Last Fall, my depression got so unbearable that I finished a quest I started nearly three years prior to get a referral to a civilian psychiatrist. My husband is a military psychiatrist and we felt it best I didn't visit his colleagues for my mental health care at the military hospital where our insurance prefers we go for care. I was so desperate for help that when the referral incorrectly placed me with a psychologist, rather than psychiatrist, I called and made the appointment anyway. On the phone, the doctor told me that she saw patients at her home and asked if I had allergies to cats. I said no. She told me that when I came to just walk in and take a seat; she would call for me when she was ready. On the date we'd specified I drove up a street lined with normal middle class houses wondering which house Mapquest would tell me to stop at. Mapquest needn't utter a thing because as soon as I saw the eery grey house with the red door by which hung a "Danger: Beware of Cats" sign I knew I'd reached my destination. As I got out of the Jeep, I looked up at the second story window lined with colorful plush animals, backs to the window, as though they were part of an intervention for their friend sock monkey who'd huffed one too many fluff balls. I trudged forward imagining perhaps I was there to bust the poor monkey free.
When I reached the door there was no placard indicating this was a clinic or even a Post It note saying "come in," so I was reluctant to follow Dr. Griffin's instructions. It was my curiosity that gave me a push to discover whether or not there really were rabid cats inside as the sign warned. The door opened into a living room. The first thing I saw was a kitchen chair on which sat a mountain of magazines and mail. All around me was the stench of cat urine. There was also a table with three piles of magazines, a couple chairs around it, an armchair and a couch whose arms were lined with black garbage sacks and two cat activity towers and three cats sniffing my diaper bag. I was a little confused as to whether I had entered a quarantine zone for wild peeing felines or a waiting room of sorts. A women appeared from a door behind the table and I asked her if I was in the right place. She just smiled and said something in Spanish while she started to gather the trash bags from the living room and the kitchen which was behind the door from which she came. I noted many more cat towers in the kitchen and the room beyond that.
"Come on up!," sounded a voice from somewhere up the stairs directly in front of the front door. The stairs were equipped with a handicap lift I noted. At the top of the stairs and to the left was a door cracked open. "In here?" I pushed my way in. "Hello, I'm Doctor Griffin." The room had five couches, a cat wheel (like a hamster wheel for cats), a single armchair, a bookshelf, a desk, and a rolling chair on which appeared to be molded a large women in a cotton dress with long curly grey hair and the driest feet I had ever seen. There were also dozens of stuffed animals and puppets and cat toys. She had me sit down wherever I desired. Logically the couch in front of her is where I chose. There were a couple different cats in this room. I told her I liked cats too, that I had one of my own. She proceeded to tell me about all of her cats and how she had acquired them. She had twelve cats in total living in that house. Some of the cats were given to her by clients. One upset client had told her that her cat was possessed and she had requested that one be left with her. "After all," she said, "cats are never possessed." An hour went by and she told me that our time was up. We had gone the whole session talking about nothing but cats. I drove home amused at what had just happened. I wasn't alarmed though. After all, I had been asking questions and enjoying her stories. My mood had even improved a little. I looked forward to seeing how our future sessions would go. It had just been a little cat small talk that had gone on too long, that's all. When I arrived for our second session, Dr Griffin told me one of her cats had just gotten her hair shaved to prevent matting. That she would not come out because she thought she looked ridiculous. I'd seen cats shaved like lions so I knew exactly how this cat must look. I told the doctor that I thought cats shaved like that looked cute. She told me that her cat begged her not to shave her. "Your cat talks to you?," I asked. She said yes. That all of her cats communicate with her. I had to know more. She told me a story about how one of her male cats had gotten out the front door and gone missing. Every night, for months, she communicated with that cat and told him to come home. Finally one night the cat communicated back. He said he was ready to come home. She told him she couldn't leave the front door open for him because the other cats would get free. She said that she would leave a window open in the upstairs bathroom at dusk and that at that time he should use the trash can to get on the roof and climb through. Sure enough the cat came home that night, she said. She told me that she had healed the spirit energy of a giraffe who was dying at our local zoo. He died peacefully the next day. She told me she had helped a family keep their dog after he had started to act poorly following a second dogs arrival into their family. All the old dog wanted was his own spot in the sun in the backyard all to himself. My gut instinct told me this woman was crazy, but I consider myself a very open and tolerant woman, so I listened and responded as though what she was claiming was completely normal, rational, and natural. I even told her that I was having some problems with my own cat. He had recently decided to pee outside the box. Specifically, he was peeing in my room on the floor and sometimes in my bed. I wondered if she had any guesses as to why he had changed his habits. She told me that she would like to check his chakras and heal them, if needed.
She closed her eyes and rolled her hands around in a circle until an invisible cat sat upon her lap. She spoke aloud to my cat and told him that I loved him and that "Mommy wanted him to stop peeing outside the box." She pinched different spots on my invisible cat as she described to me what each chakra she was touching was called and what it was for. She said that some of the chakras on my cat needed heeling and massaged them. I gawked at her. I could seriously not believe what was happening and wished all of my friends were watching this because this was bonkers. Wasn't it? She looked absolutely ridiculous. My cat was waiting for me by the door when I got home. I looked him in the eyes and asked him if he'd had a nice chat with Dr. Crazy. He gave a little meow and led me to the cat bowls. It's nuts right to believe any of this? Have you ever had a doctors visit stranger than this? I have. This story gets better , but it will have to be continued at a later date.