Oh, on the deck I was fragment-talking (is that a good word for it?) about good ol' fat face (Dr. Zinn) I saw him in fifth grade and sixth grade. Because – I was doing bad in school I guess and my parents thought it would help me. I tried to tell you about it, my relationship with him – but it wasn't the place.
I have a reaction to Victor Zinn like I have to poison ivy (I am extremely allergic to the weed – almost to the point that I am paranoid of it – but that's not the point I am making. Anyway I break out something fierce.) Jane went to him – I don't know why – her parents recommended him to me parents. So they sent Sandy, who, at the time was having difficulty in school. I think she really likes him. At least she got along better than I did.
I was really hateful to him. The first time I resolved to myself that I would only tell him my name, grade, and social security number. Actually the first time I met him was at a family conference. Kathy didn't like him because he got too personal. I sat and played with a hairpin on the rug the whole time – I was terribly bored. I got one impression – he said the word "neat" too much. To me that meant he was trying to be identifying with the young. I had never met an adult who said stuff like that before.
Sandy says actually no, she didn't like him, and agrees with Jenny's comment about him trying too hard to be cool.
The first appointment with him I had, as I said above, resolved not to say anything. But as you may have noticed I have a mouth and I tend to use it.*
*see my comments on the retreat, and if I didn't write any – ask me
I have always talked to him – unlike my reaction to Jean which causes me to clam up. But my way of talking, to say the least is/was obnoxious.
(I'm not certain, but from later mentions I'm pretty sure "Jean" refers to Jean Thompson, an English Literature teacher in the CFS Upper School whose class she was apparently taking.)
To reiterate what I have noted elsewhere, Jenny did do some questionable things. (I don't love her any less for them; they just need to be acknowledged.)
I can kind of understand her behavior around Zinn, even if he was really truly trying to help her, just because of the context – she did not get to choose. A therapist is someone you need to be able to trust if they're going to help you, and if you're presented with one like they're an authority figure and you have to talk to them, that's going to set the relationship on the wrong foot to begin with. ...but there were other things she did that were more problematic.
I remember her telling me about these prank phone calls she used to do – first calling up some unsuspecting soul on the phone, cursing them out, and hanging up – and then a few minutes later calling back, claiming to be the previous caller's older sister who had overheard the call and wanted to apologize. Apparently the recipients of these pranks bought the whole story. (At the same time as I'm facepalming about it, I kind of have to admire her cleverness and acting ability in pulling it off.)
I think it says something that she was willing to confess to me about both of these behaviors.
The second I would walk into his office I would get sarcastic. I really hate that man, and I don't know why. I have never been able to figure out why I act the way I do in front of him. One thing for sure – I have always gotten my friends to hate him. (See my comments about psychologists in an earlier note.) I once wrote a whole bunch of nasty things about him on paper complete with pictures and put it on his desk among the papers while he wasn't looking. (I had pretty free reign over his office after I got bored of sitting in my chair and not talking to him. He loved to observe me. Or not observe me. The only thing he didn't let me do was read his comments on some inkblots, and throw his glasses across the room.)
Well of course you could, Jenny. Regardless of what he was like in his private life, he was not a benign force in yours.
The "earlier note" is probably Note #9.
When he found the paper two weeks later (his desk was a mess) he was very surprised. He said not one of his patients had ever tried that approach. "I pity his wife, she has to change his diapers every night" I now can imagine his feelings when he found it amongst his papers.
Actually he probably is a nice person, considering. He never told my parents anything I didn't want him to. He hated large technical words, and once he read a report about me from the place at Duke† and laughed at the garbledy-gook.
‡ Why am I having trouble when I remember I hate the idea
† Oh yes not only did they send me to a psychologist but before that they had me tested to see if I had a "learning disability"‡ Well what they couldn't see was what Henry diagnoses as, pure and simple, laziness. I am, unless I feel like it, or it's due, or if you push, I won't do anything.
← ugh! that sentence doesn't work
It kind of seriously ticks me off that she believed this about herself (and I'm a bit dismayed that Henry, a Middle School teacher whose wisdom she greatly respected, would have reinforced that... but if anyone made serious mistakes regarding Jenny, it was me, so I can hardly hold this smaller one against him).
On the one hand, I can understand her wanting to break free of having a "condition" in need of "treatment", because her parents would have seen it as a stigma and added it to the balance of arguments in favor of sending her to an institution to "help" with her academic issues, which (as previously discussed) was a possibility that absolutely terrified her and probably would have made things worse.
Also, I don't know what effective treatments existed at the time, or would have been likely to be recommended. She probably would not have been given agency over deciding what was appropriate, in any case, and would have felt compelled to go along with whatever her parents told her to do (any opposition would have been seen as a further sign of "emotional problems" in need of "treatment").
On the other hand... she clearly had dyslexia, probably some ADD (ADHD-PI), almost certainly depression, and possibly other issues below the surface. If nothing else, these should have been recognized as handicaps that she had to deal with, and appropriate amounts of slack given out so she wouldn't feel under such pressure to "achieve".
Like me, she was a bit too unusual for the school to handle – but not unusual enough for the school to recognize that they were out of their depth... and not that there were really any alternatives, at the time. We just didn't fit.
She fit better than I did, though... and yet I'm the one who's still here. This is not how things are supposed to be.
Anyway, about the testing. They tested my sight and coordination. And things like classroom conditions. How I work in silence, low constant noise, loud constant noise, erratic noise. Also things like "Make up a story about this picture." And "Hand me the green sphere after you put the blue circle on the table."
Once I was even spied on in school. (at that time Immaculata) I don't know what conclusion they came to, but after that, I think, I went to good ol' fat face.
I have been writing for quite a time now.... You've kept me from writing Chris.
Yes, the best way to drive a person insane is to act like they are. I have also already figured this out. The human resistance is great to labeling of this sort. I am writing a story about circumstances driving a person mad.
No, don't smile I was being sarcastic
I am so proud of you being able to say something in a tenth of the time it takes me.* I can be factual if I want to, but I am too much of a writer to enjoy it. The purpose of such writing is to avoid an unpleasant subject which I much wanted to do after the Sevier/Marion. I suppose it is a type of cop-out. But it looks pretty.
I think I was trying to say (in one of my notes) that all this questioning of her sanity was probably just making it worse – which really kind of highlights the fact that even I wasn't thinking of therapy as something intended to help her, but as something designed to discredit her and provide a pretext for further restricting her freedom.
...and of course I didn't think she was actually praising me...
I have no direct recollection of what "the Sevier/Marion" refers to, but Marion is a street about halfway between our two houses (though not on the way; it's about a block off to one side), and if you follow it downhill it intersects with the bottom end of Sevier Street, and if you walk up Sevier you come back to the top of Marion and then back to Woodburn and the shortest route between our two houses. So presumably we decided to go for a walk there one day, and ended up discussing some subject she found unpleasant.