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Walgreens has long been my stomping grounds for a plethora of things. The photo lab guy who, bless his heart, practically lives there knows my name and can spell it correctly. One of the pharmacists always double checks if any of my gazillion meds is changed even a little. And, they have everything from gift wrap to Cokes to my Charmin toilet paper to little trinkets for my students at church when it’s time for gifts.

Plus, they are particularly helpful. For instance, I downloaded their free app and, ever since then, they send me a reminder well in advance when my prescriptions are ready to be refilled and allow me to send in the request simply by clicking a button. They even alert me when it is time to take a medication. I guess they know that I’d never remember when I am supposed to take Lyrica and when I am supposed to take Levothyroxine without help. They truly live up to their promise to be “The Pharmacy America Trusts.”

Today, I learned that they are even more helpful than I originally knew. Pretty early this evening, I got an e-mail from them whose subject line read: “Improve Your Sleep Habits.”

Ordinarily, I would have just deleted it without a second glance. But today, I laughed. Because it was the second time today I’d been told I need help. Earlier this morning, you see, I got a phone call from a psychiatrist that knows my neurologist. The first time I saw Dr. B, she took a ridiculously in-depth profile of my entire life. She asked me point blank if anything harmful happened to me as a child. I told her the truth and, deeply impressed with how caring and concerned she was, made extra sure to bring her a copy of ‘The Character’ to my next appointment. In the back of all of my books there exists the web address of this blog. Unbeknownst to me, she started reading it. Getting an appointment with this woman takes patience (I waited a full year for the initial visit; subsequent visits are about 6 months out) so I have no idea how long she’s been reading it. What I learned this morning, though, is that she talked to a friend psychiatrist who started to read. Today, that psychiatrist called me to offer me 3 free visits.

I was floored. Surprised, humbled, touched and terrified all at the same time. It’s nearly 10 pm and I have not responded to the voicemail because I have no idea what to do about it. Still, it lingered in my head all day. At weird times, I thought of the voicemail. The secretary said: “Of course, there’s no obligation on your part — not even to accept the free visits. Dr. G just wanted to extend the offer based on educated thoughts after reading through your website and talking with Dr. B.”

Although terror makes my knees quake at the thought of sitting across from a perfect stranger and talking about anything, what lingered the most was the realization that Dr. B really cared. Several years ago, you see, I went to a psychologist whose specialty is supposed to be childhood abuse survivors. I found I couldn’t really talk about my dad so, instead, I skimmed over that part and talked about the consequences of the hurt. For an hour, I told her painful things. At the end of which she told me that she did not think I was ready for therapy.

My heart shattered.

It takes guts of monumental proportions to entrust very painful things to someone you just met and about whom you know nothing. It takes impressive trust to be able to try and explain … anything. She wanted me to talk only of Daddy, she wanted me to confess my innermost painful and shameful things after having met her for the first time. It was devastating to me because I felt like I had just spent an hour really trying to be as open and as honest as I could–and it wasn’t good enough.

My aunt says I misunderstood her. My aunt says that she was probably saying not that I wasn’t ready for therapy but that I couldn’t handle with the effects until I had first handled the cause. I couldn’t make the little girl go away until I confronted head what caused her. Talking about surrounding issues isn’t the same as talking about the issue.

Still, I was done. Completely done. I swore off psychiatrists altogether. I thought, after all, that I was more than ready. I speak about it in public and have written tons on it. Not ready, whatever. So today, when the psychiatrist called me, I spent the first few minutes breaking out in hives and trying to avoid hyperventilating at the prospect of going through that again.

But my doctor–and this new psychiatrist–both must have cared to make the offer at all and I hate the thought of upsetting them or of seeming ungrateful. Because I’m very thankful to have a caring doctor–I know very well just how precious and rare that is. Care is demonstrated the loudest through actions and means the world when it is sincere.

Hours later, Walgreens e-mails me and tells me to improve my sleeping habits. My sleeping habits is that I try to get as little sleep as necessary. I get just enough to function and that’s it. Part of it is because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have time to get anything at all done. But, mostly, I avoid sleep like the plague because I am afraid of nightmares.

I go to bed around two or three each morning and wake up around six thirty. I start feeling it around dinnertime and then, once I’m able to sit I silence, I push through grogginess to work. I’m exhausted at this point–but I don’t care because I have put off waking up multiple times during the night.

A whole lot of people tell me to get more sleep. Even Walgreens. Too tickled about this to think much, I read through the article. Lack of sleep can cause weight gain, depression, decreased bone and muscle growth, hormone changes and a whole host of other ailments. Actually, it even said that it can be a contributing cause of cancer (Eureka! Found the culprit!) It also said that most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.

What!?

So I read through the article because, obviously, the Walgreens app is right–I do need to “improve my sleeping habits .” Maybe it was an omen that was supposed to teach me something. Maybe I also need to see a psychiatrist. I don’t know but what I do know is that I haven’t felt really cared about in a long time. I haven’t felt as though someone was worried about me in a long time. And today, I felt both cared for and worried over. Really, I needed to feel those things and didn’t even know it. A voicemail and an email, that’s all it was. But it whispered of care and touched me.

It reminded me that taking care of yourself isn’t wrong.

Plus, the message from Walgreens reminded me tonight is my bi-weekly bubble bath. And that reminder was worth the whole day!

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