1st Ex-husband: I read the back of a self-help book the other day and it was all about you.
Me: Really? Was it “The Guide to Reinventing Yourself?”
1st Ex-husband: Uh, No. It was “Stop Walking on Eggshells: How to deal with a Borderline.”
Me: You mean like people who still listen to that 80’s Madonna hit song with the same title?
1st Ex-Husband: Not quite. People who have an Emotional Intensity Disorder, to put it nicely.
Me: Ugh. You just don’t “get me.” You’ve never “gotten me.”
1st Ex-Husband: Why do you always make quotation marks with your fingers when you say that?
Naturally I went out to the closest bookstore and bought a new copy. The first symptom listed was:
- Frequently saying to others, “You just don’t get me.”
- All or Nothing thinking (well, CAN you be halfway pregnant?)
- Anxiety & Depression
- Impulsivity (I like to call it spontaneity)
- Marked sensitivity to rejection (that covered every writer in America)
- Control Issues (that covered every female in America)
- An unwillingness to take responsibility and a tendency to blame others. (not me!)
- Unstable Interpersonal Relationships (what do they expect when nobody “gets” you?)
As I finished up the last chapter, nodding and reluctantly agreeing, I received a phone call.
2nd Ex-Husband: Hey, just came across a book today that reminded me of you — The Bi-Polar and Her Environment.”
Me: I’m guessing it’s not about a big white bear who prefers arctic weather, but she’s bi so she likes the sunshine too?
2nd Ex-Husband: Nope. And did you just make air quotation marks with your fingers? Hello? Are you there?
The neighborhood bookstore owner was politely holding the door wide open for me when I arrived, greeting me with the hardcover in his outstretched hand. I read the entire 300 pages right then and there and sheesh — this book could not have been any more about me. Except when it wasn’t. Yes, I had mood swings and extreme behaviors but “a decreased need for sleep?” Not according to my snooze button. When I returned home, my phone was ringing determinedly.
Me: Hello Mom.
My Mother: My book club met tonight and . . .
Me: Title and Author please?
My Mother: “Should You Avoid the Avoidant Personality in Your Life?” by Hadley Nuff.
If I drove fast enough, I could just about make it back to the bookstore before they closed.
The bookstore manager was locking up as I arrived, but had the decency to have the appropriate pages highlighted and bookmarked as he read the symptoms aloud to me. “People with Avoidant Personality Disorder experience long-standing feelings of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think about them. These feelings of inadequacy leads the person to be extremely inhibited and socially inept. They usually turn to blogging as a last resort.”
Me: You made that last part up!
He winked at me as I grabbed the book and slipped him a twenty.
When I backed out of the lot, a parking attendant approached my car and generously handed me a stack of paperbacks. “I saw these and couldn’t help but think of you.” I glanced at the titles:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Adaptation Syndrome Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
- Reactive Attachment Disorder
- Chronic Depressive Disorder
By morning, blurry eyed from the small print, I had already googled three psychiatrist’s names. But which one would be lucky enough to hit the Jackpot and treat me?
If I couldn’t make up my mind, it probably meant I also had “Decision Disorder.” All three doctors would surely have a field day! It was obvious I had over 10 syndromes. But how had I kept all of these symptoms concealed from myself all these years, I wondered? That was easy. I also had “Defiance Denial Disorder.”
I was extremely nervous when I realized the doctor (whose name I chose from a hat) strongly resembled Jack Nicholson from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” That must be a symptom of “Concoct a Celebrity” disorder, I reminded myself in a calm, affirming manner. “Nothing they can’t prescribe a book for,” I reassured myself. “Relax.”
Me: I don’t understand how I can fit the descriptions of everything. Am I just very versatile?
Dr. McMurphy: Yes and No. You see, Little Miss Menopause… And by the way, changing your name to one of your maladies is very clever indeed.
Me: Thank you.
Dr. McMurphy: You see, many people (especially ex-husbands who develop a sudden interest in literacy) don’t realize how many of these diagnostic terms share a huge overlap of characteristics with one another.
Me: So the authors of the books are all friends who studied about Me in medical school?
Dr. McMurphy: It’s perfectly normal to think it’s always all about you, Miss Menopause. We call that Grandiosity and Narciss….
Me: Never mind!
Dr. McMurphy: The point is, all of these disorders fall under one larger umbrella.
Me: So I have Rainy Day Syndrome as well?
Dr. McMurphy: It does appear that a dark cloud follows you around, yes. But we have another name for you. It’s not any of these fancy sounding syndromes or disorders.
Me: I was afraid of that. Does it start with a C?
Dr. McMurphy: Why yes.
Me: Oh no! And is the second letter an R?
Dr. McMurphy: As a matter of fact.
Me: But Dr… I thought professionals didn’t use that word these days.
Dr. McMurphy: If it’s too much for you, I’ll write it down on my prescription pad and you can look at it later. But there is hope.
As I walked downstairs to the pharmacy, I summoned up all my courage. I could handle being called the “CR” Word. And so what if it happened to rhyme with Lazy. I’d been called worse things. I took a quick peek —
This was more depressing than I thought. I don’t think they’ll ever come up with a cure. I better call both my Ex-husbands and warn them it could get handed down to our kids!