Writing Fiction posted February 24, 2017 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 7... 

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Gary learns more about his illness

A chapter in the book One man's journey to get clean

The Big Purple Book

by Mustangpatty1029

We've been following along on Gary's journey to get clean.  When the story first started, he was outside of a diner when he decided to make a call to the rehab center for help.  He had hit his rock bottom.  He was a homeless drug dealer, and he was sick with himself.  When he called the rehab center, he was told they had an open bed IF he came right then and there.  He's made it through detox, and just yesterday, they told him there was mental illness underlying his addiction.

The skies were dark and dreary.  Rain pelted against the windows; the sound was soothing.  Gary sat at a table nursing his second cup of coffee; above him flourescent bulbs lit the dayroom.

Coffee wasn't really coffee at the rehab center.  Gary laughed about the decaf they put out.  He could remember clearly the venti latte he used to have every morning.  Was he addicted to coffee too?  Maybe the intense headache he had as he went through detox was proof of that fact.  He only knew that sitting with a hot cup of whatever the brew was made him feel better.

Gary certainly needed something to feel better this morning.  James's words from yesterday kept racing through his mind.  ". . .It appears that you have a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Bi Polar II.  We need to start you on some meds."

What was Borderline Personality Disorder?  Borderline what?  Was he borderline psychotic?  Schizophrenic?  He was at least familiar with the Bi Polar part.  His mother suffered from Bi Polar disease.  She had managed to get through it.  He knew she had good days and bad days, but what would this diagnosis mean for him?

Deep in his own thoughts, Gary put down the cup of coffee.  He walked down to the therapist's office and peeked in the open door.  James looked up and motioned for him to come in.  Pointing to the chairs in front of his desk, he started with, "Yesterday must have been a little rough, huh?  And I imagine you didn't sleep well last night either."

With a sigh and a deep breath, Gary answered, "I'm just not sure what the diagnosis means for me.  I mean, my mother has Bi Polar, so I can accept that, but what does Borderline Personality Disorder mean?  Am I some sort of a psychotic?"

"It's perfectly normal to have these kinds of questions." 

James turned to his bookshelf.  He pulled out a big purple book.  The spine showed signs of wear and many readings.  He turned to one of the pages marked by a sticky note. 

"I was going to come and find you in a bit anyway.  I'm going to give you the basics of your diagnoses. First, do you remember the series of tests we gave you after detox?  There was one for your IQ, and several about your emotional state, along with an MMPI."
"An MMP-who?"

"MMPI.  That is the acronym for the 'Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.'  That's the test with all of the true or false questions."

"Oh, I remember that one.  It felt like there were about a thousand questions.  Did those answers tell you guys I'm crazy?"

"You're not crazy, Gary.  We formed your diagnosis from a combination of the tests you took, the questionnaires you filled out, and the conversation you had with the psychiatrist you spoke with.  Do you remember Doctor Wilbert?"

"Yea.  He seemed like a standup guy.  We talked about a lot of stuff, like my childhood and high school.  I liked him a lot.  Do I get to meet with him again?"

"Doctor Wilbert will meet with you tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the morning.  He will answer any questions you may have and write your prescriptions."

"So, what is in that book?" Gary asked as he nodded towards the big purple book in James's hands. 

"This is the DSM-5. That stands for the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.'  Each disorder is discussed, along with its main components.  If you want to hear about Borderline Personality Disorder, I can tell you the basics.  Are you ready?"

Gary nodded.  He felt his mouth go dry and there was a ringing in his ears.  He wanted the information, but at the same time it scared him.  He wasn't ready to find out he was crazy.  It was bad enough having to deal with being gay, a former drag queen and a momma's boy.  He had always felt different.  He struggled with 'the rules,' and he had a hard time making and keeping friends.  Would all of that be explained?

"Ok.  Let's talk about the Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.  Your test results indicate you have an irrational fear of abandonment, trouble with interpersonal relationships, and your self-image is distorted.  We know from your answers on the questionnaires your impulsivity has gotten you into trouble over the years.  Do you see this in yourself?"

"Yea . . ." he started.  Clearing the lump in his throat, he continued, "I could sometimes make friends, but they didn't last.  I haven't had any good friends in years.  The other drug dealers I ran with weren't exactly friendly, and I really didn't want them to be part of my life anyway.  The impulse thing must have to do with the stealing and drinking, huh?  Oh, and I was arrested for domestic violence.  I guess it could also be about my reckless sexual behavior, too.  Over the years, I've been with a lot of people.  Most of them were one night stands . . ." His voice trailed off when he realized he wasn't ready to talk about that.  "Yea, I can see some of the things you're describing, but what about the self-image and abandonment thing?  I've always really liked myself, and I've never been fearful about someone leaving." 

"Just how much do you like yourself?  Do you feel ashamed about the drug use?  The sex?  Or, do you just see yourself as this great guy that has made some mistakes?"

"Uh. . ., I don't know.  I always saw myself going places.  I have an excellent talent in just about everything I do.  I designed clothes from the time I was sixteen.  I was the best in all the plays in high school.  I was the lead in both Junior and Senior years, and everyone said I should go to New York to pursue an acting career.  I can sing and play several instruments.  I probably could win 'American Idol,' if it was still on the air.  I just went down some wrong paths, that's all.  If I just try a little harder, I'm going to be a star."

"Well, can you see how you have an inflated image of yourself?  One of the indicators of BPD is grandiose ideas.  Do you sometimes feel like the world revolves around you?"

Gary's head was spinning.  Over the years, people had told him he had 'a big head,' and he just believed they were jealous of all the great things he had going on.  He didn't even have to try very hard to get good grades in school.  Everything came naturally to him except for math.  Was he just conceited or did he think too much of himself?  Was that a grandiose idea?

"On the abandonment issue, it's an irrational fear.  Have you ever dreaded the thought of someone leaving so much that you purposely pushed them away?  Or did you hold on so tight, the other person felt smothered?"

He did cheat on Alex, the longest relationship he'd ever had, and he never really understood why. If so, he fit all the descriptions.  The problems with friends, the impulse thing, and pushing away almost everyone in his life.  It was all true.

He wasn't sure if he wanted to hear James tell him the meaning of Bi Polar II.  How bad off was he if he had both mental issues?

. . .to be continued



Gary's story is total fiction. I've researched and read about rehab and drug use, but my only real connection to the subject is my son's battle with crystal meth. I went through a 12-step program with Over Eater's Anonymous, and everything else is imagined or based on television or movies. ANY suggestions are welcome.
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