I was twelve years old when my mother first mentioned the psychiatrist. My sweet mother wanted to take me to see one. All of my quirks had become far more than just the tantrums of a short-tempered child. I’ll never forget the solemn expression on her face. Her eyes were tearful as she tried to explain why she thought we needed to see a psychiatrist. She had the same look that I saw in myself when I glanced in the mirror after having a nightmare; deep dread and anguish. The monsters that chased me in dreams — that lurked beneath my thoughts — they seemed to have manifest into a shadow that she could see.

I wondered with fright, if perhaps she saw me as a monster too.

Panic filled me.

All I knew about psychiatrists was that they were evil doctors who locked people up in white padded rooms and drugged them with medicine that made the patients “retarded.” I didn’t want to meet with such a doctor. I didn’t want them to put me in that lonely, horrifying white room. I hated white. I hated needles. I hated crazy people. . .

I told my mother — in a fierce hysterical tantrum — that she was a bad mother. I told her she didn’t love me. I told her what happened to people with psychiatric records; their lives were ruined. No one wanted them. That’s all I had ever heard — how bad it was to be crazy — and I called her the worst mother in the world for wanting me to live with that stigma.

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