Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Long, Long Road to Closure

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Digging myself out of the impact of so much early life trauma is something like digging out your car from the consequences of a Minnesota blizzard.  It takes quite a lot of time sometimes to accomplish such a dig.

Today I made another huge stride forward.  I successfully reached the psychologist who performed the psychological screening on me many years ago when I applied to become a member of the Jesuit order.  I could not even remember the psychologist's name.  To track him down I first had to call the province headquarters office, explain who I was and then ask for the name of a man I had met many years ago.  Today my patience paid off.  The psychologist, a Dr. James Muller who is now semi-retired, called me.  I explained who I was.  I explained that I am doing something of a health history retrospective.  I explained that I am trying to understand how several different mental health care providers all somehow failed to diagnose the PTSD I was diagnosed with in late June of this year.

The file that once existed which provided a record of Dr. Muller's assessment of me is long since gone. It was destroyed some years ago.  With so many years gone by Dr. Muller himself struggled to recall who I was.  He had seen hundreds of clients over the years.  I suppose you will not stand out in the memory of a mental health professional unless you had a most unusual illness or personal history.  His inability to recall any significant details from my assessment was therefore not surprising.  But it certainly was disappointing.  It's a little difficult to ask someone to explain how a diagnosis of PTSD could have been missed when he can barely even remember you at all.

When I made the decision to conduct this retrospective I knew there was a very real possibility that outcomes like what took place today might happen.  That is the risk you take (among many) when you open up the past and have another look.  People will have forgotten you.  People have changed professions.  People have died.  That is simply how life is.  I feel disappointed that I could not gather more information.  But I also feel relieved.  I feel relieved that I have opened this one particular portal to the past, asked my question and now put the matter to rest.  I will have many more doors to knock on before I am done.

For those of you reading who are wondering why I might subject myself to such a process I will offer you the following.  I want to have the most accurate personal medical record compiled as is possible.  Having an accurate and thorough medical record will assist me in the remainder of my life as I seek out medical care.  I don't want to leave anything to chance.  Given how many times other people have failed me in my life I find it imperative that I be proactive and do the very best I can to create a comprehensive record.  It is one aspect of a larger strategy I have developed to improve my own self care.

I soon hope to receive a form from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.  This will allow me to order the medical record that exists on file there.  Once I have that record in my possession I can then speak to a psychiatrist I once worked with there when I lived in Chicago.  It will be another step forward.  It will be another step of many I still need to take.

This journey is not easy.  I am nonetheless committed to my own personal healing.  I will not rest until I have overcome the harmful impact of events from my childhood.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!