As soon as I entered the building I felt the atmosphere change – like it does when you go to take a seat in a dentist’s waiting room. It’s always eerily quiet and…clinical. Smells funny too.
I saw a woman appear behind the desk with the voicemail-less telephone and I approached, telling her that I had an appointment. “Yeah, you called to say you were late. I told her. Take a seat.” I went to sit down in the empty waiting area and I was so on edge that I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Every now and then a person would appear through an ID pass door and disappear through another one. After 10 minutes or so I had to wonder what was taking so long; I was already 10 minutes late!
Eventually a woman came through a door next to the desk with the voicemail-less telephone and asked me to follow her. She led me into a small 2 person room just off the reception area. It wasn’t exactly private – we had to stop several times because of noise in reception, and the cleaner kept interrupting us. I have to say, it’s a little difficult trying to be honest about your worst deep down feelings about life when you keep being drowned out by the sound of an industrial vacuum cleaner.
The first thing she wanted to know was whether they had the correct details for me. “Is this your address?” I looked at the piece of paper she had and my immediate thought was ‘ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!’ (See Part 1)
Instead, trying my best to come across as a sane person, I said no and gave her the correct address. I was in there for around 3 hours, so I’ll just give you the things that stuck with me when I walked out of there, and still do now, months later. At first she was simply asking me questions about my family, my parents, my job. I gave her the bits and pieces that she asked for, only realising in hindsight that this would mean leaving big relevant chunks of my history unaddressed.
After a while it started to feel like parts of what I said were being ignored, and words were being put in my mouth. It was as if she was shaping my answers to fit the assessment she was building. I was planning to be more specific here but now that I’m writing, I think it might be best to bypass the quotes, but I will include one from the session that should give you an idea of what the situation was like.
She said to me “I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, oh my God, can this woman read my mind? Well no, don’t worry. I’m not actually reading your mind.”
NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOPE.
How disappointing. I am very tempted to be more specific but I know I shouldn’t, because this one bad experience doesn’t necessarily mean this person is bad at her job. I think maybe she just really genuinely wanted to understand me and connect with me. Unfortunately that led to her pretty much answering the questions for me, incorrectly.
I took it hard. I walked out of there knowing that they weren’t going to help me at all. I’d been counting on this, looking forward to it as the light at the end of the tunnel.
A few weeks later I received a copy of the report she sent over to my GP, and I was called in by my doctor to talk about the results of the assessment.
This woman stated in her report that she believed I was suffering with an eating disorder.
WHAT THE F**K?!?!??!
Even my GP called out that bullshit, thank God.