Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Microstory 1312: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: I’m going to ask you a series of questions, and I want you to answer them to the best of your ability. Don’t think too hard about them. Say the first thing that comes to your mind; that’s generally the most honest. They may be a little strange, but I assure you, there is a point to it all. Does this make sense?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Yes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: Where were you between the hours of 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM on Sunday, May 5, 2019?
Emotional Trauma Patient: I don’t remember; probably sleeping.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Adolf Hitler, as long as you give me access to a steak knife.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: What is your favorite film?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Wait, no! The thing about the steak knife makes me sound really violent.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: Please, just continue answering the questions. I am not here to judge you. I won’t even be analyzing your responses until later. What is your favorite film?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Severe. Ugh, that’s violent too.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: What do you see when you look at this?
Emotional Trauma Patient: An inkblot.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: How well did you do in school?
Emotional Trauma Patient: I was very good at school, but I never liked it much, and obviously I haven’t been able to go to college. I don’t think I want to, though, anyway. I just don’t really see the point. I was better at math than any other subject, but that’s really the only good thing I can say about my experiences in education over the better part of the last two decades.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: What kinds of things do you like to do in your free time?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Well, I can’t see no to a good first-person shooter. I like to sing and dance, though that doesn’t mean I’m any good. I also like to take my dog to the off-leash park.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: Why are you here?
Emotional Trauma Patient: [inner thoughts] Why am I here? These questions seemed so easy, but then she just gets all existential on me. She could have asked me that in any other way. Why did you try to kill yourself? Where did you get the drugs? Was your boyfr—ex-boyfriend involved? Do you intend to try again? But she just asked me why I’m here, as if I have a choice. Well, I guess it doesn’t necessarily mean that. She wants to know what drove me to do what I did, because that is what resulted in me having to be here. Or does she legit mean for me to answer it in the more philosophical sense; like, what was I put on this Earth to do? I don’t know the answer to that, which is probably why I tried to escape. Is that what she’s looking for? She knows I can’t answer the abstract version of that question, and that non-answer is somehow the answer to the more literal version. Oh no, she’s staring at me. She told me I’m meant to answer these quickly, but I’ve been thinking for about two hundred years already. Why am I here? Why am I HERE?
Emotional Trauma Patient: Because I don’t want to be alone anymore.

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