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Deep Cuts

Lisa, I was told, had a long history of self cutting her wrists and her thighs. So as I approached her room on the psych ward, I gingerly opened her door and introduced myself. “Get out”, she yelled. And I complied. The next day I had a female nurse accompany me. And once again, now with more anger, “Get away from me, you asshole.” I complied again. This exchange continued for the next couple days. We did bring her food because she flatly refused to come out of her room. I instructed the staff to let her be. We were not going to get into a battle with Lisa, a young woman who clearly was in pain. The next day, as I opened Lisa’s door, I let go of my usual introduction and instead immediately asked her: “Were you adopted?”, to which she responded: “How did you know?”, quickly followed with “Now get the fuck out”…. ….One day later I was nicely surprised when Lisa spoke with me. She said she was adopted at two months of age, that she had never met her biological parents. She then opened up a bit more, sharing that she has had a series of tumultuous relationships, her eyes now streaming with tears. She asked if she could trust me. Later, I found myself thinking quite a bit about Lisa - about an infant who did not have her mother to hold her, embrace her. About the severe imprint, an imprint of abandonment, that continues to be part of her until this day. So the next morning, having finally made some inroads with Lisa, I was looking forward to continuing our conversation. As I opened her door, she blurted out: “Dr. Asshole, get the hell out of here!”

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