Last night my sister confessed a very deep and dark secret that had been troubling her for a while.
“I can’t study abroad like the rest of you have done,” she began tentatively.
“Why ever not?” I asked not understanding the significance of what she was about to say.
“Promise not to tell?”
“Promise” I said looking up at her for a moment
“ I am insane.”
I smiled at her, “when did you become aware of this insanity?”
“It’s true! I am insane! I am retarded!” It all began to rush out, “An absolute nut-job! I can’t go! I don’t even want to go. I won’t be able to handle it!”
“I see retarded people daily, what kind of retarded?” I asked, putting on my serious-understanding-caring face.
“I get so nervous from situations.”
“okay- but doesn’t everyone?”
“You don’t understand! Like so nervous at times I simply cannot talk, eat, smile… You think I am joking?”
“Absolutely not- I hear you. But don’t you think a year away will be good for your anxiety, you will realize it’s not all that bad… and even manageable!”
“ You are not comprehending the magnitude of my anxiety…” Then she began to list all of the times she was severely anxious in the last 24 hours. The more she spoke, the more she had my attention, and the more I realized to the extent she requires therapy.
“I think you should come to my clinic and speak to someone about it.”
“Oh no- I won’t! And you promised you wont tell anyone.”
“But honey, you don’t realize that right now you are still in high school, dealing with small high school problems and you are a basket case, it’s not going to get better. Just because you don’t end up going to another country, for a year! Look at me – I get stressed from college, and work -sometimes and in high school I was as chilled as they come.”
“You are right, I did. Do it for yourself though. Because deep down you really want to be calm and relaxed, plus the extent you are anxious simply isn’t normal.
You know what happens when a rubber band is stretched too tight? It snaps!”
“Too bad” She said.
“On you!” I countered.
This conversation left me feeling a little helpless, I wonder what therapists feel for such scenarios. Probably as drained as I did. Because there is simply nothing I could do.