Josephine's Bucket List by Tula Turanská
I have a new patient. She was brought in by her parents, originally diagnosed with F50 – an eating disorder. She is very pretty but lacks any sort of self-confidence. She talked about how painful it is for her to look into the mirror and kept repeating something about monsters and beasts she sees from time to time. I made her talk about the nightmare she had been having lately again and again. She is not very communicative, locked in her own world – sort of. I think it will be difficult to penetrate it. She feels lonely, and I do not think that the diagnosis has been the correct one. We have to be careful not to mistake the symptoms for the causal agent. Her own family situation smells a bit fishy to me. I decided to make an individual file for this patient where I want to see what progress she has made. I will call it Josephine’s Bucket List. I told her to write down ten things she definitely wants to manage and accomplish in her life. The biggest trouble with her is she does not really want to live. Not only for fear, but out of pure incapacity to work with people, inability to communicate herself. She is not prepared to face the reality as such. She does not give the world outside any chance. And she does not want to take any chances either.
Ten things I would like to accomplish in my life? How the hell am I supposed to decide on something so stupid in my age? Today I was meant to go to school, but I couldn’t. My beast, he showed up again. I cannot brush my teeth anymore without him showing up. He does not want to leave me alone, and I feel so weak. I tremble each and every morning when the alarm goes off. I am so tired. I don’t have any energy to walk the stairs anymore and look into anyone’s eyes. I wish not to speak to anybody for the rest of my life. Mmmm, if only I could put this as one of the ten wishes on my Bucket List. ‘To be left alone’. I bet it would drive him nuts. That wish would go perfectly with the other one I have always dreamt of. K2. To climb one of the most difficult mountains in the Himalayas. Why not? It’s my Bucket List, and no one has the right to criticize me for it.
I have eaten too much today. I feel as stuffed as the stupid giraffe in our national museum. Or like a pig that lives its last day before being shot between its eyes. My eyes hurt in the sun even though it is so pleasant to soak it up, its warmth and teasing beams playing with my skin.
I am tired. And stuffed. I have to go and throw it up. It lies in my stomach as the heaviest stone ever.
Today I found a new sitcom on TV. It’s so silly and the plot is really stupid, but it makes me not think about anything. It feels so refreshing not to analyze my own self and simply waste the time with an empty head. At least I do not feel any pain for those 45 minutes. No beasts, no enemies, no reproaches, no voices.
Today’s session has been extremely hard. Jos refused to cooperate and did not want to give me anything whatsoever. She had this weird gaze and kept looking out of the window. She came across as a bird that longs for leaving the cage but does not have any wings to fly. If I only knew a way how to show her the strength she holds inside and how to use it. She is extremely sensitive, and I think there are many ways how to use this ability. If only she weren’t so locked up in herself. If only she could find a way how to come out and look around, I am sure she would find a lot of opportunities how to heal herself on her own.
All I got out of her today was some idiotic sitcom and its characters that she was willing to describe. I do not see any connection between them and her personality. Maybe she wishes to be one of them. She sort of envies those artificial non-real creatures their ‘strength to go on’ as she called it. I think this will require much more sessions than those 12 I have prescribed. What kind of a world is this which makes cripples out of young talented people? Why?... Oh gosh, I am helpless.
The last couple of weeks have been much better. The beast still does not want to leave me, but I keep ignoring it and I stopped brushing my teeth. If I brush them, then only in the kitchen when my parents are gone and where there are no mirrors at all. The bitter acidic taste in my mouth is unbearable, so I need to do something about it from time to time. Especially before I go the sessions, so that that asshole would not smell anything. He keeps asking me the dullest questions, and I am so sick of it.
Today I could not face the world whatsoever, so I stayed at home again. I switched on the TV and watched ‘The Sinners’ once more. ‘Sinners’, how funny, isn’t it? Do I feel like a sinner? Oh I guess I have never felt differently. I wish I had the courage to behave as Rose and Ben do. They seem not to have any problems whatsoever. They laugh all the time, they can do whatever they feel like, and there is nobody who would be judgemental about them. Why can’t this world be like that too? Why is it always, “Why did you do that? Look at your hair! And have you heard of her and him? Isn’t it terrible what such and such said?” I am so sick of all people and their vanity. I wish I could be that vain one day. I wish… I could actually find those ten things I would like to do in my life. But there are no such things. I found K2 impossible and unfeasible, so I am left with the only wish-to be left alone.
Fortunately, ‘The Sinners’ has been on each day since September, so I do not have to wait till Friday as the whole summer.
I started having problems to distinguish my dreams from reality lately. I dream about Ben and Rose a lot and I see myself in one room with them. We talk, and they actually listen to me. It’s as if they had known me forever. Then I wake up feeling very confused where I am. Sometimes I am not sure what the dream is and what happened on the other side. What is the other side? What if I chose to live there instead of here? What if… Eeergh, leave me alone…
Today I had a dream with Jos. She smiled at me and reassured me that everything would be fine. It seemed like her being a doctor and me being a patient. I felt very vulnerable, as if I got the chance to look into her mind and understand her feelings. Well, I do not envy anyone with so much mess in their heads. Today it’s going to be our twelfth session, and two weeks ago, when we last saw each other, Jos seemed very fragile. As if she was to break in any moment. But something interesting was glowing in her eyes. She keeps disappearing (weight-wise) in front of my eyes, but there was a strange look in her face that I could not really grasp. She seemed… calm. Very peaceful she acted, not so anxious; she wasn’t even biting her lips as she used to before. Her nails were nicely cut, not eaten into the flesh as one month ago. Her hair shone as well, even though there is probably not enough nutrition in her left for healthy looking hair at all. I am desperate. I am going to talk to her today for one last time, only to explain that she needs professional help. I need to talk to her mother and admit I wasn’t successful enough to find the cause of her trouble, and I could not stop her self-destructive behavior. She will need to have her own daughter hospitalized, and that is not an easy thing to explain to a parent.
It’s time, I have to go.
Yesterday I went to see that crazy man again… We were locked in a room. There was nothing sexual; there was just so much pain in the air and no one to sort it out. He seemed desperate. So I told him that everything would be fine. I don’t know why I was wearing the white coat instead of him, but he seemed he needed help more than me. What happened afterwards, I do not remember. It happens a lot to me. I start forgetting. It’s been probably useless to remember all those faces and conversations with empty lines. I feel so happy today. It seems that the sun keeps shining all year long and that that whole year is happening right now at this moment. Me and Rose are going for a walk in the afternoon. Ben had to go… somewhere, I don’t remember. But he’ll come back. He always comes back… It’s so nice outside. For October, it’s quite unusual. I love Indian summers…
She didn’t come to the session… Her mother called that she would never come either. I felt awful, like throwing up. I went out to the first bar and had a shot of tequila. Then another one, then another one… Someone switched on TV. Weather forecast and a dumb-looking announcer who kept blabbering something about the nicest Indian summer in the last two decades. Then the barman changed it to a different channel. “Josephine! Let’s go!” When I heard the name, another wave of nausea overwhelmed me. “What’s that?” I asked the barman. “Oh that? Only a stupid TV series. I don’t like it, but, you know, customers want it. It’s called ‘The Sinners’ or something like that. I can switch it off if you want me to.”
“No, no! Please, don’t. Let me see it! I heard it can be quite catching…”
Illustrations: Tula Turanská
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