gardens.
Last Wednesday I had more time than usual and went across to the Shrine of Remembrance and took some photos.
With Anzac day ahead I felt quite reflective as I stood on the steps and looked down towards the city.
When I was young I would make my way into the city for the Anzac dawn service. It was one of the few events that would get me out of bed early. Hardly any other people went. Returned soldiers, families of those who had gone and people like me. I had no family who had been part of any war let alone WW1 but there was something very moving about being part of this solidarity. Did one have to have a relative to think about the the sad deaths of young men and women in a war? I thought not.
One year I went and could not find a place to park my car. The dawn service had become a huge event with thousands attending. I never went again. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t go. Too many people maybe. I felt like the reasons I went were shared by too many now.
Sometimes I feel like that about the art gallery. When young I would go into the city on the weekend and the streets were empty. The gallery too was almost devoid of people and I would walk around in peace to look at everything. No crowds. No loud noises. It belonged to me. In the past ten or more years it has changed completely. It’s a business and therefore has to make money. I get that even if I don’t like it much.
When I went up to the Shrine on Wednesday the weather was beautiful. One of those warm Autumn days that make me want to go for a long walk along a silent path with just the blue sky above me, a thin sweep of clouds here and there. I felt really emotional in a good way. Thoughtful. Peaceful. I relish those moments because I don’t get them often.
I can’t say I was happy or sad. I just was in the moment.
Then time ran out and I had to make my way across the busy road and to the psychiatrist.
Sometimes I wonder how long I will be seeing the psych. The other week he was away and I had an internal meltdown in my head and this was followed by a dream where I said to him “I’m not coming here anymore because I can’t be bothered” and was, in general, kind of rude to him. No doubt the dream came about because I was shitty at him going away for the week. As if he has no right or something.
It’s taken a long, long time but he and I have a fairly good relationship and I do get a lot out of most sessions. He can pick where my mood is at the second I walk in the room even when I try to hide it.
Each week we discuss my weight issue. It’s hard to work out if the weight is related mostly to my CrossFit or to the Epilim. I think the Epilim has a lot to answer for and there is the option of changing meds but it makes me sick to the stomach knowing that I have to go off one to transition to the other and I will have months of feeling very unstable and fucking around with other stuff to bridge the gap.
I am not sure if I have it in me anymore to live with the level of destabilisation.
If you looked at me you would not say “wow, she’s put on weight”. You would probably say that I look like I’m working out a lot. But it’s the number on the scales that still does my head in. Every time I speak to the psych about the weight he says that we should speak about it. Maybe he is right. Even when I was 50kg I still felt overweight so there’s a problem deep down.
It’s always a work in progress.
Once I leave the psych’s I head home. By this stage the traffic is pretty much bumper to bumper. It’s the one time I really regret that I drive a manual because I am changing gears non stop. This is the third Autumn that I have been seeing the psych and I feel that familiar sense of time slipping past as another season enters. Now my visits to the psychiatrist are part of that seasonal wallpaper of life. I will always remember these visits each time I do this trip irrespective of whether or not I have seen him.
In Summer the drives to and from the city are usually hot enough that I have to have the air conditioning on in the car. But in Autumn the heat changes and I will have the driver window open to feel the breeze come in. I pick the music I will listen to while I drive. It’s almost part of the therapy, this driving in, open window, music playing and anticipating the traffic flow.
Once daylight savings ends the drive home is dark and all I see ahead of me are a see of red tail lights of cars heading in the same direction. The cars brake and the lights brighten then they head off and the lights go back to normal. This is a constant until I get to my turn off which will take me closer to home.
I turn right at a main intersection but have to wait for the green arrow to give the go ahead. (this would be equivalent to a left hand turn in the US I think). I sit in the lane and diagonally opposite me is a sign that has been attached to a power pole. It’s a black board upon which the words “Jims Fish Shop” have been roughly painted with white paint (no apostrophe). It’s always there, almost like a welcoming beacon light telling me that soon, soon I’ll be home. I stare at it while I wait for the green arrow because by this time of the night I am really hungry and a visit to Jims sounds like something I want to do really badly.
When the green arrow appears I turn right and pass by Jims fish and chip shop. It has a modern sign with blue fish lit up across it. I think to myself that one day I will stop there and indulge in some of Jims battered fish and chips. Savour the salty, delicious flavour of fried fish and fat chips. But if I do that I might spoil the want, spoil the longing, break the magic of wanting that food. I like thinking that I would really enjoy eating it and would rather leave it at that.
So, each Wednesday I can just look at the sign and fantasise while I wait to turn right.
Thanks Jim for a wonderful fantasy.