[Private] Tending to the Mind

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[Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:14 pm

After the first full day of classes, Jimmy felt pretty confident in his ability to pull off some decent grades with minimum effort. He wasn't in a particularly great mood though, as after introductions and general ice-breaking with the teacher, he had a lot of time to quietly reflect on his troubles. The work was a breeze to him as he'd already covered everything with his tutor while he was in hospital, so he had a lot of free time to think, and his mind kept roaming into the darker places he wanted to put behind him. This had almost tainted his first meeting with Ryuu too, although it ultimately brought them closer, which was for the better. But it was Ryuu's understanding attitude that had prevented it from souring their encounter. Jimmy didn't want this to occur in other interactions with students. He needed some outlets, which he hadn't quite found yet.

As Jimmy was pondering this, he remembered that the school had a psychotherapist that accepted walk-ins. He had been told this as a major selling point of Yamaku Academy, something the doctors had been stressing in their efforts to seize Jimmy's interest in going, even though he had already been sold on it. They'd all been right to worry about his mental health, especially given his mother's own instability, but he had initially handled the traumatic experience well. His family had managed to keep him distracted and busy enough to keep his mind off it for the most part. Now, with this change of pace in his move to Yamaku, he had nobody constantly leading his mind away from the horrific day. He needed to learn to distract himself, perhaps getting to know some people properly would help.

Jimmy decided to find the therapist's office and drop by for a walk-in. He could do with a real therapy session this time. He found the office after wandering around the school for a while, dragging his oxygen tank behind him. It was adorned by a modest plaque that read Dr. Julius Schmidt, Psychotherapist.

Jimmy stopped still and knocked on the door, waiting for an answer.
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:28 am

"Door's open, come on in," his deep voice answered from within.
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:38 am

Jimmy opened the door and entered the office, dragging his oxygen tank behind him.

"I hope I haven't caught you at a bad time, Dr. Schmidt, but I heard you accepted walk-ins." He said.
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:21 pm

"No trouble at all. Please, have a seat. Mr. Cohen…" he said, searching through his folders.

At least "Psychotherapist" reads better in Japanese than in English, he thought with a chuckle as he caught a glimpse of the plaque on the open door.

"So, how have you been settling in?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:18 pm

Jimmy took a seat, leaving his oxygen tank at his side.

"I've been doing ok. Well, socially at least. I've made a friend, and I've just started acquainting myself with a few others. I think it's a good start, but it's the first day of class, so I don't want to judge preemptively." He said, looking around a little. The inside of the office didn't quite look like what he'd been expecting.
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:40 am

"Doing okay, socially at least."

"That's always good. Anything not going so well today?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:15 am

"Yeah. Well, it's more about my... uh, traumatic experience... When I was in hospital, my family were around me all the time. My sister was, at least. But they managed to keep me distracted from what had happened. I wouldn't dwell on it for long before someone would distract me with something, and I know they did that intentionally. But now that I'm here, the pace has changed. I've had time to think about it more, and it isn't helping me come to terms with anything. It's just... there... haunting me. I know it's not gonna just go away, but I'm afraid it'll start to taint my friendships with the other students, or prevent me from making any in the first place. It's come close to that already." Jimmy hadn't spoken so openly about his trauma with anyone. He found it easy to speak to Dr. Schmidt.
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:26 pm

"I see.

"In that case, it sounds like you should consider finding some new things to do here. You would have the chance to make plenty of friends, and it would give you something else to occupy your mind.
What sorts of things are you interested in?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:13 am

Jimmy gave a small chuckle.

"That's the problem. I wanted to be an athlete before. Long distance running was my thing, but I can't do that now... I haven't really settled on anything. I'm terrible at art, my condition hinders my physicality and the only thing other than that is listening to music. But I tried to learn instruments before. Nothing really stuck... Do you know what sort of clubs are offered here?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:15 pm

"Hmm… Well, there's been a decline in the formal club structure in the last several years. However, we do have a few artists. Most of the students have some sort of musical experience. And the library is quite heavily frequented, so we have many who enjoy a good book."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:53 pm

"Well, I'll experiment a bit then. See what sticks. I might have some small sparks of inspiration right now." Jimmy smiled warmly. He then fell quiet for a while.

"What do you know about what happened to me from your files? If you've got time, I'd like to talk it over a bit. I haven't spoken about it before, I think I need to break that barrier."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:11 am

"There was… a compendium included among your files, yes. But please, feel free."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:17 am

Jimmy sighed deeply. This would be hard to talk about, but he wanted to do so. If he left it too long he would never be able to talk about it to anyone.

"I guess I should start with something that everybody knew about. The boy that started the shooting was teased relentlessly by everybody. He was a weird guy, obsessed with death, hunting and guns. He constantly talked about killing and dissecting animals. He was pretty intimidating. At first it started out as friendly banter. That was the intention anyway. He didn't take it well, but everyone continued. I think that's when it proceeded to become bullying. I feel terrible, because I joined in just like everyone else. I was pretty awful to him. Not as bad as most, but I don't think that's any kind of excuse for how I was to him. I'll regret that for the rest of my life. I never want to be that arrogant jock that teased the weird kid ever again."

Jimmy stopped and took a breath, trembling heavily.

"If we'd known he actually did competitive shooting, we might have been a little more cautious around him. As soon as he walked in the door that day, I knew something was up. There was some kind of burning rage in his eyes. A teacher walked up to him, and the first gunshot went off. He used an air rifle, so he needed to be close. I don't remember whether that teacher was injured or killed. Me and my girlfriend, Hikari were right in his path. As soon as he raised that rifle, I couldn't do anything but throw her aside and take that shot. It was so strange. I almost didn't know what had happened. I could figure it out, from the gun aimed at me and the sharp pain in my chest. It hurt to breathe."

He paused again. This was the most painful part of all of it. He took a few deep breaths and struggled to get the words out.

"This... monster hit Hikari in the face with his rifle. She was knocked to the ground. And the boy just looked at me with this awful predatory grin, and shot her. She died instantly. I thought I was going to die there too. He went on to injure nine more people, and kill one more before shooting himself. I didn't see any of it, but I sure as hell heard it. Heard the screams and the pops from the gun. I saw people sobbing, covered in blood rushing out of the door after that last shot, and I blacked out and woke up in hospital a day later. I'm never going to forget a moment of that. But I want more agency over when it troubles me. I want to let it haunt me when it won't have to affect anyone else. Otherwise that psycho won. I don't want to share this burden, I think it would bring anyone down."

He suddenly seemed angry at himself for sharing this horrific story.

"I'm sorry, this is probably difficult for you to hear too. See, this is my problem, I'm afraid to share this because it keeps having a huge impact, not just on me. If I could just forget it somehow..."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:16 pm

The gun aimed at me… the screams… the sound of gunfire… covered in blood…

What the hell is this world coming to?


"Mr. Cohen, I'll be straight with you right now.
There are many in my line of work that would prefer to give you some feel-good load of crap, but I don't see that helping anyone.

"You will never forget what happened that day.
You will be reminded of it, and it will haunt your thoughts from time to time for the rest of your life.

"There are things no one should ever have to witness. But the fact of the matter is, you survived.

"You survived then, and you're going to survive now. So you get up, and you keep living your life.
That's all anyone can ever do."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:19 pm

A tragic smile played across Jimmy's mouth. He was close to tears, but he held himself together well. He took a breath from the tank by his side. He'd just done a lot of talking.

"Thank you, Dr. Schmidt. I appreciate the honesty. Since I got out of hospital that's all I've had: people trying to console me with things like 'you'll get better', like I'm sick... Like I'm weak for being traumatised by this. You're right, I'm never going to forget this, but would there be any worth in some sort of coping mechanism? Does such a thing even exist for these traumas?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Mon Sep 08, 2014 2:50 am

"Coping mechanism… hmm. Well, there's no magic mantra to make you forget, if that's what you're asking.
'Cope' comes from French, meaning 'to cut.' So, you want to cut off that memory from your life.

"First, you have to accept what happened. I'm not going to ask you to say it was okay, or give you some clichéd line about forgiveness making you the better man. What happened was terrible, no doubt. But it was by no means your fault. You did everything you could at the time, and there's no changing the past.
So if you feel any guilt about that day, forget it.

"I know that first step is enough of a challenge in itself, so I'll let you work on that. When you think you've really got that, then we'll work on the next phase.

"Keep in mind that you have a lot of people here to support you. I can't make all your problems disappear, and I can't change your mind for you… but I'll be here to talk, and listen, and help you work through this. I promise you that."


Last edited by Julius Schmidt on Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:57 am

"I wasn't aware of that meaning. I have no intention of forgetting. I simply mean to find a way to get by, to have some sort of agency over my trauma instead of the other way around. I suppose you're right in saying that accepting this is a good first step. Easier said than done though, isn't it?"
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Julius Schmidt on Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:50 am

"That's the great trouble with everything. It takes a lot of practice to put theory into practice," he said with a small reassuring smile.

"I can tell, you're a strong person to go through something like that and still be like you are today. You'll be able to deal with this in time, I'm sure of it."
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Re: [Private] Tending to the Mind

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:30 pm

Jimmy replicated Julius' smile.

"Thanks for everything, Dr. Schmidt. I'll try to follow your advice. I'll stop by if I'm still having troubles, but I'm pretty sure this won't be the last you'll see of me, doc." He said. The last remark said only half-jokingly. He stood up and headed for the door, taking his oxygen tank with him.
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