Monday, March 06, 2006


In walked Barbie. Hair in cheerleader bunches, swathed in pink and sporting the obligatory "hello Kitty" handbag. She looked like she had stepped out of the High School disco except for one important detail. Barbie was twenty two years old.

The consultation was fairly inconsequential, with her attending to renew her inhaler prescription. She grumbled a little about her job, but otherwise seemed quite cheerful if immature. And this pattern repeated itself a number of times for various minor ailments and routine reviews over the next year. Then came the day she revealed that her grandfather was ill. She was angry, because the family were very concerned for him, and she was unable to share their concerns. Her reason-- that he had abused her from early teenage until she was old enough to put a stop to it.

Shortly after this she became clinically depressed and Barbie turned in to an extra from Buffy, all torn denim and black leather, and no more bunches. From that time on her mood and wardrobe have oscillated from Buffy to Barbie and back again. We are taught to look for non-verbal cues in consultation, and Barbie is using the non-verbal equivalent of a megaphone to communicate her feelings.

It may be overly simplistic, but it appears her choice of dress equates with a desire to stay young enough not to have to deal with the feelings her grandfather's illness provoked, and it is when she looses that battle that she gets down and Buffy emerges.

As a result I am now paying more attention to the outward appearance of all my regular attenders, but so far none has been as revealing as Barbie.


pink said...

i couldnt afford the wardrobe i'd need if i dressed to fit my state of mind...

maybe her pink clothes were in the wash that day?

ask her about her laundry habits :)

Doctor Jest said...

Nope, the wardrobe seems deliberately chosen, since the hair and makeup change along with. Still there may be atendency to over analyze stuff like that I grant you....