I had my third appointment today. I have two left. We were supposed to discuss how to prevent anxiety. The doctor talked to me about my fears for our safety. He asks me “but your fears are just fears, right? He won’t ever actually come after you, right?”
I tell him I have an order of protection, issued from the criminal courts, not the family courts. Spanning a decade. I explain I am in programs set up by the state to protect my privacy, that all of us are registered with the State Department, the county we left, etc.
He says this is a first, that he does not know what to do with real and justifiable fear, it is not an unreasonable anxiety. You cannot treat such a thing as an illness. I ask him, “Did you never have DV patients sitting here before? Patients whose lives were threatened, whose children were threatened by their partners?” He says that he has not had a patient who had real threats. Just bluster and idle threats.
I say, please, everyone, believe those “idle threats”. A woman was shot and paralyzed here, last year. Where I lived the year before, a woman was gunned down on the courthouse steps. Those are only the sensationalized cases that made it to my ears, I don’t even watch the news. Get protection, don’t tell anyone “He doesn’t mean it. He would never do it.” because if you have to report it, you have to take it seriously.
So instead we are treating my anxieties over adjusting to Western culture. He says I look American, well enough, but my mannerisms and my accent often do not mesh with Americanisms. No one knows me, here. No one knows anything about what I left behind. I had a therapist advise me not to tell anyone, when I first got into town. I told the doctor that. He said he cannot believe a therapist told me to hide myself and my past, that this advice was remiss. He says that if I explain to those who know me what my background is, they might understand what is different about me. It might make me safer, offer protection, if I allow people to know me. That it will not make me a freak.
I just don’t want my children to be shunned.