free man

Photo Credit:

Previously on the therapist…

As I saw him staring into the ocean, a lot of thoughts crossed my mind. One of them was ‘why was he standing so close?’ What could leave him lost at the edge of the ocean with the gentle waves bathing his feet. I’ve studied human behavior for ten years now but every day I learn something new about humans that fascinates me the more! I’m human too, so I guess learning new things about myself also counts.


In the blink of an eye, he got into the water and the mounting waves swallowed him. I screamed and alerted a lifeguard who ran after him. My heart kept skipping as I waited on the beach. Minutes seemed like hours and finally I saw a figure emerge, carrying another.  Thankfully the paramedics were handy and quickly began reviving him. I couldn’t leave. I didn’t know him but I just couldn’t get my bare feet to make their way back to my bamboo seat under the palm trees.

The cold evening breeze caused me to shudder as I sat on a the sand while waiting for the final verdict.

“He’s alive!” A nurse called out and I let out a gush of air I didn’t even know I was holding.

Rewind 6 hours back.

It was a pleasant day. At least the rains had finally paused and the sun had come out to beam its radiant smile upon us. A lot had been going on in my mind. I’d been having some relapses lately and my mind has been one messed up web. My PA kinda freaked out when she saw me sprawled on the floor in my office the day I forgot to take my meds. She insisted I took a day off. Thankfully, I had no appointments scheduled for today and reluctantly I drove down to the beach.

There’s something serene and therapeutic about the beach; the way the waves send ripples; the way the water gives the sand a sloppy kiss. A beautiful harmony! Days like this when my mind webs me in and leaves me at the brink of sanity, the beach becomes my go-to. Either that or my den at home.

Hours passed as I sipped various glasses of punch while reading a Danielle Steele novel. I have a few fears in life and large bodies of water happens to be one of them. I never get so close to the water. I guess that’s the reason why I quickly noticed the man in the white shirt and jean shorts standing at the edge of the water.


From practice and experience, I’ve come to discover that people deal with a whole lot of stuffs and still hide them behind smiles. In some cases, those with chronic depression may conceal it enough by making others laugh but never really laughing themselves. I’ve told my clients severally to let these emotions out. Bottling them is like shaking a can of soda, someday it pops open and spills. I would know, because I’m still trying to clean up the mess from my last spasmodic episode. 

I couldn’t wait to hear his story. The nurses said he ought to get some rest but I could come check up on him in the hospital. Trust me to follow up. Curiosity has been my strongest suit. It leads me to ask way too many seemingly irrelevant questions.

As I sat by his bedside, questions began to run through my mind. What was I doing in the hospital with a total stranger? Where’s his family? Why do I even care? It’s not like I was being paid or something. Besides, I had a truckload of problems myself. I needed to manage my mental health before managing those of my patients.

He finally opened his eyes. “Where am I? Who are you?”

A smile appeared on my distressed facial features.

“You’re safe.”

©Mfon Etuk, 2016