MUSHROOM m i n d

By Steph Raymond All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Poetry




Was her immediate thought when she set eyes on the psychiatrist

who would be preforming her psychiatric evaluation.

A woman with a familiar face.

But why did she recognize her?

She could not place it but still remained fearful of the idea that she was meant to

open up to someone who may know her.

She spent a very good deal of her life sharing enough to satisfy curious minds

without ever revealing anything

i n t i m a t e

about herself or her life.

It shook her to her core to think that someone other than Caleb

will now be aware of all of her

s e c r e t s …

And yet she knew deep down the thing she craved most was to be

known and understood.

Gemma and Dr. Ying entered the elevator, and it was during their light exchange of words

that Gemma recognized her.

Someone she had never met her in person, but knew about her through social media...

she was the partner of one of the most prominent photographers in town

with whom she’d spoken with once or twice.

She knew enough to know that they lead similar lifestyles

in terms of health and this made her a little more at ease.

Dr. Ying’s office was empty save for two chairs, a desk, a photo of the northern lights

and some organic snacks on the top shelf.

“So Gemma, how are you doing?”

The doctor asks kindly once they are seated.

“Fine.” Gemma says,

forcing eye contact which

always seems unnatural for her.

“It was doctor Moore who referred

you to me, correct?

Not your family doctor?

“Yes, doctor Moore gave me the referral.

My family doctor was meant

to refer me to someone but it’s been

months of waiting, and doctor Moore

is just really great and genuine

and I felt I could open up to her a little,

because quite frankly,

I’m at the point that I want the help and

support of other people.

I learned the hard way that I can’t do this alone.”

The tears came instantly, and the doctor handed Gemma some tissues.

“That’s good.”

Dr. Ying was already taking notes.

“Can you describe to me

how you’ve been feeling lately?

The past two weeks.”

“Well, it’s complicated.” Gemma started,

“Lately, like the past few days...

I’ve been extremely low...depressed.

But two weeks ago, I was feeling amazing.

More than. It always goes like that.”

“So you were feeling good and suddenly,

a few days ago, what happened?”

“What always happens.

There’s never a specific trigger.

Suddenly I can feel myself sinking,

and everything that was clear becomes foggy.

And I can’t remember things right,

and it also affects my stroke.

I am so much more limited physically

when I am this way.

Once I got out of rehab

and continued physiotherapy as an outpatient,

they re-measured my grip strength

while I was depressed. But they didn’t know I was depressed.

My right hand strength had mysteriously

dropped a significant amount since rehab

and it was confusing to everyone because

before that I was making constant, almost unbelievable progress.

Walking from my living room

to my kitchen feels like I’ve just run a marathon,

and that’s not an exaggeration.

The fatigue is extreme and I lack motivation.

And when I spiral...sink...It’s so unbearable,

I lose control.”

“Do you ever feel like hurting anyone?”

She asks seriously.

“No one other than myself.”

“How exactly do you lose control?”

Gemma took a deep breath,

“I just...I can’t take it.

My whole body erupts in turmoil

and I would do anything not to feel that way.


And so I fantasize about savagely

hurting myself.

But I don’t.

I do it calmly with a pair of scissors

across my legs because that’s the way it hurts the most.”

She lets the tears fall freely down her face silently.

“Have you ever tried to end your life?”

“I’ve come close a few times.”

“How did you do it?”

“Alcohol and whatever pills I was prescribed

when I was taking medication.

The medication always made things worse.”

“That happens when you are being

treated for the wrong illness.” She said.

“so how long do you stay depressed?”

“Two weeks, usually.”

“And then how long does it stay away?”

“Five days. Seven if I’m lucky.

I think when I was younger it was different though.

I had longer breaks in between.”

“And during those five to seven days,

how do you feel?”

“I come out of a depression,

and it actually ends up being a few more

difficult days of feeling out of control,

just because suddenly I feel everything

to an exaggerated degree.

I feel things more deeply than the people around me.

In a good way mostly though.

Colors are brighter and I’m passionate again

and my creativity comes out

and I’m full of ideas.

I often stay awake until four in the morning

when I am like this...

four is always the time my body will give in.

Thinking of all the

creative projects I want to do…

it’s a little obsessive admittedly.

But it doesn’t matter than I don’t sleep because

I never feel tired like this.”

“How’s your libido when you are in this state?”

“Um...I don’t exactly know how to say...

extremely high, I guess.”

“Do you ever hear voices?”

Gemma suddenly looked up, scared to be fully

h o n e s t

with the doctor. She knew how the truth sounded...

it’s why she never told anyone but Gavin, Kylee and Alex.

“Yes.” She said,

“But I really don’t think it’s relevant...

it’s not like I have conspiracies in my head

or voices telling me horrible things.

It’s mostly just whispers.

Or my name...

or a man telling me he’s sorry.”

The psychologist wrote quickly in her notepad before looking up,

“psychosis can be different for everyone.

Bipolar psychosis is much different

than say schizophrenia psychosis.”

“Bipolar psychosis?”

“Yes, I would have to say you are

definitely on the bipolar spectrum.

Type 2 bipolar doesn’t experience full mania,

however they experience something called


And sometimes, bipolar patients experience

symptoms of psychosis...

hearing voices, hallucinations,

often times they have a spiritual sense

or a transcending quality.

Delusions like this are much more realistic and transitory.”

Gemma had never researched psychosis before...

She felt gutted to hear about it

when she felt she owed her entire self to the

s p i r i t u a l t r a n s i t i o n

she was undergoing.

She never felt delusional...

How could she argue spirit with science

to someone who only perceives the side of science?

But still she allowed the words of the psychiatrist to plant a

a virus of doubt within her.

And it spread

s l o w l y –

covering her in darkness

until she no longer knew who she was.

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