Adventures in Counseling

(Disclaimer: All accounts are purely fictional, highly dramatised, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the author. And anyone who says and believes otherwise is an idiot.)

~*~

It’s so exhausting, having to play pretend and act normal. Having to pretend to be mentally stable and mimic the actions of someone who’s having a ball of a time, as the smiling fucker, oh sorry, you meant counselor—honest mistake—grins as she dissects your brain with your fallible lies and a razor glint of her diabetes sweet teeth, faker than fucking plastic surgery. The wall clock ticks softly in excoriation, and with each tick you die a little inside, bit by bit, nerve by nerve, line for line.

You don’t know why you were called here in the first place, but shit, somehow it’s inevitable, and here you are now, caught up in the viscous web, sitting in the red plush couch of a pastel-drunk room with pleasant hues, looking at a hulking woman that looks like she’s going to bite your head off if you dare even move as much as twitch your eyeball to the left. This sucks bollocks. Now you have to have to act, smile, play nice, calculate your answers, and take precaution in every word and letter, because a single minor slip-up and congratulations, you’re fucking insane! You win an all-expenses paid trip to the asylum, and please take a complimentary straitjacket on your way out! Them’s the breaks, you mentally incompetent loser.

But despite everything else, you’re still trying to be as truthful as you can be, giving her a predisposed glimpse of your personality without showing the grotesque, starving, slobbering, hideous monsters that are itching to unsheathe its fatal claws and spring on her. Surreptitiously hiding and suppressing all the possible yet cunningly undiagnosed anxiety, depression, bipolar tendencies, borderline symptoms, insomnia, paranoia, apathy, psychopathy, insanity, and the mixed-up mental maelstrom that’s rampaging and crashing internal systems within you as you forcefully laugh along with her and lock your glassy dead eyes upon her taunting stare; judging, scrutinising, analysing, like a blinded omniscient deity, all-knowing but never truly seeing.

So, how are you today? I’m fine, thank you. How’s school? It’s okay. How’s life? I’m doing great. How about your family? Four siblings, one parent, we’re all good. You are? I am completely fan-fucking normal. You’re supposed to fill in the blanks but it’s all multiple choice. Nothing but lost question marks, rising intonations, spat inflections, blah, blah, blah, and all the other prompted scripted questions, cliche and well-practised, disgustingly clean. The interrogation is designed to intimidate, blasting and shot off like machine gun rounds, jarring your senses, making you duck, tattering you with bullet holes. The professional iciness sending shudders down your spine, chills through your nerves, and profanities ricocheting off the back of your gritted teeth and lips. It’s nothing but insipid, asinine, fatuous inquiries that make you want to answer badly with a mockingly loud tonsil-performance yawn and a crooked middle finger raised proudly like your personal country flag.

But no. That’s unacceptable. And frankly, doing what you believe to be right at this point will get your foot sinking further in the shit you stepped upon. So you smile, faker than the reality you’re facing right now. Flash, flash, flash, smiles colliding against smiles, expert lies rolling smoothly off your numbed tongue like honey, and she’s the childish bumblebee suckling on the pistils and unwittingly getting corrupted by the words, your parasite infestation transferring under her skin without her consent. It’s hilarious, almost enough for you to drop your charade, but you fumble, fix your mask, and regain aplomb and composure, continuing to answer her with a placid expression that tells all but gives away none.

You know you’re a fantastic fucking actor, but somehow you still can’t help occasionally avoiding gazes and being at a loss for words and substituting lame sceptical replies for rational answers that never present itself in your mind. You try in vain to stop yourself from impulsively raising your jumper’s sleeves in trepidation of the idiot in front of you spotting the crisscrossed scars on your arms that cover your skin like a sculpture design and declare you a threat to yourself and legally wacko. You nervously making frenetic titchy motions and fiddling with your hands in order to prevent an oncoming thermonuclear meltdown from dislodging itself out of your suffocating throat. Suck it up, you can get through this. Stay calm, and countdown. One, two, three…

After what seems like an eternity of awkward silence and a gazillion fucking questions and omitted details and convoluted conversations, she finally sets down her pen and her scribble-filled paper and ends it. That will be all for today, thank you. No, thank you, you reply automatically like the perfect little demon you are. You amble away and let the door hit your ass on your way out, but before you carry on, you come to a halt at the doorway, grip the doorknob into a crushed metal lump, crane your stiff neck backwards a-la Exorcist, and ironically grin back at her just one last time, shockingly faker than your fucking will to live, a derisive leer that screams a silent “fuck you bitch, I’ll see you in hell”, and you finally saunter out, feeling no better, feeling even worse.

So you slowly walk back to class, half an hour late, plagued with clashing negative emotions and cynical thoughts, feeling more vindictive, more depressed, more fucked-up than usual, and ultimately wishing badly to slit the throat of the tattletale asshole who ratted you out. You’re hating yourself for no particular reason again and at the same time congratulating yourself victoriously because you successfully managed to deceive and manipulate someone who deserved no less and even more. You smile, but this time a twisted, deranged, maniacal one, undecipherable as either a smile of jubilance or a grimace of agony, but unsurprisingly realer than all the smiles you’ve ever outputted combined. You can breathe easy now. you can breathe now. You fucking did it.

But inside, your acidic guts still churn like a heavy washing machine load, and you’re unable to pull the plug, so you short circuit and burn out, and you head straight to the bathroom to try to put out the fire that’s threatening to spread in your body. You grasp the porcelain sink, splash water in your face, heave once, twice, thrice, but nothing comes out, only spit and empty tears, but not from sorrow, rather only from triggering and abusing your gag reflex. Within the furthest reaches of your mentality, you’re still rational, but it’s all discordant, damaged, deranged. It will take a miracle and another universe to salvage what’s left in that chaos. “Guidance counseling”, yeah fucking right. More like 30 minutes stuck in purgatory, sleeping with your worst nightmare screwing you against your goddamn will.

Your heartbeat finally slows after a while, and ragged breaths resonate from the tiled walls of the solitary room that you’ve confined yourself in as a temporary solace. You raise your head, touch the cold glass of the mirror, and shut your eyes once to blink away the fear, before you finally have the courage to look at yourself in the stained mirror. What returns your stare is a hollow vessel, all skin and bones and muscle and no soul, devoid of life, nullified of any joy, pessimistic, sunken, washed-out, sleepless, depleted, useless, tired as all fucking hell, uncaring, pathetic, apathetic, lost, cliche, inhuman. You know you’re fucked-up, too far gone, you’re not and you’ll never be o-fucking-kay, you get that, and that’s exactly why you hate being psychoanalysed. You sigh in defeat. It’s exhausting, pretending to be human.

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