Free Little Bird

One last psych post.

HL sat up in bed when we talked to her with glasses on, a tiny whisp of a woman, reading. The muscles in her neck were prominent, and her collarbones were more visible than normal as they joined the sternum, prominent above the collar of a baggy grey sweatshirt.

There's a Lisa Loeb song for kids that came into my head as soon as I saw her.

I'm as free a little bird as I can be...Gonna build my nest in a big oak tree, where no one can never bother me...

She had tried to end it all. Why? Well...her husband, who she had married only a year or two ago, had said he wanted a divorce for no reason and was apparently having an affair, but they were still living together, and he apparently changed his mind daily as to whether he wanted to actually finalize the divorce or not. They slept in seperate beds. She had a long history of sexual abuse. She had a history of anorexia nervosa; and she had OCD. She counted. She would look up and count to distract herself from troubles. She was a recovering alcoholic, and had fallen off the wagon. Hard.

I suppose I would too.

Normal conversation for B6/5, actually. But the most interesting part came when we talked about her drinking. She had started a new job and not told anyone she had an alcohol use 'issue', then gone out one night and, well...she said one drink led to another and to another.

"Did you have a feeling associated with this relapse?"

"Freedom", she said, clearly, after thinking for a fraction, and pushed her glasses back into place with a tremulous hand. And, despite my feeling about alcoholism and what it does to people and families, I thought to myself, go on, build that nest. Better you climb into the oak tree where no one can bother you than go back to a house where your nutso hubby emotionally tortures you with the daily possibility of divorce. And this for a person who by temperment and disorder has a need to control her reality to a degree that natural drives are the enemy to be kept at bay by castle walls of restrictive behavior and rituals. Imagine that. And for that relapse, that evening, she felt free. It almost killed her.

I'm struck at how strong and fragile we are at the same time. Not least of all this one, who, despite it all, was an executuive for marketing at a major national brand. Free as she can be, drinking deep red wine, one tall glass after the other.

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