I thought I had reached the conclusion to all of what happened last year with this entry, but it was over a week ago when I realized that the epilogue was still yet to come. Since last August, I’ve been attempting to have a copy of my counseling records; however, through a string of miscommunications and disappointments, I wasn’t able to obtain them until now. It turned out that only after having to authorize release of the documents to myself, that I also had to pay a fee of 75 cents per page – I actually asked if bringing my own paper would permit me a discount (the response was one of bewilderment) – which in effect amounted to a cheque written to the amount of $120. Mind you, the first 20 pages are for free; since I’ve given you the variables, you can probably suppose how long my record is.
Admittedly, I understand the wariness that clinics have in releasing counseling notes to patients, despite their right to view. Reflecting upon the past is incredibly difficult, especially from the objective point of view of clinicians. They are, after all, strangers, and therefore have no other context on which to base their impressions aside from the forty-five minutes each week in the same setting. It takes some distancing, whether it be time or maturity (often both), so as to read the notes without finding offense or be wrought with over-analyzing.
Anyway, I briefly sifted through the papers at my “second home” at 726 Broadway for any particular or striking remarks. What I wound up discovering were a number of incongruities and untruths in the notes written by the Cat Lady. In a span of less than ten meetings, there were numerous errors, which I had outlined to my current psychiatrist, who remarked “Jesus!” at the number of mistakes in my file that upon further review I had noted (I’ve edited/deleted some of the remarks I have made for personal reasons):
12/09/2009; I was noted as being Korean, which is not true
12/09/2009; mother was not reported to have history of irritability and depression
12/09/2009; I did not consider living abroad to study in my teens, as suggested in the file
12/09/2009; “she describes living in a family home while studying in another part of Canada. She did not feel they were sincere in including her in the family b/c they expected her to follow the rules and attend school in order to live there. She spent time in a private catholic school in the US, she was very unhappy there, felt picked on by other students and kept begging to be allowed to come home. She reports that her father, although he did not want her to leave in the first place, felt if it was impt for her not to run away from a difficult situation and encouraged her to stay.” – all of which has never happened and I had made no such claims.
12/19/2009; I am not Korean, though it is continually stated in the file
02/24/2010; the six weeks of sobriety was agreed to because of the mandate of choices provided to me – six weeks of AA or sobriety
03/24/2010; I did not agree to another six weeks of sobriety and the advisement was more so of an argument – I had noted that I had been able to exercise self-discipline but NP argues that “that” was not the point of the exercise, which she had implied it to be in previous sessions
04/17/2010; continued assertion that I am Korean in notes – though such is not true
04/17/2010; I never stated that my mother was “severe and persistently mentally ill”
04/17/2010; social history states that I had “spent most of her jr high and hs years in boarding schools in USA” – such is not true and has never been stated
05/08/2010; NP fails to note that she suggested that I meet with someone new since I am not “cooperative,” and that she would contact someone to follow up with me for an appt, which was never done on her part – employee in Liberal Studies contact the head of mental health services regarding my case to have an appointment set up after two weeks of no response from SHC
age has been maintained at 19, despite having 20 throughout the sessions
Surprisingly, I don’t feel anger – in the past I surely would have. All I feel is disappointment and some sense of completion. The disappointment roots itself in the fact that I was right in doubting the Cat Lady this whole time in her treatment of my case. The sense of completion is in having come full-circle with my ability to impartially evaluate the records. I suppose in reading all of it (entries aside from the Cat Lady’s) that I am able to acknowledge how much of a mess I was and the improvements I’ve made. I’ve put my life back together and am succeeding, and am better at managing blips or issues.
Image courtesy of Harvard Medicine