Tag Archives: mental health

A Fine Line

She sat staring out the window with a glazed look in her eyes, a fiendish grin on her face that would champion the Cheshire cat. Some would say the girl was downright devilish. Wrongdoing never held a place in her plan, simply meeting her goal would make her happy.

“I knew I wouldn’t meet her expectations,” she told her friend. “It wasn’t about making a good impression. That could never happen.” Her friend nodded in agreement.

The police had relinquished custody to her friend. Released on her own recognizance, they said, but in truth turned her over to a more mature person who possessed no criminal record herself. The girl’s juvenile record followed her, and the past caught up with her once again. She’d never be able to repay the favors she owed her friend.

“They picked me up by the office’s back door. You know, down by the railroad tracks. Where the dumpster usually hides the view from the street. I thought I could go unnoticed there,” Rachel’s confession continued.

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Her friend acquiesced to listen in silence, almost like a priest behind a confessional screen and not a confidant across the kitchen table. The woman sipped her tea, quiet in her contemplation. She struggled to understand Rachel’s motivation for such an act.

“I thought if the doctor wouldn’t return my phone call, I would do something to make her take notice. Professionals have an obligation to their patients, right?” Her friend nodded slowly, hoping not to agitate the girl any further.

“The rock somehow broke the window. I didn’t even realize I had it in my hand,” Rachel muttered, her gaze fixed on the side yard outside the window through which she still stared. “I kind of feel bad about it, but then again I don’t.”

The slightly sinister smirk returned to Rachel’s face, but her friend wanted no part in condoning the behavior. Her previous nod shifted to a disagreeing shake from side to side. “You know you’ll be expected to pay for the damage, and you’re damn lucky to be released to my care.”

Rachel shrugged and tossed her head slightly aside. Remorse wasn’t her style.

The older woman sighed deeply, desperate to reach the girl somehow. “This self-fulfilling prophecy is getting you nowhere,” she said. “Nobody in that clinic will agree to see you now. How do you plan to find a new counselor?”

Rachel’s attention faded. Something beyond the cigarette-stained glass pulled her thoughts away from the conversation.

She vaguely remembered seeing broken glass scattered across the pavement and hearing it crunch beneath her step, but she didn’t know how it got there. After grinding the shards with the heel of her shoe, she squinted at squad car lights flashing in her eyes and wondered what they wanted. Rachel had smiled up at the officers and simply said hello.

Studio 30+ writing prompt – fiendish

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Self Help

don't run

The bright azure sky ensconced sparse clouds – one shaped in a way that slightly resembled a jack rabbit sitting on its haunches. She sat slumped in the front seat on her mother’s car as it sped down the highway toward home and pondered the rabbit cloud’s dissolution into a blurred bunny that eventually faded away into nothingness. The young woman felt as smeared as that aerial vapor and wished she could melt into the tan foam of the bench car seat.

She remained reticent while her mother yammered away from behind the wheel, asking her how she felt, almost demanding to know her status from minute to minute. Glaring in her direction didn’t slow the pace of the older woman’s diatribe, as if the ride home from the hospital weren’t torturous enough. Ava had to listen to this maternal needling, too. Insult upon self-imposed injury.

Mom claimed to simply want the best for her and would provide it for Ava at home, as if her daughter had a choice in the matter. Through therapy, the medical team surmised she most likely wouldn’t hurt herself again and acquiesced to release her to her mother’s care.

Experiencing more of the woman’s ultra-protective oversight made Ava question whether staying there would be best or not. She drew her legs up out of the floorboard and pulled her knees to her chest. Leaning over to hug them close into her, she turned her head and gazed out the passenger window to purposefully will her mother’s voice out of her consciousness.

“Could you just lighten up, Mom?” she begged. Ignoring the comments wasn’t going to work. The best wishes and unending euphemisms continued non-stop. “Things aren’t really that bad. You just have to think positive. Everything’s going to work out. It’s going to be all right. You’ll see. Things will be fine once you’re home. I promise.”

All the advice in the world only mangled the already racing thoughts. Ava opened one eye to peer sideways at the monologue’s source, saw only a mouth incessantly opening and closing, and tried to concentrate on her own thoughts. “Stop, stop, stop,” she repeated inwardly to block out all other noise.

An SUV travelled in the right lane next to their car, and she watched it gain speed to pass them. Stickers emblazoned the back bumper, and an oval-shaped decal on the top right of the window bragged of how many miles the driver apparently ran in a race. Ava remembered one of her doctors had encouraged her to exercise for the natural endorphins, to maybe taking up running.

“If only it was that easy,” she thought. She couldn’t stand those suggestions. That SUV driver also annoyed her.

Ava’s inner train of thought paused long enough for her to hear, “I only want what’s best for you, my love, and will do anything I can to help. I wish I could fix your situation and will never give up on you.”

She wanted to feel better about herself, life, her family, work … even her mother. She knew she had to find way to do so or she wasn’t going to make it.

The car stopped, and Ava realized they’d arrived at home. Her mom put the gear shift into “park” and turned off the ignition. She looked at her daughter ruefully and told her, “I love you, sweetheart.”

Ava faintly smiled and said, “I know, Mom. I know.”

***

Studio 30+ writing prompt – reticent Studio30

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Seeking help

pillsThe doctor said not to be too concerned about the change. I told him, “There’s just such a distinct difference. The personality changes are so pronounced.” This being the first time he’d seen her, the man wouldn’t necessarily know any better. He saw so many patients in a day that he probably only knew them from what he wrote down in their files. A prescription pad might be all he felt he needed.

Dr. Franklin sat shaking his head unapologetically while my pulse raced and feelings of hopelessness spun out of control. “You can’t understand, she wasn’t like this before. She … I … you just don’t know her.” The dull affect was a first warning sign. Her personality had changed. Something was missing although I was at a loss to explain it to him, the so-called professional. Shouldn’t he have learned about these things in medical school?

I looked out the three-paned window at the dreary winter sky, stratified in bleak layers of gray, pale pink and slate blue. The coldness it foreshadowed chilled me to the bone. Turning back to the doctor, I noticed a look of impatience on his face.

The man didn’t seem to take notice of my mother sitting in a wheelchair beside his desk, her gaze turned blankly to the wall. He said, “I’m sorry, but we need to hurry this along. Other patients are waiting.”

*The weekly writing prompt at Studio 30+ was something was missing. (image via John on Flickr)

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