A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Archive for therapy

Growing up bad

Let me tell you about the day that I ran away from home. I know that sounds dramatic but my little life had its dramas as I am sure do most fifteen-year-olds. My parents were normal enough. Well thats what the counselor said. He said it was normal for adults, after 15 years of dedication to a child to go through what he called ‘separation anxiety’. This was supposed to be something that involved them imagining that I would soon be leaving home and therefore preparing themselves for the event by largely ignoring the object of their pain. Pity I hadn’t rammed home the point to them that I intended, like most of my friends, on staying around until much later. Why give up free food, a reasonable allowance, my own room, for the third world conditions my older sister lived in when she went to Uni. My parents, reasonable people apparently, went out and bought an AIBO which was supposed to replace me. Symbolic that they would buy a programmable robotic dog to replace a warm human being. It was disgusting to see my Dad the day it arrived going into raptures about the 250 movements and the personality that would develop, as he read the instructions on the side of the box. It struck me that the $5000 was a tad much for what turned out to be a dumb piece of metal that, after three months of not so brilliant entertainment, ended up back in its box and thrust into the back of a cupboard, gathering dust.

My counselor had a name for it. Autophobic he called me. Said it could be fixed but he didn’t really understand that I wasn’t scared of hurting my parents, I just wanted to get out of that crazy house before the next installment of their own madness came along. The dog was followed by a venture into culture that saw us all listening to Mum doing a reading from ‘Doctor Zhivargo’ or ‘King Rat’ every night. You imagine it. A plate of perfectly good food waiting to be consumed and you sit their for five minutes listening to some dumb Russian or American going through some personal angst. This is where the counselor picked up on the phobia thing.

‘The rage inside of you built up to an extent that you could no longer deny it. And paradoxically the love you felt made it unacceptable to manifest that anger’

Jeez! Sure I was pissed but …… well lets not go there. Then next it was overseas travel. The evening conversation was filled with cut-price this, wine trail that, and no mention of my airfare or whether I would have a separate room. It finally dawned that I was destined for my sister flat while they cruised around the world. The writing was well and truly appearing on the wall. I talked to Mum about it but when I got to the bit about feeling neglected and unloved she sort of choked up and rushed from the room, shoulders heaving. I heard the keening from her room for nearly an hour until Dad got home and then it was all my fault.

‘We’ve always done our best for you. Your becoming more and more selfish. The me me me generation. Don’t you know we love you?’

I reeled from the ambiguous logic of it all but you don’t argue with Dad when he’s on a roll.

The straw that broke this camel’s back came about two weeks after the me me episode.

Either We are sitting at the kitchen table, Dad, Mum and I. Me secretly pleased we are not reading Gravitys Rainbow which had been scheduled for this week and Mum and Dad on the other side of the table looking very uncomfortable but also pleased.

‘I’ve got something to tell you’ Dad says very confidently, suddenly clutching Mums hand.’We’ve got something to tell you’. Mr and Mrs Jameison, Edna and Fred are moving in to Janets old room. He paused, waiting to gauge the effects of this.

‘Fine’ I responded quizzically, thinking whats the big deal.

‘And there will be some different sleeping arrangements. We want…’

I didn’t wait for the finish. I could fill in the blanks.


I was sitting in the shrinks office. Dark, as usual. Always kept the blinds drawn and that tiny little light shining down over his shoulder. Raised any higher he could have shone it in my eyes and we would have the real deal. And those stupid paintings. I had given them the cursory and nodded. ‘My son did them. Good aren’t they. He has some real talent’ Implying that I was a useless nothing piece of shit. Anyway, I’m sitting there and he kind of looks queerly at me and says-

‘We haven’t talked much about you and your sister. Perhaps you could tell me how you feel about talking about her.  Stacey isn’t it?’

What’s this all about? Three months of wriggling around Mum and Dad and I am feeling I can handle this therapy shit and now this.

‘You should know that I had a talk with your mother and father after our last session. How do you feel about that?’

The walls groan a little closer and I can feel a bead of sweat rolling down my back and sliding in into my crack.

‘You can tell me how you feel’

I think of those two shits sitting probably where I am sitting right now or did he do a double act on the pathetic sofa he keeps wanting me to lie on. And spilling out all sorts of garbage. I didn’t have to fill in the blanks. I was out of there.




Social Skills Training

Social Skills Training

I sit slightly on the periphery of the circle of three men trying to show that I want to be part of what is to happen, but also to let it be known that I expect them to do the bulk of the work. Henderson is the natural leader of the group because of his height and his exotic background. He is from the Caribbean, and despite his pronounced speech impediment, he has that lazy rolling speech that makes that culture so alluring. He has been variously diagnosed as a schizophrenic, an obsessive, and borderline psychotic, but he has come to me because of a head injury sustained in a street brawl. Across from Henderson is Roderick. Now Roderick is an interesting chap. He is a retired University professor who has rather than fallen from grace, taken a huge leap. He has been found sleeping on a park bench, unwashed, unshaven, and unloved, barely coherent. He has been medicated back to relative civilization but he has the tendency to fall into sudden mood swings and speak with copious quantities of spittle flying from his mouth. From Roderick there is only a low mumble as he stares at the floor and recites a poem from an obscure and largely unread 18th Century poet. The third member of our little circle is Peiter. As you could guess from the spelling of his name Pieter is from Germany. He is outrageously and rather ashamedly gay. The purpose of his presence in our little group is for Pieter to come to terms with his homosexuality in the presence of other men.

I start. “I think it would be a good stepping off if we first introduced ourselves and told each other something about ourselves. Something that we might not ordinarily share with others. Take a risk.”

There is an ominous silence as each concentrates on the frayed carpet in our dayroom. To my surprise Henderson is the first to speak.

“My name is Henderson – ,” he starts off but it doesn’t exactly sound like that.
“Roderick leaps in “Did you say Hyacinth. What sort of faggot, queer name is that. Your parents must have really, really hated you to give you a name like that. Is that how you got that black eye, queer boy?”

“He didn’t say Hyacinth, you stupid old fart, he said..”

Before the words are out of his mouth Henderson has leapt up form his seat and attacked Roderick who, in turn, is flailing his way towards Pieter, who is trying to escape from both of them, tears in his eyes.

They fall to the floor with a series of grunts and bangs and, within seconds, my little group of three are in full combat. I have only one option and I hit the panic button and, within the space of a few more seconds, the orderlies have removed the tranquillised combatants to their rooms.

I sit and survey the leftover battlefield. A solitary red slipper, probably Pieters, sits; the sole reminder of what could have been.