Warning: mental health issues, intrusive thoughts, self-harm, homophobia. Be careful!
"I think I like a guy," he murmured.
The psychologist looked at him confused for a second before smiling at him.
"Do you like a guy?"
"I don't know, maybe."
"Is he one of the guys you met for casual sex?" he asked carefully.
"No," he shook his head. It made him nervous that his first thought was that. He could only feel disgust with them; he would never fall in love with a stranger he had had sex with in the car. "Nothing sexual happened between us. I don't even think he wants to have sex with me."
In fact, Bastian didn’t seem interested in sex, not as much as most of the guys he met, at least. Maybe the problem was the people he was meeting with.
They're not the problem, the fact is that Bastian doesn't find you attractive. He pushed the thought away, shaking his head, and shouted stop! in his own head. Juls looked at him, surely noticing the repetitive gesture, but he said nothing about it.
"Would you like to tell me a bit about this guy and your feelings? Do you think it's just sexual attraction or maybe also romantic?"
He took a big breath before answering. "At first it was sexual attraction, nothing more. He works as a waiter, in a pub I often spend the evening with my friends. His name is Bastian. He's cute, but at first he was just that -- cute and attractive." I jerked off thinking about him being dead and covered in blood. "Then... something changed. We talked a few times and ... maybe there's something romantic about the attraction I feel now. I definitely don't want to only have sex with him anymore."
Suddenly, he felt tired. He wanted to go home.
"Has it been long since the last time you had these feelings for someone?"
The question made him uncomfortable and he recomposed himself on his chair.
"I feel romantic attraction sometimes, but ... it's never something I really want to explore. Because I genuinely don't care about having a relationship, usually. I prefer ... a one-night stand."
It was a choice, just a choice. He was not incapable of love, he just didn't feel like it, he didn't care. Sex was just easier for him.
Nobody wants to love you. Nobody wants to love you. Nobody wants to love you.
"Do you think there's a reason why you're never interested in building a relationship with a person?"
"Well ... I'm not the therapist here," he commented.
The man smiled, maybe finding his words funny. He wrote something in his notebook. What did he write? Ask him!
"You could reflect on that for a moment, if you’d like. Or keep telling me about that guy, if you prefer. I don't want to force any discussion, I can see you are a bit uncomfortable."
He stayed silent for a minute or so. He didn't want to think about it too much. It was simple: loving someone scared him. It was not easy to identify a single reason why it was scary to him. There were too many.
Nobody wants to love you!
He shook his head again. He raised his hand to hit himself on the head, but ended up moving a strand of hair behind his ear. He adjusted the strand of hair four more times, until he no longer felt the need to punch himself and placed his hand back on his legs. He sighed, refusing to look up at the therapist. He didn’t want to see his eyes judging him or full of pity.
"I guess I'm a little afraid of emotional bonds. Or hurting the other person. Or them hurting me. There are so many stuff that that can go wrong when you love someone."
They could wake up one morning drunk and put a gun to your forehead!
Stop, stop, stop!
"You told me some time ago about your first, and I think last, relationship. With that schoolmate of yours, right?"
"Thomas...," he nodded. "It wasn't that serious."
"But it had been a bad experience."
"For him more than for me", he smiled softly.
Juls noted something down. "Your father was very angry and wanted to send you to conversion therapy when he found out you had a boyfriend. He shouted homophobic insults at you. Do I remember wrong?"
"My father was a jerk, but I didn't care what he thought about me. What happened to Thomas - that was worse. My father told his parents, and the next day at school he was full of bruises and his arm was broken. I think they beaten him, or I don't know, he never spoke to me again."
"And after that you never wanted relations again?"
For a moment, his mind suddenly went blank. He had to massage his forehead with one hand to focus on the question he had just received.
"Yes," he answered hesitantly after a few seconds, "but not just because of what happened. At first maybe, but then ... I just realized it was better that I didn't have any relationship."
"Because I'm crazy!" he replied, raising his tone, almost as if it was obvious. "Because I cut myself, because I tried to kill myself twice, I take medications, I have lots of scars. No one would want a person like me. My friends like me because they don't know what I hear in my head and what I do when I am alone at home. In a relationship I'm supposed to show myself in all my fragility and ... it scares me."
The man looked at him worried.
"Ohw," he commented in response. "You're not crazy, Revie. You know that's not a word we use here."
Unstable? Mental? Neurodivergent? Sick? What fucking word should I use?
He said nothing, afraid of the words that might come out of his mouth.
"Does it also scare you to get emotionally close to this guy?" the therapist then asked, breaking the silence.
"Less than usual. Bastian is ... different than the others."
"Umh. A few weeks ago..." I found out that he tried to kill himself. Maybe he would understand me? Maybe he knows what it feels like? "We talked, very frankly, about some stuff. And he didn't judge me. And I did not judge him. We were just two guys who could understand each other."
Juls nodded, and took notes in silence. Are you writing that I'm crazy?
"I'm glad you met this person. And I think it's brave that you are considering exploring a relationship. We both know that you have many traumatic events behind you, you got abused and neglected by people you trusted, such as your parents and ... your first therapist. And the separation and the grief that you had to go through.... These are all traumas that impact the way you experience and manage your relationships."
"Yeah," he whispered.
"How does your mind react when you're with him? Do you feel calmer or do you feel more anxiety, more thoughts, more hallucinations, paranoia?"
"No, I think I feel pretty calm around him. For now."
"I'm very glad, Asa."
Fuck him. He's not glad, he doesn't care about you. He only says that because you pay him to tell you. You are the worst patient he could have. A flash appeared in his mind, a thought of himself getting up, taking a pencil from the pen holder on his desk, and stabbing his own therapist. Into his eyes. Again and again and again.
Bloodstains splattered on the desk. He saw the same thought repeated three times in his own head. He stood up. The pencil in his eyes. The blood splattering. Again and again and again.
He shook his head. He adjusted his hair behind his ears. Shake your head! Punch yourself, asshole!
"Thoughts," he sighed. His voice came out trembling, almost sobbing. "I'm having thoughts right now. I feel a very strong need to hit myself."
"I’d prefer if you could not hit yourself."
"I know. I know." I know, I know, I know.
"Would you like to tell me what kind of thoughts are you having?"
"Very ... violent." He blew out a breath, clenching his fists. "It's my mother's birthday in a few days," he suddenly changed the subject. "I know I shouldn't think about it, but every year I always end up noticing the date is coming, days before and ... I think about it."
"I think that explains why you're more upset than usual. Right?"
He nodded. He hid his face behind one hand. Don't cry, he said to himself.
"Why don't you spend that day with the guy you like? Maybe he could stay close to you. Or you could meet your uncle."
He slowly moved on his chair, breathing deeply. "I'll try not to spend the day alone. Thank you."
"If you need support, you can call me during my working hours. If you feel you are in danger, or you are afraid of hurting yourself, you know you can call the emergency number. Or your uncle."
"And spend a few days in a mental hospital?", he smiled bitterly.
"Sometimes we need a break. It's not something to be ashamed of."
"There will be no need for that, Mr. Laurent."
"I hope so, Asa. As I said before, I'm a little worried about you. But I don't want to be too alarmed; this is a delicate week for you because it coincides with a traumatic event from your past. I am sure you will be better in a few days. You are an intelligent boy and very aware of your situation and symptoms." Am I?
The man casually checked the time on his watch. "Our session ends in a few minutes. Do you want to add anything or shall I leave you our next appointment?"
He looked up, blinking a couple of times. "May I read what you wrote on the notebook, please?"
"No, you may not." He paused, observing whether Revie needed to say more, but the guy shifted his gaze to the window, looking at the trees outside. "Next Friday, same time?"
"That’s’ fine," he replied. He took the little paper with the date and time written on it from the man’s hand and hid it in the pocket of his coat.
The therapist accompanied him to the door, opening it for him.
"See you next time, Revie."