Sep 28, 2014 by

I look across the desk and into the deep blue eyes of the bearded man in front of me. He is, by far, the tallest Italian man I have met so far. We are speaking in Italian, using the formal you in Italian (Lei). I am supposed to open up my soul and talk about my life to this man while calling him Sir. He asks me if he may take off his jacket. Another formality. Of course, I say. It is August and 35 degrees today in Milan. He takes off his blue jacket and puts it on the back of his chair. I see he is wearing suspenders over an immaculately pressed white shirt.

‘Why did you come to see me?’ he asks. A question that should have an obvious answer and yet, as he asks it, I know it does not. I think about why I am here.

What brought me here to this beautiful office, just steps away from the crowded streets of the affluent Via Montenapoleone.

I take a deep breath and I’m not sure where to start,

so I begin with the end. 

I look down at my manicured hands and start to speak in a low voice.

‘I was in my car driving out to the hospital to my physiotherapy when all of a sudden I just started crying. But not crying in a normal way.’ I pause and think to myself about the avalanche of emotions I’m about to put myself in. I continue. ‘It was terrible and I couldn’t stop, the heaviness in my broken heart, the past year, driving once again out to the hospital. The harder I tried to make it stop the harder it came. That’s when I realized, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to be enveloped in this sadness and washed away with it to someplace that I could just cry and be sad. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think clearly, I had to pull my car off the road…’ I stop to talk, but my thoughts continue to run. I am not ready to admit the rest, not yet, but it was in that moment that I sat in my car overwhelmed with sadness that I knew I could no longer go through this alone. The pain is too great the unanswered questions too many.

He takes his glasses of his face and leans forward in his chair his suspenders tugging on his white shirt , “You haven’t spoken to anyone in one year?” he asks me.

“well it hasn’t been quite a year..” I say defensively.

“Not even superheros would be capable. What happened to you is a life changing event.”

“why haven’t you spoken to anyone?” my bearded psychologist asks me and I realize he has a very handsome face, a man in his early fifties, his wife and 2 kids sit in a picture frame behind him.

“well, because in the  beginning I wrote, everyday, always. I wrote how I was feeling and the hell I was going through, I would cry while I wrote it, and cry when I reread it. It sounds crazy, but it helped.” I stop abruptly, I wonder to myself if your supposed to say the word crazy while your sitting in front of a psychologist. I wait and watch his face, no flinching at the c- word so I continue.

“The thing is I had to get better as soon as possible. I had to get back to my family, I had to concentrate on getting out of the hospital”

“and now?”

“now it’s different. I’m back. But there is only half of me..and I cannot accept it.I cannot accept the curious stares. and it’s worse now after my last hospital stay. In the hospital everyone was like me. Everyone could understand what it meant to lose a part of yourself, a physical moving functioning part of yourself. We were all in the same boat, some younger, some older, all of us mending our emotional wounds and praying for miracles for the physical ones. Now I’m here and no one can understand what I am going through. Only those who have lived such a huge sufferance can understand. No one else.” I pause and then looking straight into the eyes of the man I met only 30 minutes ago and I continue

“…and quite frankly I’m not sure you can either.” I am being brutally honest.

My new Doctor doesn’t miss a beat, he adjusts his big frame in his leather chair and says in a very kind voice, 

“You are absolutely right, I can not. But what I can do is give you the tools you need to get through this. To accept this.”

These last words make my skin burn and I realize I am probably in the wrong place.

There will never be a time when I will accept this. Ever.

I can’t because this is unacceptable. This is exactly what should not happen to a young healthy person in the best shape of their life. I have nothing left to say. I feel like my hour here has been a waste. I write a check , say my goodbyes and make my way out the heavy door that separates me,

 from every single healthy walking person everywhere.

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