I often think what might have happened had I skipped this appointment or, why I believe in a little bit of fate.

The week after my first roommate left, three weeks after her mother killed herself, five weeks into my college experience and two into weeks into the actual semester, I went to my favorite class, Early Childhood Education.  Molly made the dry text seem relevant, and I couldn’t be bothered studying stuff that didn’t seem relevant, so we were a good match, this class and I.

On this particular day, as I left class, she handed me a note that said “Piers. 3 pm.”  I looked at it quizzically and she said, “just go there, you have an appointment.” I waved to Gerry, my housing coordinator friend, and passed the Dean of Student Housing, and found myself, quite by surprise, at the campus psychologist. I learned I had an appointment with him by arriving at his door, not unlike television intervention shows today.

The room may actually have been smaller than the Johnny-on-the-spot single- sized dorm room I would have in a few years time. There was a bright yellow chair and a couch, no windows, and had there been one I might have jumped.    It was (I would later learn) a typical first “session,” I talked a bit, cried a bit and left with another note with an appointment to a “real” doctor who could prescribe “real” pharmaceuticals.

After a few of these meetings, Piers took me to a nearby restaurant known for free hot appetizers just about walking distance from school. This was the 70’s, there was little concern that a thirtyish psychologist accompanied by an eighteen year old college student at a Holiday Inn Happy Hour might be a tad inappropriate. A few others gradually joined us for these soirees, forming a tightly knit group that grew, along  with Piers’ influence,  over time.

A few months into the counseling/medication ritual I wrote my parents a letter.  I meant to communicate how much better I was feeling and that there might be a medical reason for my sleepless mania; that I had turned a corner regarding my major.  I was on a filthy carpet on a lounge floor, must have been during one of my roommate debacles, pouring my heart out in this letter, which would never be mentioned to me.  I realize now that they might have read the words “psychiatric consult” as “You were a shitty parent.”

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