3/12/19

This past week has been a mess and a half. I haven’t had the motivation to write much over break though I’ve tried to but haven’t gotten very far. Once I got back to campus, things have been a bit more eventful, so I have more to news to share than I did over break.
I guess I’ll start with Monday. So we had our first rehearsal meeting, but we didn’t do much actual rehearsing, just table work and a couple warm up games. I’m really excited for this opportunity to be an actual part of the cast, and it finally hit me that I’m actually in the play and that I’m actually acting in a show on a stage in front of people. I’m not necessarily nervous, but I’m definitely not calm about it. At the end of rehearsal, I was finally able to give Bethany the painting I had been working on for the past three weeks. It wasn’t much or all that interesting or exciting but the meaning and reasoning behind it meant a great deal. The painting is of a black-capped chickadee perched on a tree branch and under the tree branch is a bee and the phrase “hey chickadee.” I did this because she is always greeting me and other people with “hey chickadee,” and that gave me the inspiration for the painting. When I gave it to her, she was so happy and thought it was so sweet. Since we had to go to Cru right after rehearsal, so many people commented on the texture of the tree branch and how cute the painting was. I learned over break after I was almost finished with the painting that the black-capped chickadee is the Maine state bird and the most recent play we did, which Bethany also participated in, was called Almost, Maine, about the short scenes in Maine. When I told her about that, she thought it was so cool and almost coincidental.
The day before and of my session with Hank, I was trying to find ride, but literally everyone was busy. I was worrying so much about this over those two days and the days before every session I’ve had with him. Trying to find a ride there has been such an issue as I had anticipated. Since no one could take me this week, I had to get a ride with Lyft. I am never doing that again. Ever. It was one of the most terrifying experiences. I already don’t like riding in cars with people whose driving I don’t trust, but being driven twenty minutes somewhere by a complete stranger is even worse. It didn’t help that on the way out of the parking lot he picked me up in he drove over the curb and not just a little bit but like for a good few feet on the curb. Never again am I getting in the car with a stranger through those apps. Ever.
During our session today, Hank and I were talking about something and he asked me if a topic relating to that would be worth talking about. We talked about spring break and everything good or bad and specific instances, and I mentioned one particularly difficult thing which was my financial situation. We got on to the topic of getting more funds, and I think we were talking about loans and having to talk to financial aid about maybe getting more money from BC, and he asked me if it would be something I would be able to do. I told him that I thought I could because I didn’t really have a choice not to. We continued to talk about that for a few minutes, and then I had to make the decision whether it was something I wanted to continue to talk about or not. I’m not exactly sure if this was what we were talking about, but I do remember that it was something I didn’t want to talk about at all because it was a painful area, but I also was thinking that maybe I needed to push and challenge myself to talk about it. A very small, minuscule part of me wanted to talk about it because I didn’t know what else to talk about, so I was just going to go with that. And since I almost always panic when I have to make a decision, that’s what happened this time, and I got stuck in my head yet again. He asked me the question, and I had to decide. Below, I recount my blurred perception of what happened right after.
“Is this something you want to talk about, or do you think that it’s not worth the time right now?”
I tried to answer, but my mind won’t let me speak. “Well I really don’t want to talk about this at all, but I know that sometimes when I don’t want to talk about something that means that I actually should. So, I’m kind of conflicted; I don’t know which to choose… (towards herself) Come on speak. Why aren’t you speaking? Just open your mouth and fucking speak. Come on; it’s not that difficult. Stop staring at the ground. No stop staring at the side table. Stop analyzing the little leaves and branches. Come on. FOCUS. Look up, and just fucking speak. It’s not that hard. Come on. Ha. Great. Now you’ve forgotten the question, and you’re gonna be stuck here. Good job. You can’t speak; you can’t move; you can’t even speak. Great job, you failure…”
Hank spoke, seemingly suddenly, saying my name trying to help me to come back to the room. I looked up for a split second, immediately returning my gaze to the floor and pressing my nails into my forearm, trying to ground myself. Wanting so desperately to return to the present moment, I tried to look back up at, but was unsuccessful. My mind continued to spiral into the depths of my self-hatred, and my fingers cut deeper into my skin. Hank said something again, but I barely heard or understood. Something like “Is it happening again? Do you need help getting out?” The world seemed muffled and blurred yet at the same time, I was overly aware of myself. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, my foot falling asleep, my breath quickening and becoming uneven, my arms tensing around my core, and most intensely, the sharp pains in my arm. My mind continued to criticize me for not being able to focus and function like an actual human being. It saw my anxiety as a character fault and blamed me, calling me a failure because of it. I fought to break free from my mind, but I just couldn’t seem to shake it away. Hank continued to wait, watching, waiting that maybe I could come back to the room by myself, before he tried helping again.
“Everleigh.” I looked up for a second, but immediately returned my eyes to the floor.
“Everleigh. Hey, look at me, can you do that?” I looked up again for a few seconds. “There you go.”
I tried to force my eyes to stay on Hank, but my stubborn mind overruled my strong-willed nature, and my eyes fell to the carpet again.
“Hey, try looking at me. Can you try looking at me?” I noticed his voice was softer and gentler than our usual conversations, and it made me feel slightly uncomfortable but also somewhat understood and sympathized with, as though a person could see I was struggling and wanted to help me through it without judgment or criticism. I’ve noticed this type of thing and voice before in our sessions and in sessions with Hank, but I think this is the first time I’ve been able to explain and put words to what happened. He continued to talk, and I think he asked me about what I was feeling. Since I was silent, I sat there with my anxiety rising into panic, and I was breathing faster than normal. Hank noticed what was happening and tried to talk me through some things to help me calm down. He said to notice something, but I don’t quite remember what it was, then moved onto my breathing, trying to guide me back to normal. I tried to follow and was able to a little bit, catching my breath a tiny bit so that I could actually get some oxygen.
I tried answering saying whether I could or couldn’t look at him, but my mind would not let me speak, and no matter how hard I tried to force myself to talk, my voice wouldn’t work. I wanted to say that I could look up at him, and I knew that I could because I’ve done it before, but this time, I couldn’t get myself to make eye contact. I was trying so hard to do what he asked, but the farthest I could get my eyes was the arm of chair.
“I see you’re trying…” He continued talking about something, and it was encouraging that he saw that I was trying so hard to look up at him. He asked about trying to help me or something, but he thought it would just make it worse. I think he was referring to when we talked last session about making any sudden movements, potentially loud noises or any physical contact would just escalate the situation, and so he figured I didn’t want anything like that to happen. He asked if that was correct, and I was surprisingly able to nod indicating he was right. He asked a few more questions, mostly yes or no questions which I was so thankful for because there was no way I could answer until I was grounded. He asked me if I had anymore writings I wanted to share, but I didn’t know how to tell him that I didn’t know. Of course, I wanted him to read what I’ve written, but I also didn’t want him to have to do that especially when I wasn’t being all that productive or cooperative in sessions. He asked about something else, but I don’t quite remember what he said. After I was unable to answer the question and was beginning to panic again, but this time I was finally able to calm myself enough so that I wasn’t panicking, and I was able to make eye contact and speak a little bit. He asked me again if there was anything wanted to share but that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. I decided that I wanted to share the piece I wrote about sharing that first document about what goes on in my mind with you during one session. I figured this was best to share next because it shows my internal dialogue and also follows the previous writing I shared.
After all of this we had rehearsals back at school and our first run through of the play, and it was so much fun. I’m so glad I decided to join theatre.

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