Better Than Psychiatrists

In Spring of 2000, thirteen years ago, I learned notebooks are better than psychiatrists— and I never forgot.

Notebooks are better than psychiatrists because our world isn’t always a safe place to reach out for comfort. I remember reaching out for comfort at Hampshire College Health Services, from the counselor, and she responded with fear, escorting me to Umass Health Services to have a consultation with a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist didn’t want to hear about my sexual trauma or spiritual awakening. He gave me a Celexa prescription and sent me on my way. He said I wasn’t ready for the spiritual energy-he understood these things, as he had practiced Chi Gong.

It was around this time of year- Spring- with this kind of weather-wet, damp, humid, rainy. I learned my notebook is more comforting than people, paper is softer than skin, the hug of my hand around a pen is always real and safe, while a human to human hug can be insincere or dangerous. Words are safer when expressed silently and edited later, if need be, than spoken to someone who may be unable to hear. The spiral binding of my notebook is a guaranteed listener while the spirals in the ears of others are not. The lines on the page are a clear path for my outbursts of feeling while the lines of the law make my humanness unsafe. The margin of the page is merely a guideline; I don’t ever have to use it. The limitations of psychiatrists and others are real regardless of how much I may want things to be different. The three holes in the pages are benign-they don’t affect me, I ignore them. The holes in psychiatric thinking and societal structures deeply damage me no matter how much I want to break free, ignore it or say it doesn’t need to affect me.

In Spring of 2000, thirteen years ago, I learned notebooks are better than psychiatrists— and I never forgot.