This set of poems was one of my folio-pieces in Year 12
by Stephen Clark
A man, with wrist-watch on his arm
And briefcase in his sweaty palm
Walks in the room where I exist
He is a great psychiatrist
He's previously cured many patients
With counselling, not operations
His specialty is healing minds
His name is Doctor David Hines
And as he sits down on a bench
He's confident that he can quench
The ailments of my mental health
He greets me and presents himself,
And then proceeds to probe my brain
I talk of sadness, grief and pain
He sorts the facts out as they stand
He has a mighty task at hand
For all my answers are quite short
And with reluctance I am fraught
He fights against my sad sensation
He tries to kill my desolation
His knowledge and experience
Helps him to counter my defense
The doctor, Hines, is brave to dice
With failure; the wrong advice
Could send my mood down an abyss
But thoughts like this must be dismissed.
It seems he cannot be defied
With facts and logic on his side
And yet, when he walks out the door,
I'm no more happy than before.
For ages I will stay this glum
There will be many talks to come.
I've been getting help in session after session with the shrink
And my parents come as well, to tell the doctor what I think.
They do most of the discussion, I just sit there and agree
'Cause they're pretty accurate with what they say about me.
Do these sessions help to stamp out the depression in my life?
I don't know. It's peace of mind, though, for my father and his wife.
So I do a psychological assessment, and it's done
By a competent psychologist who rates second to none
An associate of Doctor Hines, she comes to me and smiles
And says "Hello Stephen, how are you? My name is Tonya Miles.
I'll be doing your assessment, so just come along with me."
And we go into her office which is tidy as can be.
The assessment of my mind commences without any hitches
There are puzzles to solve, words to define, and cards with pictures
Where I have to say what's missing, and there's patterns to arrange
And there's other tests abounding, some of them so very strange
That I'm laughing. Tonya Miles says "Steve, you must be thinking 'Hell,
This assessment is so easy, it's just crazy!', I can tell."
So I must be doing well, although it's not the sort of test
Where you get a certain score, but still you have to do your best.
Six weeks later, I am in a different room. We have a meeting
Doctor Hines and Tonya Miles and I are seated on the seating
And my Mum and Dad are also present, waiting to receive
The results of the assessment, so important to their Steve
"The results", says Doctor Hines "are fairly good news all around.
Stephen has a high intelligence, his sanity is sound.
He's creative, though the down-side is his social interaction
Skills leave much to be desired." The Doctor pauses for a fraction
Of a second. "There's a label that can be applied to this
Group of symptoms. I can tell you, though some people would dismiss
This as useless. Would you like to know the name?" Mum nods her head.
"Stephen has Asperger's Syndrome." I can't follow what he said.
Tonya Miles writes down the spelling on a handy piece of paper
Sayin' "It's not like a disease, for you alone are the shaper
Of your mind. I'm not condemning you to madness; you are able
To avoid it. So don't think you are imprisoned by this label."
My mind is settling into a routine.
The sessions with the shrink get far apart
Does Doctor Hines think I am getting happy?
'Cause at this rate my joy will never start.
My parents come to each and every session
There's feelings that I'm keeping deep inside
And while the end of '92 grows closer,
The importance of my counselling has died.
Eventually the Doctor says he's leaving
He says "So, we could let the sessions go,
Or you could start to talk to someone different
Like Tonya Miles, since she's the one you know.
You would be seeing her without your parents
Just you and her. The choice is yours to make."
And while I am agreeing to see Tonya,
I harbour fears it could be a mistake.
My problems, and my feelings and emotions,
Are things I can't sufficiently discuss.
Alone with Tonya, I could well be silent
Incapable of finding words, and thus
The sessions would be useless. But I'll risk it
'Cause sessions with my parents are a bore.
On March the twenty fourth I meet with Tonya,
She leads me to her office as before.
We sit down on the armchairs which are comfy
She asks me several questions to begin
She quizzes me to get some information
About the situation that I'm in.
My answers show no sign of my depression
If this goes on she'll get the wrong idea
She'll think that I am happy, and the purpose
Of this appointment will be made unclear.
It seems we're running out of conversation
And then she asks me "Stephen, tell me true
Have you been feeling melancholy lately?
Depressed? Are these the feelings had by you?"
I answer "Yes." She asks "Is there a reason
For you to feel so sad in recent years?"
I say "Well I don't know, perhaps I'm lonely
And feeling isolated from my peers...
There is a shell around my mind.
It is intangible but it is there.
I can see through it from the inside
But from the outside, it is opaque.
The path into the shell is clear -
Things flow in, but barely anything comes out.
With time it has grown thicker, stronger
Bit by bit, slowly, imperceptibly,
It has been reinforced, strengthened.
Nothing can break the shell.
It is indestructible
There are doors in the shell...
They have always been there, and
They are locked.
Only one person has a key
Other people try to pick the locks,
Very few people succeed, and things trickle out
Then the doors close, so quick
That people barely have time to remove their fingers.
Many things go in
Barely anything goes out.
But once the doors are closed,
They are still locked and it takes skill to re-open them
And the shell remains, unweakened
Nothing can stop it from getting stronger.
And the thicker the shell is...
The harder it is to see me inside it.
Maybe one day they will...
What's this? I'm feeling rather strange
I shudder; my surroundings change
Oh no! I must have been asleep
'Twas all a dream. It's hard to keep
Awake here in this waiting room
Fluorescent lights above me loom
I might have known I couldn't make
A lengthy speech while I'm awake
It was a vision, nothing more
This long and drawn out metaphor
"Where's Tonya Miles?", I think, and then
She enters. Here we go again
I follow her, and we are seated
The whole fiasco is repeated
And in the next few months it seems
Our talks are nothing like my dreams
My voice is soft, my answers short
So Miles suggests a plan: I ought
To correspond my thoughts in writing
This prospect is, to me, inviting
Time passes. Things are going better
Each session I write Miles a letter
She reads it out and I don't need
To talk a lot, I just take heed
Of her suggestions, come what may.
I've come to like my sessions, they
Are pleasant. I would say that this
Thing called psychoanalysis
Is like a drug. It stalls my woe
I get addicted to it though
For if my therapy departed
I'd be depressed as when I started.