Dr. Hopen raised his eyebrow. He didn’t expect Layne to react that way.
“No!” Her voice exasperated, “No, I don’t have this. I don’t want it!”
“The first step is acceptance, Layne.”
She was shaking in her chair, covering her eyes with her left hand. She breathed in and held her breath before her words could escape again.
“Have you ever considered,” she breathed, “That this is not the person I ever wanted to be?”
She wasn’t supposed to be like this. She had to be stronger. Someone confident, someone who’s sure, someone other people could look to. The circumstances she was in – there were only so little possibilities. But she wanted to be like her superheroes, she wanted to be like her favourite people, she wanted to prove to everyone that she was abled. That she could live the life she wanted in spite of every other obstacle. Obstacles that needed only one solution – because that’s how life should be right? Problems, solutions, done. She could handle problems that had straightforward solutions.
But now… tiny spaces start to haunt her, crowded places seem to choke her, she can’t carry out her day because the trains or the busses lack any escape. She can’t decide if life is compressing her down to every breath – because every breath is now calculated, counted for five seconds – or if life is blurring out. Because every time it happens, she sees everything all at once: tree, building, person, sign, words, shadows. And when it doesn’t happen, all she can think of is when the next one will be. If she would be ready for it. She knows she needs all her things be ready for it. Rubber band, plastic bag, smelling salts – embarrassing things she wished she didn’t have to bring every single day. She’s embarrassed of what she has to do, how she has to plan out every ‘escape route’ to every environment. Where the nearest toilet is, which exit would be most accessible. Problems, problems, problems. Dr. Hopen had told her that the solutions take practice. They won’t work all the time. The problems, they don’t completely go away. And for Layne, that was just something she couldnt fathom living with.
“I just… I’ve always had a good picture of the person I wanted to be.”
This wasnt it.