Posted in Featured, Fiction Fridays, Series

The Therapist- Thoughts of the Past

Previously on the therapist…

After too many sleepless nights to count and another appointment with Richard, I struggled to stay awake. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up; trying to solve other’s problems when under the surface, I was one giant time bomb ready to explode.

If anyone needs a therapist, it’s me.

It was a sad irony that continued to haunt me. I could solve other’s problems, but I could never seem to fix my own. At the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s this very job that gives me the courage to get out of bed every morning. They say that helping others eases our own pain. I believe this is true.

Today, Richard began to open up about his childhood, which was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. He was abused as a child by parents who were hardly around. He often went to his best friend’s house after school, hoping to escape the pain, but lost his friend to a drunk driving accident at only seventeen. I could only imagine the pain that would come with loosing a friend to a reckless, irresponsible driver who should never have gotten behind the driver’s seat to begin with.

Little by little, I’m beginning to learn his story, and discover the demons of depression and anxiety that he battles on a daily basis.

It seems that so many of our battles start in our youngest years, as our experiences and personalities mix to create the person that we are today. I still remember the day that my dad walked out on us. My mother begged him not to go, as my youngest sister cried. My older brother tried to be aloof, but I found out later that he took it the hardest of all of us.

I suspect that my dad leaving may have something to do with my difficulty in forming relationships. Psychologists have said that we learn through imitating those around us. Without a healthy relationship to imitate, how could I be expected to form one of my own?

I don’t mind it though. The extra time gives me the chance to think and reflect; something that’s almost as essential as breathing to me. There’s a familiarity in the solitude. I know what to expect from it.

The same can’t be said about people.

I often wonder how God creates plans for us when He knows we’re so prone to screw them up. Why does He allow us the privilege of carrying such great responsibility in the midst of our fallen state? How can we be image bearers of God when we can barely keep up our own image?

These are the things that weigh on my mind when I’m alone too long with only my thoughts to keep me company.

I climbed into bed and pulled the sheets over my head, trying to shield myself from the storm that was making it’s way into my mind. There was a time to analyze my life. This wasn’t it.

Now was the time to get some sleep. I have a big day tomorrow with a new patient, in addition to my regular appointments with Richard.

If I wanted to be of any help I would need to be well rested and alert; which meant that I would somehow need to catch up on a week of lost sleep overnight.

When my head hit the pillow, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.

The next morning, I came to the realization that I could.

©Courtney Whitaker, 2016

I was so happy to have Courtney help out with the series. It takes a brilliant writer to be able to pick up from where another stopped and run with it! Thanks again Courtney.

Lesson for the day: It doesn’t hurt to ask for help when you need it!

Have a pleasant weekend! xoxo

Posted in Fiction Fridays, Series

The Therapist- Sleepless Nights

Previously on the therapist…

By the time I got back home I was completely fagged out. I fell on my orthopedic bed with a loud thud and drifted to sleep. Was I asleep or was I awake? I don’t know anymore.

 I saw Richard while sleeping. He told me he was afraid to live. He said I should have allowed him drown. He had lost his wife and kids in a car accident and he was recently laid off from his job and couldn’t even pay his bills. He’s the only child of ‘only-child ‘ parents who had passed away a couple of years back. His wife was also orphaned and literally, he had no other family.

therap
Photo Credit: sleeptoliveinstitute.com

 Amidst my tossing and turning, I opened an eyelid to notice my grandfather’s massive antique clock on the purple wall striking 3 AM. I must have slept because I closed my eyes at 11 PM or was it 12? I don’t know anymore. Turns out, I dream of things I’ve seen through the day. It’s no wonder I’ve been having insomnia for some years now. Who would sleep after hearing the horrendous stories shared everyday by clients?

Richard had been through a lot and death was pretty much his best option. Definitely not the only option. He complained that life had lost its meaning and he didn’t even know where to start from.

I think about death a lot lately. Sometimes I welcome it with open arms, other times I just ponder upon the power death wields. It takes anyone without a second thought. It turns its cold back to the ceaseless tears flowing upon the plain faces of loved ones.

When my spell began some few years back and I had an episode on my wedding day, I was pretty much ready to die. His parents didn’t allow him go ahead with the marriage. Heck! His face was as white as though he had seen a ghost. Maybe that’s when I cut all attachments and became a lone ranger. A loner at night but an ever listening, ever patient therapist at day.

You know how we often think we are the only ones experiencing the worst of situations? Every therapy session reveals otherwise. There’s always a worst story. Day after day, client after client, I’ve learned the untold evil that plagues the inhabitants of this planet. As selfish humans though, we get stuck up in our pool of despair that we fail to see the other person falling off the cliff.

I’ve been on medications for as long as I can remember but the best medication for me has been listening to other people’s pains and helping them get out of their heads. In the end, most of what we feel or experience is all in our heads. I get them out of their heads and do the job for them. Excessive thinking.

Maybe I make up for my pain by ensuring no one lives through it. I think I’m addicted to the pain. My pain has numbed me. No one should go through that.

Richard has to live. Even though I know suicide is an illusion of escape from the known world, I know the unknown world is not where Richard would like to be right now. It’s worse than this place. He won’t even be able to handle it. He blames me for not allowing him die that day and put an end to his misery. If only he knew, he would thank me for saving him from the afterlife.

Sometimes I wonder how something as cold as death emerges from a world as hot as hell. The known and unknown worlds. I wish I could completely figure those out. Turns out the books I’ve been reading on them leave me more confused.

It’s another sleepless night, I didn’t get the rest that was required of me. But I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve missed it. Maybe that’s because the work is all I’ve got to keep me sane.

©Mfon Etuk, 2016.

Posted in Fiction Fridays, Series

The Therapist- Cold Waters

free man
Photo Credit: pd4pic.com

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.

Crap!

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

 

Posted in Fiction Fridays

The Therapist

I watched as her demeanour changed when she picked up the phone to see the caller. She didn’t answer. Neither did she put the phone on silence. She just looked away. Her features looked distressed. Who could the caller have been? I wondered. My friend who had just been laughing some minutes back now looked as though she partook of the ice bucket challenge. Her face was completely flustered.

I’m not one to dig into personal concerns except people willingly share them with me. Well, that’s why I get paid for my listening and confidentiality as a therapist. But I still couldn’t help but ask her.

“Who was the caller?” She looked a little shocked as though she wasn’t expecting me to notice.

“It’s him.” She swallowed hard. Fighting the tears that soon began to stain her artificially blushed cheeks.

Him.

What is it about men that made women cry? Why do they wield such power to open the floodgates of tears for even the strongest of all women? That I would never know.

As I tried to console her, she freely opened up as to how they had been having issues in the relationship. He’d beat her and later buy her some expensive gift as an appeasement. My one night of having fun away from work got ruined as it turned out to be another therapy session.

By the time we were done, she was happy and empowered. While I looked drained and ordered another drink.

“He’s here to pick me up.” She said after taking his call. I could see the asking-for-permission look on her face.

“Oh please don’t worry about me. Go have fun!” I encouraged. She scampered away with a lot of thank yous.

I was back to being alone. The way I had always been. Lately being alone scared me. Lately- that’s because prior to this period, I had always savoured my aloneness. I’d say being a custodian of other people’s secrets isn’t so good after all. It keeps me up at night, tossing and turning.

Now I was taking some drinks because I was down. I just had to cover up my own heartbreak and be there for my friend. But now that I needed someone to be there for me, there was no one in sight.

It’s funny how some people are always seen as rocks. So solid they don’t have weak moments. So people never really bother to find out how they are. I’m one of such rocks. And men, I must say this rock is breaking.

I’ve been having a lot of strange dreams lately; dreams that I can’t seem to figure; dreams that keep me away from sleep.

Insomnia.

I can’t bear to go back home now, even though my friend bailed on me.  It’s grave back there.

Now that I think of it, was I right to tell her she could still go back to her man who beats her? Or was I too carried away by my problems to actually think things through. That’s why therapy sessions should be saved for my couch, not a bar stool. Sighs.

©Mfon Etuk, 2016

 

 *******

 Hey guys, sorry there’s no Rachel’s musings this week, please bear with me. Plus, you might be seeing a lot of unrelated fiction stories like this, just enjoy it and stop tryna piece them together 😉  Remember the purpose of the Friday fiction is for entertainment and to help my fiction writing skills. Please feel free to share improvement tips or topics you’d like me to write about. Thanks and God bless! ❤