The Diagnosing Duet

The Diagnosing Duet

   I sit with my legs crossed, knees overlapping

Leaning forward, my forearms press against my thighs

One wrist hangs over the other

I realize this posture won’t last long

Red, painful circles will appear in the shape of my elbows

My legs will go numb

I straighten my back, extending my arms

Wrists still intersecting with fingers curled in against my palms

I uncross my legs

A deep breath centers me

   I open the red pronged binder

My leather chair creeks as I lean back

I prop one ankle onto the other knee

Take my glasses off the desk and place them over my nose

Looking down, I lift up one page at a time

“Let’s see. Last time, we talked about [blah blah blah] “

I move my eyes up towards her

Her expression waits for me to continue

I will need to be the one to move forward

“So, what is better since then?”

   My eyes sway around the room as I muster up an answer

Deep inhale. “Um, I don’t know.” My first line in every session

Then, I begin to ramble . . .

I don’t know how to stop . . .

Look at his shoes, eyes shift to the left and up

Look at his computer. It looks old

Look at his desk lamp. Are there not lights on the ceiling?

Why are there no family photos? Is it a confidentiality thing?

I suddenly lose my train thought

“So, um, yeah. I don’t know.” My end to every ramble.

   She’s distracted . . . again

“Okay,” I say with a smirk and a quick airy laugh

I contemplate the long string of words she did get out

Our sessions have become familiar

Routine, although not mundane

I assess her pose

Tense, but she’s trying to look at ease

I lean back

Move one elbow onto the arm of my chair

Hands overlap to rest on the binder

   Does he know he’s mimicking?

Do his mirrored movements actually sync us?

I feel the urge to reposition

To break this link

I find myself immobile

My heart begins to pound

Consciously keeping a composed rhythm of breath

I yearn for empathy

I’ll settle for sympathy

I need him to move to end my anguish

   I see her breaths becoming heavy

Deeper as she attempts to look composed

Suffering through a silent distress

A failed attempt at serenity

Like her body and mind are stuck in contention

I tilt my head to the left and slightly forward, trying to catch her gaze

Her eyes dart down, headed for my right shoe

A technique to thinking

She’s about to continue

Jot in my notes, “Work on eye contact.”

   “Um,” I continue, “[blah blah blah]”

As my mind roams, consideration sways from my body

I notice my torso has fallen unnaturally

My head sinking down, hunching my shoulders

Quickly I rise, steepening the slop of my back

Head lifted

Shoulders straightened

I feel the urge to twist a crack in my lower back

Immobile again

Overthinking while hyperaware of my movements

   She locks both hands under her thighs

Maybe trying not to move too hastily?

Her body language contradicts the words

The right questions with insightful answers

But her stance is anything but fluid

One foot begins to move left, right, and left again

She quickly puts an end to that

Looks at me as if to see if I noticed

A glance at my watch tells me to start wrapping it up

“Okay, well, I think we have enough to work with until next time.”

   My eyes move to the clock on the wall behind him

Heavy sigh should signal relief

Instead, I’m venting my anxiety

Is there anything else I want to, need to, address?

The sense of urgency helps me remember something

Quickly, I squeeze one more concern into our time

I unwedge my hands, curl my fingers in, and push down on the couch

My body lifts

He rises, too

This philosophical ballet concludes as we exit.

LeoX2, 2016

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2 thoughts on “The Diagnosing Duet

  1. “So, um, yeah I don’t know” – me too! Psychologist caught me off guard today and asked “what don’t you know?” 😑 I felt like saying “why I bother”. The biggest relief was leaving her office, not from anything she said to me!

    Like

    1. My grandmother would do that all the time when I lived with her for a while. Because I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words when I’m face to face, I’d use a lot of filler phrases. She’d always respond to them as if they were literal.
      I do have to admit that she helped me overcome that, for the most part.

      Liked by 1 person

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