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The Room - Schizophrenia

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

I sink into the cushion on the couch. It's an old couch and the cushion doesn't go all the way up my back. I feel the contrast between the soft cushion and the hard backing of the couch and it's a stark reminder to not get too comfortable. At my feet is a hessian rug that looks to be covered in dust. Some might dislike this about the room but I will learn to love the comfortable, relaxed feeling the room has. It's a worn, well used room and it's nice to know I am in the hands of someone that only cares about the person sitting on the couch and doesn't even think about the couch itself.


I look up and I see her face. All I see are her eyes, a deep brown that caresses me. I feel as though she is looking right at my soul but somehow it's with warmth and care. It's a look that communicates understanding. There are some people you meet in this world that seem older, their soul seems more worn, they seem to have given parts of their soul away and gotten them back changed, newer, re-energised, but noticeably different. That process changes a person. They become more raw and empathic to other's struggles, they are able to connect on a deeper level.


I start to talk "I ... I am unsure where you would like me to start?" It's a question because I desperately want some guidance. I do know where to start but I fear starting too deep and sending the session off kilter. I also know, from past experiences, that people, even those that should understand, can use information in ways they shouldn't. So I am forever wary about how much of my own soul I give away to someone. I have to know they will give it back.


"I want you to start wherever you can." I knew she would say this. This is not her first rodeo. I am now having to decide, do I let her in a lot, a little, not at all, too much? I have to make this call. I look up at her again. I see that soft gaze, it now feels like it's holding me. I decide giving information somewhere in the middle might be best.


"I grew up with a nice family, parents that tried their hardest, but I guess got it wrong a bit. Pretty typical school experience, being bullied and stuff. I am pretty smart, I did well at school, but I didn't enjoy it after I went to high school. Too busy doing drugs and wagging I guess?" I laugh slightly, she smiles at me and nods to say go on "So yeah, typical upbringing but things got, I guess, not good, after I left high school. I went straight to university to do engineering and maybe it was too much, maybe I went too soon? I am not sure. But it wasn't good from the first year." I stop. I am already on the fringes of the stuff that is deeper. I could stay here, I have done it before with lots of psychologists, like standing on the edge of a pool telling everyone that's swimming you are going to get in but never do. I have done that with many psychologists, but his one feels different. I have this desire to tell her every thought and feeling I've ever experienced. She senses my hesitation and takes over a bit, I am relieved.


"You're not sure what to say? How to explain it? Sometimes it's like the thoughts, memories, emotions are all there, but how do you express them? Like walking through a field and seeing a thousand daisies but not knowing which one to pick, they are all so interesting, intriguing, different but somehow all the same so which do you pick?" She says all of this with a slight tilt of her head, a soft, low voice, it's not pity, it's so much more. She can feel my reluctance, but she is feeling it like she is reluctant. She is feeding it back to me in a more palatable way than I would give it back to myself.


She's good. She seems to get this. I begin to feel a bit more comfortable. I notice the hard couch less and I start to drift into my own mind. It's a mind full of ideas, thoughts, memories, some nice and enjoyable, others terrifying. I decide to let her into my mind with me, only slightly.


"Yeah. There is a lot that happens in my mind that I don't know where to start. After high school... I mean, you've seen my diagnosis, I know it's in my chart. I know you know I have schizophrenia, but the way it's understood by most, even psychologists, isn't right. Or at least, not for me. It doesn't fit. University, that time of my life, was the most terrifying experience I've ever had. I never want to go there again."


"There are parts of your mind that you don't want to uncover? You know they are there but they are ignored, left alone? If you let me in, you are letting me see it in a way you don't. I will see all of the bits that are covered over and ignored by you?"


I feel like someone just sat on my chest and breathing becomes a lot more deliberate. I take in a deep breath and feel my chest expand in a way that takes air into parts of me that feel as though they haven't breathed in years. "Yep" is all I can choke out. A tear rolls down my cheek and I wipe it away.


This woman has only just met me. She knows nothing about me other than what I have just told her. I know my chart has no helpful information, just medical crap. She already knows my mind and how it works. She has already opened the door and peered in somehow. I'm terrified but so relieved at once. She has done it so kindly, so soft and calm. There is no judgement, no sense of disgust or that sympathetic gaze I get from most people. I feel like she really gets this. No one has ever gotten it this well and I haven't even told her much yet.


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