“This is one of those moments. Your future may depend on your intuition. On your inner voice. This is when there are no answers, not in your books. When you, my fellow students, future colleagues, are supposed to use your talent. Your gift. So, let’s begin.”
And here I am, completely unprepared…exhausted after so many sleepless nights, emotionally drained after so many fights. I can’t be a good therapist now, when I feel I have nothing left to give. And this professor, he obviously saw the dark circles under my eyes. He probably thinks I came straight from a party. When the truth is…
The door opens and it’s too late for me to walk away. I’m about to lose everything…
I hear rumors around me. He didn’t mentioned that we need to review the chapter about psychosis. Look at the case he brought…he’s doing this intentionally. I wonder if she’s under any medication.
I try to concentrate on the case. I can’t. All I see is a girl my age, scared, confused, with a teddy bear in her arms. Her name is Deana and she’s telling us her story so that we can present our therapeutic approach. She speaks so fast, laughing from time to time. Short laughs…I wonder if my colleagues see that she’s trying hard not to cry.
And there’s something in her eyes, in her voice that touches my heart. There’s something in that faked laugh of hers that brings tears in my eyes. And I realize…oh, how it hurts…that we’re studying her and she knows. And, for a reason I can’t understand, she’s looking at me. Straight into my eyes, with a trusty smile.
And I hear my colleagues theories and they all deserve the best grade. And it’s my turn to speak. And I’m afraid, not that I’m losing my scholarship, not that I wont pass this exam.
I’m afraid I’ll let her down. I’m afraid that her trust in me is misplaced.
“Will you please present your approach on this (very clear) case of psychosis? So that we can all go home?”
The professor’s condescendent tone makes me aware that I already lost. So, why wouldn’t I risk it all and just speak my mind?
“She’s not a case and she’s not psychotic. Her name is Deana, she’s standing right here, in front of us, feeling lonely, humiliated, scared and lost. Hearing our theories about her. Listening how we’re going to treat her. Do we really help her now?”
The room became smaller as the silence around me made my knees tremble. Terrified looks, the sarcastic smile on the professor’s face. That’s it. If I’m losing my scholarship, at least I’ll do it with greatness.
The professor stares at me and I feel like I’m the case here. But he asks me to continue so I look at Deanna.
“Thank you for sharing your amazing story, it was very brave of you. Thank you. Deana, from all the people in this room, including myself, there’s only one person who holds the keys to your healing. And that person is YOU. Please tell me how can I help you in using these keys.”
She comes closer and I hear her whispering “thank you”. And, against all the rules, I go there, in front of my colleagues and I hug her.
Someone is applauding and I wonder how much sarcasm I can stand…
“You see, fellow students, Deana is, indeed, not a case. And absolutely not psychotic. She’s just a really great actress (thank you, Deana, for participating to our little experiment). The script was about the borderline behavior. None of you even mentioned this term. Everyone jumped to treat what cannot be treated: life. Except for our idealist colleague. My dear, allow me to encourage your emphatic approach, but the harsh reality is that your hugs wont right the wrongs of life. It’s simply not enough…”
I passed the exam. And it meant nothing.
What truly mattered and still does…
is that LIFE needs to be lived, not treated.
The wrong needs to be righted, not only observed and commented
and a hug may not be enough, but it surely is essential and meaningful.
So…this is my warm hug. And my way of saying THANK YOU, my wonderful friends from our blogging world. For all the encouragement, for all the healing words, for being here when I’m tempted to give up. For reminding me that kindness is our universal language. Thank you!