much needed therapy
“Why don’t you start by telling me why you’ve missed so many of our sessions.”

After staying away for so long, Jason was finally back in the chair opposite his therapist, Julia. The woman around his age was not smiling at him, there was no slightly coy and flirty banter any more. No, she meant business and she was seemingly pissed that he had missed so many sessions with her. He could certainly understand her frustrations with him. If one of his clients had done the same thing, he would have asked if they were serious about their therapy session or if it was part of some New Year’s resolution they never planned to see through in the first place. When it was his time on the line, Jason was polite and yet blunt. Now he found himself on the other side of the equation and he wasn’t sure how to react.

If he told her what had happened, as foggy as his memory was about it, it could be detrimental to his own career. If he lied, he wondered if she could see through it. Perhaps explaining something in the middle would do the trick. He felt himself shuffle a little in the chair, trying to get comfortable, but still dealing with the after effects of what had occurred to him a few weeks prior. His memory was hazy and he only remembered that he was beaten, nearly to death, and when he arrived home he just stayed put. He didn’t go to the doctors or the hospital, he worked through the pain until he couldn’t take it any longer and he drove himself into the emergency room where he had a litany of fractures and broken ribs. It still hurt to move and breathe but he was making do.

“I… got hurt. A couple of weeks ago. I think I was drinking and I must have blacked out when I did it. When I woke up at home I didn’t know what happened so I stayed home and didn’t see a doctor until much later. I think that made it worse.” He looked at her with a softness in his eyes, almost as though he was a broken man because in many ways he was. When he had first met Julia, when they were in graduate school, he was a cocky know it all who wouldn’t take no for answer and always strived to be the best. That Jason was, of course, still around but whatever was going on in his life and his mind was clearly taking some kind of toll on him and Julia could see that.

“Do you drink often? Has this ever happened before?” Of course she was going to ask if he was an alcoholic. Even he could have guessed that would be the next logical step. It was an easier solution to his problem than telling her that some crazy person came out to play about one a month and had been doing so on and off for the past year. It was easier to came alcoholic than anything else at the moment so he could play along with that. If he could talk through some of what he was feeling, perhaps make it all seem like it was an awful dream, maybe that would help.

“I drink on occasion, typically after long days but I’ve had some events in my life in the past six months or so where I shut myself off from the world. I basically come home after work, drink, go to sleep, rinse and repeat.” The brunette across from him looked troubled as he talked and jotted something down in the notepad that was on her lap. “I’ve been having dreams where I’m not in control of my body any more and some man is living my life but I am also there but I can’t do anything about it. These dreams feel so real sometimes and in the dream I was being hurt for something he had done, or was going to do, it isn’t so clear to me now. That’s the problem, the dreams aren’t always very clear and I am never quite sure what is going on in them. I do know that they happen every once in a while, typically a few days out of the month but they recur and then stop. It’s the strangest thing.”

Jason didn’t realize it but he had been staring off, just past Julia, into the empty space while he was talking. He snapped back into reality and Jason looked back at her with a faint smile, trying to regain some sort of composure of the meeting but really, he was just hoping that he had been convincing enough that she wouldn’t think he was an alcoholic or a crazy person. He was by no means an actor but he had seen enough fools in therapy who had tried to play this game with him. Julia looked at Jason, then down at her notepad, and closed it before looking back up. “This is strictly friend to friend talking now, and I know I said I wouldn’t do this when I agreed to take you on, but I’m concerned. If these dreams are harming you, Jason, we have to figure out what’s going on and get to the bottom of this.” She had stood up and she grabbed his hand in hers. “I’m sorry this is happening to you and we’ll figure it out.” It was over in a flash and she was back in her seat, fixing her suit jacket and pulled her notepad back out. “Can you tell me anything else?”

The rest of it didn’t matter because he had her in his pocket now and she didn’t even realize it. He smiled out of the corner of his mouth and shook his head. “I don’t think I want to talk about it any more today but I’d be glad to talk about something else.”