The morning had been a rush in getting breakfast done, Daniel ready for work, Ben ready to spend the morning with his grandparents, and Joy getting ready for her appointment. She had already looked up Dr. Mayer’s office on GPS, and it looked like a straight shot down the interstate. Daniel was dropping off Ben so she wouldn’t have to rush.
Sitting in the car outside Dr. Mayer’s office, Joy washed down two Xanax with a juice she had gotten from the corner market. She gathered up her courage, got out of the car and went into the office. It was decorated in pleasing earth tones and low lighting. Signing in with the receptionist, she was given a packet of paperwork to fill out.
Done with the paperwork, she nervously waited to see the doctor. What was he going to be like? How would she be able to tell him about the rape? Should she mention the drinking and the Xanax? This was all so over whelming.
Just then, her name was called. She was led back to a large office decorated in muted mauve tones. There were several seating groupings, and chairs directly in front of an old oak desk. The man who came around to greet her was in his late forties or early fifties, was fit, with reddish-blonde hair going gray. Behind thick glasses, Joy saw kind eyes staring back at her.
“Joy, it is a pleasure to meet you; I’ve known Daniel for a good decade and he is a fine therapist. I am sorry for the circumstances that bring you into my office. Why don’t you take a seat wherever you feel comfortable?” Dr. Mayer was affable in his manner.
Joy chose the seating arrangement near the windows; it was nice to look out onto the wooded area.
“So Daniel told me you had been sexually assaulted when he made the appointment. Do you want to tell me some of the details of the encounter?”
Joy took a deep breath. “A man cornered me in a public restroom with a knife to my throat. He pulled away my lower clothing, man-handled me into the position he wanted me in, and then he raped me. I made a sound I could not help due to the pain and he stabbed me in the neck. He finished and fled, leaving me exposed and terrified.” Joy rushed through the telling, feeling dirty for having said it.
“What else happened?” The doctor looked at her pointedly.
“What do you mean, ‘what else happened?’ I’d say that was a hell of a lot.” Joy stated heatedly, but at the same time scared that the doctor had seen something in her that was telling of her omission.
“I’m sorry Joy. What I mean is there smaller but pertinent details that are also part of your story. I have found that when a woman initially tells me her story, she is in such a rush to get out the detail that she glosses over the smaller parts just to get to the end. If you feel up to it, why don’t you start at the very beginning and finish with your hospital exam.”
After a deep sigh, Joy recounted the full story for Dr. Mayer. Of course she left out the detail of her having an orgasm while being assaulted. She then looked out the window, focusing on a copse of trees so she could get the other images out of her mind.
“That sounds like it must have been a terrifying ordeal, Joy.” Dr. Mayer studied her through his thick glasses.
“Yeah, in retrospect, it was. But it all happened so fast at the time I really didn’t focus on the truth of the danger I was in; I could only think about the assault that was going on.”
“How had this affected your family?”
“Well, Ben got to spend a few days with his grandparents, so it was a vacation for him. I think it has made Daniel hyper vigilant; he is always thinking about me and worrying about me.”
“How about you; how has it affected you?”
“I think I am doing better than everyone expected. I mean, I have my hard times, but I’m dealing with them.”
“How are you sleeping?”
“Well, I wake up most nights and need to watch TV for a while to get sleepy again.”
“How are you eating?”
“I guess I’ve been off with that a bit. I hadn’t thought about it until now.”
“Any anxiety attack during the day?”
“Yes, but my personal physician, Dr. Katz, prescribed Xanax to help me cope with them.” This was starting to feel like an interrogation to Joy.
“What dosage and how often?”
Joy told him what she’d been taking.
“That’s too high a dosage; the aim is to help you through the attack until you learn the coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety.” Dr. Katz made a note in his chart.
“I don’t see how the dosage can be too much given that they barely touch the anxiety I’ve been having.”
“Well, your body adapts to what you are taking in. Say I increased the dosage to help combat the anxiety you’re having now. Within a few day, it would no longer be keeping up with your anxiety. I want you to take it on a routine schedule, one milligram three times a day. Make one of the dosages at bedtime to combat the sleeplessness. If you take it on a schedule, plus learn some coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety, I think you’ll find that you will get a handle on you anxiety.” Dr. Mayer made some more notations on the chart in his lap.
I guess I can give it a try.” Joy sounded doubtful that the plan would work.
“Have you been drinking alcohol?”
“Not really. Maybe a glass of wine with dinner, but that’s all.” Damn if she was going to tell him how much she’d been drinking; he’d have her barred from the liquor stores at this rate.
“That’s good. It is very easy at a time like this to rely upon an extraneous substance to help squash down the emotions you don’t want to deal with. If you are to process this event properly, you cannot have any outside influences altering your state of mind.” Dr. Mayer stared pointedly at her again.
“This all sounds so mechanical. I don’t think I can view this even so logically and sterile. It was messy and amiss; it has totally disrupted my life and I don’t think I can view this all so routinely.” Joy stared out the window to avoid Dr. Mayer’s intense gaze.
“It’s not my position to make this process seem so sterile; I know the disruption this causes on one’s life. I just want to address some key areas early on before they can intrude into your routine. I think this is a good time to finish up for today. I’d like to see you twice a week, at first.
“I’m afraid I can only get away to the city once a week. Would this time next week work for you?” Joy asked before the doctor could object to her not coming twice a week.
“Yes, but just next week I’d like to see you Monday as well. Feel free to call me if something comes up that you don’t know how to handle. We’ll discuss more about those coping mechanisms on Monday.”
Joy got up quickly and left the office. She sat in the car trying to process all that had occurred in that office. God, that man creeped her slam out. She didn’t think she would be able to make herself come back. How could he have such wonderful recommendations?