The First Step in Treating Mental Illness

Girl and Goat 1

By Eric Morago

is to admit to needing professional help—
then seek it out.

So I spend all afternoon obsessing,
combing over my HMO’s website
to find what is and is not covered.

And I’m starting to feel a little better

by this idea of unabashed honesty
between myself and a credentialed
stranger—a doctor, trained to listen

and not make me feel crazy

when I say things like:
my skin is a parade of exit doors
I open myself.

And for the first time in a while
the anxiety ballet in my stomach
takes an intermission—

that is until I’m on the phone
with an insurance rep requesting
authorization and he asks:

What is the problem?

The question comes down,
both expected and unexpected
like a guillotine blade—

fast, brutal, clean.

This is not the stranger I wanted—
not the one I’d prepared myself
for, the one who was supposed

to make me feel safe and maybe
that is why it is most important

I answer him.


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