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This memoir means so much to me only because of my experiences while away from my family were so memorable.
Our meetings were always the same. I sat on the same cushion on the same couch during my session with her. She always wore the same type of skirts, they were always black and penciled shaped. She always wore the same type of blouses, white, tucked in and rarely there would be a design. She also wore, what seems to be the exact same, black high heels. On occasion, I like to picture her in sweatpants and flip flops. Oh, how that’d be funny. Anyways, our meetings were always fast, never longer than an hour because I always had other therapy session that I needed to go to. But today was different.
There were no other meetings and I have a plan. Something I actually need to talk about. The subject of finally going home.
So as I’m walking in I’m acting all happy and chittery, as usual, so she doesn’t think I’m depressed. Once I sit down on the same cushion, we start in our normal same way. Hey, how are you? I’m good, how about you? Oh I’m great, thanks for asking, Amber. No problem. Now what’s going on?
And when that question has been asked that’s when I know I can start…
“I can’t wait to go home,” I said looking at her, “I think I’m ready. Actually I know I’m ready.”
She immediately begins to write what seems to be scribbles in her same little blue pocket notebook. I became super intrigued. What did I say to make her hands go to work so fast? So soon? I didn’t say anything crazy, like I’m a serial killer or something. Normally, she’d start later, closer to the end of our sessions to judge me. I started to think that maybe I should have started the whole I wanna go home thing later than there at the beginning but too late.
Not even looking up she said to me “Now Isabella, let me talk to the other therapist to get a good idea on how you are really doing and then we’ll talk about you going home.” Still scribbling away she continues by saying, “In the meantime you need to continue on your road to recovery.” After that sentence came all the way out of her wrinkled mouth my blood boiled. She has to be kidding.
“Road to recovery? Hah. You kidding right?”
“Uh no Isabella. I am not kidding.”
Her tone made me madder. She made it seem like I was stupid for thinking she was joking.
“I’ve been here for two months. TWO FREAKIN MONTHS. I have missed Christmas with my family. I didn’t even get a New Year's Eve kiss from a hot boy. Did you know my sister had a baby?”
“Calm down now. Just breathe Isabella.” I could tell she was starting to freak out since I got upset so quickly. She’s not use to seeing me like this. I’m never act like this. In our normal session I’m calm and pretty much act like I’m happy. But now my face is turning red and my fist are balling up. I wasn’t going to hit her or anything. I ball my fist because it keeps my anger contained but it wasn’t working. I hate getting mad like this but I can’t help it.
“Don’t tell me to just breathe, I’m breathing just fine! Like a normal human being! And don’t interrupt me! Aren’t you here to listen? So freakin LISTEN! Anyways, no, you didn’t know that. His name is Joseph, my first nephew. Did you hear that? My FIRST nephew and I wasn’t even able to be there to hold him, or to have him hear his Aunt Boo’s voice. Nope. Also, guess what? My family went to Boston. Yep that’s right. BOSTON….without ME. So I had to miss that too. You know why I haven’t been able to do those things? Huh? Do you?”
I wasn’t planning on for her to actually answer but she did.
“I don't know. Why?”
“Because I am here. I am here on my “road” to recovery.” I said starting to cry. My fists unbaled and went straight to cover my face. I hated crying. Just as much as I hate getting mad. It makes me feel weak and I hate feeling weak.
My therapist just sat there staring at me confused. I could tell she didn’t know how to comfort me since I’ve never really had an outburst like this before. She doesn’t know if she should put her arm around me and say it's okay, or just sit there and wait for me to come back to my senses.
So there I sat, vulnerable and broken, on the same stupid cushion on the same couch with the same women that wears the same clothes. And I probably should have just stuck to the same session that we always have. But now there's emotions. Which means today is definitely not the same.
Slowly, after sitting there for about 30 minutes, I calmed down.
“Are you okay now?”
“I believe so. Sorry. I don’t know what happened.”
“Well, let’s see,” She says while looking at her notebook, “I think you don’t enjoy your family having a life while you are stuck in this facility.”
“Well nah dip Sherlock. Of course I don’t “enjoy” that. I mean would you?”
“Don’t give me attitude now.”
“Pfffff,” I tried not to laugh, “You see, you don’t understand. You’ve never been depressed. You’ve never wanted to die. All you do is the same thing you always do.”
“Well, look what you are wearing.”
She looks down at her clothes and then look back at me giving me a puzzled stare.
I continue, “Okay, so you wear close to same outfits all the time. Now speak.”
“You see? You always talk in the same tone as well.”
“I’m sorry, Isabella, but I don’t follow.”
I don’t exactly understand why she’s so confused by me saying she’s the same.
“Listen. Alright? You sit in that same chair every day. Well except for weekends. But on those days, that you work, some mentally ill person will sit on this couch, where I am right now, and talk about their mentally ill self.”
She’s starting to scribble again. I look at her hand moving fast across the paper for a quick second and then continue talking.
“While you sit there your job is pretty much to judge us, and figure out what went wrong in our lives to make us this way. Yes, you try to understand but let's be honest. The worst thing to have ever happened to you is probably that your turtle died or kitty cat.”
While finishing her scribbles, “Well, I’ll have to disagree with you there Amber. I did indeed lose a turtle once but that wasn’t the worse thing to have occurred in my lifetime.”
“Uh huh… well what is it then?”
“When my mother passed away.”
I was very shocked to hear her say that and I feel terrible for my comment earlier.
“Oh….I’m sorry… I haven’t lost my mom. I can’t imagine what that felt.”
“It is okay. To be completely honest though it wasn’t my mother's death that hurt so bad.”
“My mother’s death was very sudden. It did hurt but people pass away all the time. So I didn’t necessarily take it to heart. What hurt the most was watching my dad fade away. He did take it to heart. You see, Isabella, I have reasons that I wanted to become a therapist here at this facility.”
Nodding to show I was listening, “I see.”
“And it wasn’t because I wanted to do the “same” things every day. I want to help people like you and my dad get out of their depression or mental illness. Watching my father, over the years of my mother's passing, was painful. Seeing someone you love so much in that much pain breaks your heart. So my job isn’t to sit in the same chair and judge. My job is to sit here in this chair and help because I can’t bear to think that some people go through what my father went through.”
“I’m sorry for...well for everything. I didn’t know. I shouldn't have just assumed that you were one of those people that walk through life without a single scratch. I am really sorry really really really sorry. I also shouldn’t have yelled at you or blown up suddenly.”
Chuckling she says, “No need to apologize. This is my job.”