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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Trying To Look Normal

I had to go to the doctor yesterday in order to pick up a repeat prescription for my mind medication. Typically, I have a one month progress meeting with my doc (basic theme: lost it yet?) but last time she mentioned that I could just pick up a repeat prescription if I wanted to rather than having to see her each time. So, I figured I'd give her a break from the minefield that is the mind of McReadie and just get the drugs and run.

Wandered into the surgery yesterday afternoon, prepared to face the rude receptionist and for her to tell me: "No, I haven't gone your damn prescription, bugger off out of here and sod your mental health." As it turned out, there was no need to be afraid. My doc was sitting there behind the reception desk - even though she was meant to have a day off. It seems that, like me, her job involves time at work when she's meant to be off. Unlike me, of course, her job is actually important.

Anyway, the receptionist was powerless to be rude to me as soon as she saw I had friends in high places, and so all went well. Even if she did scowl. Constantly.

I then went off to get my tablets. That's always an interesting experience. I find myself desperate to prove I am normal as I hand over the prescription.

See, when you hand over a prescription for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, you feel a little self-conscious. It's because aware that the pharmacist knows that's exactly what she's handing over to you. You feel like the pharmacist is saying: "Here you are, nutter. Good luck with that."

I therefore find myself over-compensating. I become aware that I have a fixed grin on my face (hey - look at me - I'm cheerful, not depressed!) and that I try to look relaxed (nervous - me - nah!) As a result, I probably look even more nutty than I would if I just acted natural.

See, each time that I do this act, I'm convinced I'm doing a pretty good job. I think I look pretty relaxed. Pretty much under control. Heck, I have a GCSE in Drama. An A grade, no less.

I'm therefore surprised when it transpires that my act is not working and that people are aware I'm a nervous wreck. Instances in which this has happened include: during any immunisation I've ever had and when I feared that the procedure to remove my toenail would have to be under general anaesthetic (she immediately said "it's not a big deal, it's just under local").

Needless to say, I had a great time trying to look casual outside a mental hospital when I had to go for my assessment. Quite how do you look normal when you're trying to kill half an hour before your appointment? Answer: it ain't easy. My doctor reassured me after the event that I needn't have worried - apparently medical students often have to visit mental hospitals when they're trained. I told my doc that next time, if I was asked, I would say I was a student. I then told her that I would be in real trouble if a doctor spotted me saying this: "She's not a medical student - she's a patient! Admit her! It's much more serious than we thought!"

Being normal, eh? Who needs it?


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