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The Shrink

by Antoinette L Brey 2 months ago in Short Story · updated 2 months ago
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was shrinking

The Shrink
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

The shrieking of the wind outside the windows echoes my mood. The whole back edge of the room is lined with windows. They absorb my glaze. My eyes watch the shaking of the branches as they strike against the windowpanes. My mind slashes with every slash, slosh, clash of rain and wood on the windowpane. I grit my teeth. I tell myself that, I am a professional. I must fight this inner battle. The outer storm will never reach me. I fight the urge to hide my head in my hands and cry. Instead, I count to ten and hold my head up high. I silently recite the familiar phrase in my head. “ High high high, let stress die” My nails dig into my hand. Finally, my thoughts shift from the flower curtains to the situation of hand.

My theory, my therapy sessions always centered on my theory. According to my theory, the life of the mentally ill is found on dependence My goal is to help them break that dependence. Immersed in the growing fusion of lamps, the room feels eerie and my role uncertain. As I sit and listen, I feel despair, a need to break the chain. I nervously wring my hands. His words collide with the numbness of my mind Six seven eight, my mind floats to my ideal view of him. I shift forward and then back again in my seat. Finally, I absorb what he is saying I feel the urge to say You don’t need them. But my mouth like my mind is frozen, I know the cost of medication goes up and I don’t know how to advise him. I nervously glance at the dark-haired pale, overweight young man sitting calmly on the couch before me. Thirty- five years old. From his perception of the world, I would have never guessed. He sounds much more like he is in his teens. Would I not be doing my job if I pushed him to do more” I smile sweetly and wring my fingers around the torn Kleenex as he talks about his car, his father’s car He wants to move- not very far ,but he is worried that if his father disagrees he’ll take back the car. He is lost in his thoughts and appears, not to notice my discomfort my own inner conflict. My Kleenex is near shreds. I reach across him, to throw it in the wastebasket at his feet. He stops talking and gazes at me, trusting my forthcoming expert advice. I quickly grab a new Kleenex. I feel his gaze following my every move. He is waiting. I feel the sweat dripping down my arm. He is waiting for my response, I hear the wind, branches and rain tearing across the windows, What is my job? What should I say? I want to say- who cares what your father thinks? You are 35 years old. Kiss your father’s gifts goodbye and strike out on your own, and move on. But instead, I smile, and like a Stepford robot, place my hand on his knee and in my sweet reassuring shrink voice say” You can’t let your fear bind you. He might not even think of taking back the car. If he does, then you have to decide if you still want to move. Wait to cross that bridge until you must. You might not even need to cross it.

He reflects quickly. I slightly shiver. Had I abandoned my theory? Ultimately all he wants from his father and the government is a free ride. The less responsibility he must take for himself the better. Not that he openly says that but he has never had a job,or even trained for a job. He returns to discussing the dilemma, as if I had never commented. My eyes professionally gaze at him, but my mind wanders. For five years this {my private practice)) had been my dream, and now caught up in the frustration all I wanted to do was scream. What had I envisioned? Helping people living a life like mine and getting out of the system. But now I just smile and watch them and me swirl around in it. All of a sudden, my daydream is snapped. He has stopped talking and is getting up. I go to comfort him and then my eyes catch hold of the big silver clock, our hour Is up. He thanks me gives me a hug and leaves’ .

I throw out my demolished Kleenex and go to the 12 x36 oval mirror. To see if I appear as forlorn as I feel. I flip my long brown hair behind me, brush it and then wipe the sweat off my face. I wish I had time for my therapist. I go over and look out the window. After I close the curtains, I flop down on the leather couch where he had been sitting, and bury my head in the pillow.

Was I really helping anybody? I hug the embroidered cushion. Does anybody really want my help? Was my job to be a sounding board as people float down their road to disaster and like a signpost I stand At the side of the road and smile and wave; Dreams or delusions, I wonder if I did push them if I would be pushing then towards a dream or a delusion. If it was a delusion wouldn’t I make them more ill? But I have nothing to worry about.

it had been months since my last session with a patient. my therapist had some doubts about my judgement. Something about the way my mind came across when I talked. How I phrased my words, she could tell i was psychotic .She had been my confidant for 5 or more years, and than suddenly in 5 minutes she made the d,iagnosis. I had tried to explain my opinion. Not only did i need medication but she had me committed to a locked ward. i had visited patients in these wards before. I had always made my visits short and in the client's room. One day there had been a young man fucking the wall. my patient just slept and ignored it. I had kept the visit as professionally short as possible. But once a doctor commits you you can no longer avoid these unhealthy conditions. They had taken all my books I had brought to divert myself, They had to spray for something. They promised to return them but they never did.

They had shown me the write-up on the computer telling all other Therapists of my fate. My licence had been revoked. I cried at night, according to them I was suppossed to give up my savings, my ira, and apply for medicaid. They wanted me to move into the projects. My dreams and my life were just supposed to end. Because of a medical condition, they have got to be crazy, In public, I put on a brave face, I counseled the other patients, and played basketball with some of the staff. But nothing could erase my anger, The doctor who was in charge of my mental health, well I never saw her.

The social worker finally gave up. I refused to sign away my financial control, I called a friend, a legal student who advised me on each step, The day I finally left, I had her come and talk with some of the other patients. She helped them plan their legal arguments over medication. On my way out of my prision, I couldn't hide my relief.

Once out of the ward, my friends helped me get around my doctor, and I got my license renewed. No more letter turning on my part, I joined forces with Anna, who passed the bar and became a lawyer. We went to the mental hospitals and helped the patients fight for their rights. I had a cause now, I was angry. I now have my finances based on donations. Some parents were actually relieved to see their children exit the system. They would pay anything for their children to be managing their own lives again

Short Story

About the author

Antoinette L Brey

I am an elder in a time of freedom. I am now retired. All i want to do is have fun. Without a daily routine, my imagination is one of my only salvations. I am not planning on writing a book, it is just for my own pleasure

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    At times, we tend to forget that therapists are humans too that have to deal with their mental health just like us. I loved you portrayed that through your story. This was fantastic!

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