Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Thursdays With Dr. Sykes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     It’s a beautiful place. The trees grow in every direction. They create forests that look like a woven mat of branches and leaves. The roots curl up and out of the forest floor, pointing toward the sky like delicate fingers. The leaves are never brown, but vivid red. The sky is purple and the stars always shine. In this place, I am the hero. I always come out on top, and everything always works in my favor. The only problem with this place is it’s only in my head.
In the real world, I am average. I am mediocre. I don’t have any noticeable talents, and I’m constantly reminded of this. My shrink thinks this is a self-esteem problem. I think that’s a load of s---. I’m beginning to think that if you are a teenage girl who’s not quite up to par and knows it, they chalk it up to the elusive “self-esteem problem.” I’ve been visiting Dr. Sykes for about six weeks, all for the low price of $300 an hour. You write one morbid diary entry and dye one perfectly purple streak in your brown hair and you’re sentenced to an eternity of therapy.
My mother and father are good people, but they’re ignorant as hell. I’m surprised they even thought of putting me in therapy. I was sure they would never risk scarring their perfect family image. That was the first real thing I told Dr. Sykes. I’m sure he put it down on his stupid pad of yellow legal paper as “a breakthrough.”
Actually, I know that’s what he wrote, because I stole his stupid UN-legal pad of paper. It drives you crazy sitting there having someone judge you, and never showing you what he’s thinking. Dr. Sykes is nice enough, but he spends most sessions talking in circles.
“So tell me, Violet, what are you feeling?”
“Trapped in this office. Can I jump out the window?” I chuckle at my own sarcasm, but not Dr. Sykes.
“Hmm, that is very interesting. Violet, do you often find yourself trapped?” Dr. Sykes begins to scribble on his pad.
“Yes, I often find myself trapped in this office.”
“And how do you feel about that?”
At this point in the session I want to laugh, and sometimes I do. How cliché of him to say that. Dr. Sykes is full of clichés, and for a man who’s paid $300 an hour, you’d think he’d think up his own generic material to feed his patients. Dr. Sykes glares at me for mentioning his heavy use of clichés.
My favorite part of therapy is the little speech at the end of each session. It’s like Jerry Springer’s final thought. They’re full of clichés like “Get the guts to do something about it,” “Good things come in small packages,” “You gotta sink or swim,” and my personal favorite, “A change is as good as a holiday.”
During his 10-minute monologue, I tend to return to my beautiful place. I actually like to daydream about it during most of the session, and most of my days and nights. I like to envision myself climbing those trees and jumping off into the deep sea. I feel free. I can swim in this infinite abyss and play deep-sea diver to forgotten shipwrecked treasures. I can sail to the edge of the world and flip over and sail underneath it. I get so wrapped up in my visit to my make-believe land that Dr. Sykes says it’s time to go.
The drive home isn’t that much fun. My mom probes me during the entire ride. She asks the dumbest questions - what we talked about, how I felt, blah, blah. This should be the end, but it isn’t. I still have to endure my father’s round of questioning as well as probing from my brother and sister. It feels like I’m at Dr. Sykes’ office all over again, except I’m being interrogated by my own family.
Today is my last visit to Dr. Sykes. I’m elated. I decide to throw him a bone and tell him about my fantasy world. I’m sure he’d like to know where my head goes during our sessions. He looks at me rather strangely and asks, “How often do you daydream about this place?”
I answer with all honesty, “A lot, but it’s no big deal. Everyone daydreams.” He scribbles in that pad again.
Dr. Sykes sidewinds into another round of questioning - got to make this last visit count, I guess. “How do you feel today? What about in school, home, anywhere?” He spits these out like they are his final words on earth. He’s leading into the self-esteem issue.
“Dr. Sykes, trust me, I don’t have a self-esteem problem.”
Then he seems to study my face. He takes off his glasses; his dark eyes are more intense when freed from the glass barrier.
“I know.”
I can’t believe my ears. Dr. Sykes, that ol’ champ, he knew all along. Before I can rejoice in the fact that he finally understands, he asks, “Do you often use your world as an escape from reality?” I look at him like he’s Quasimodo.
“Obviously, that’s why it’s called a fantasy.”
He looks me straight in the eye and says, “Perhaps you use that world as a way not to participate in your own life.”
Dr. Sykes has finally hit the nail on the head, if he doesn’t mind me borrowing one of his classic clichés. At last he figured me out, long before I did.
So, depression is my final diagnosis. I don’t know what to do so I begin to cry. He passes me a tissue and calls in my parents. My last visit with Dr. Sykes won’t be for another six weeks. .


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





Join the Discussion


This article has 13 comments. Post your own!

Maia Koryn said...
Mar. 12 at 4:57 pm:
Thank you.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
wMESwThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 5 at 10:42 am:
Really good I loved it.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
TheGirlintheOrange said...
Jun. 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm:
The character voice in this is really strong, and I liked how you developed the backstory while simultaneously keeping the story moving forward.  It was a great piece, and--for a piece about depression--very fun to read, but I do feel like you made the ending too abrupt.  It's pretty much in the same paragraph when she confesses the fantasy world that she is diagnosed, and she doesn't really have much to say on her sudden change in diagnosis.  Perhaps draw out the ending a... (more »)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
JRayeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm:
Really good! :) I love how strong your voice was, how you really became Violet. If the character is based on you, then your words flowed really well, but if you made up the character I'd find that even more impressive...If that makes any sense lol. Anyways, it was a very well-written story, especially at the entertaining ending :) Keep it up!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
In_Love_with_WritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 9:23 am:
It wasn't bad. It was pretty good. Nice job. Can you comment and rate some of my work? It would put a smile on my face if you did? Thanks :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
bekahtrib said...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm:
Nice job. There is nothing "weak" about this article. I think you have a good voice. Your  flow and progress is natural, and effective.  The beginning wasn't confusing to me at all, it simply grabbed the attention and set the scene in the narrator's mind. All I can say is you've got the words, just do the mental work and flesh out the content, and say what you want to say. Happy Writing!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
dolphincrazy226 said...
Sept. 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm:
I like the opening sequence, though it was a bit confusing at first, but you explained it well later.  the descriptions tended to have a lot of emotion in them, and sent a very biased point of view.  this was fun, because at the end, i sort of questioned your entire viewpoint on dr, sykes.  very nice twist there;)  great job and keep writing!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
CelestaCuffrigThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm:
Real life in it's greatest form: fiction. I love the descriptions of Violet's fantasy world throughout and the sarcastic and raw writing of her real life. Brilliant! Check out my works, pretty please? KEEP IT UP. 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Rebecca24 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm:
Very intriguing. I really enjoyed reading this.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Freetorun said...
Sept. 15, 2009 at 6:22 pm:
This was amazing! It reminds me of "Good Will Hunting" with Matt Damon and Robin Williams, when the shrink, Robin Williams, finally gets to the heart of the troubled Damon. Amazing :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Sofia said...
Jun. 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm:
This is a great story. I feel like I'm actually there. There was one thing that surprised me, and that was when she (you are a she, right?) starts to cry. The character didn't seem that weak to me. I personally thought she would've been a little stronger... hmmmm... GREAT story though. Absolutely magnificent! Encore!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Zero_Kiryu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm:
Wow. Depression? That wasn't expected, but I can see where you're going if I think about it: the morbid diary entry, the purple streak. And I guess depression is a self-esteem problem. I disagree with totally_ruthless. The ending isn't weak, it's a surprise that was slowly worked into the story with her behavior and thoughts and stuff. Good job.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
totally_ruthless said...
Sept. 19, 2008 at 10:38 pm:
the ending was weak. but everything else was very entertaining.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback