Lou lay comfortably on the couch it was big and cushy with brown leather. Her body was as comfortable as if she were in her own bed. It was her mind that was a mess. Generally, Lou had the mirage of a tough exterior. It was one reason she’d shortened her name Lois to the masculine and harsh sounding Lou. At least that is what her mother said. Constantly she commented on her daughter’s choice of nickname “Lou sounds so abrupt and manly” she chided. “What’s wrong with Lois? It’s such a pretty name”.
“I don’t know I just like Lou,” came the reply.
“Lou? Lou? Are you ready?”
Suddenly Lou’s attention jerked back to the present moment “yeah, Melody,” She answered “We start at 99?”
“and visualize” Melody added.
“Right ok. 99 bottles of beer on the wall 99 bottles of beer …” Lou began to focus on loosening her eye muscles as she sang. She scrunched them even tighter and more guarded than they already were then slowly released trying to let the tension float away with it. As she sang, she visualized green, chunky beer bottles being taken down from the rickety wooden barn wall. During the “pass it around” section of each verse, however, she could only see her dad drinking each one in its entirety.
Her mind wandered further off the task at hand. Why the barn wall? I haven’t even lived in that place in over 20 years. She began to remember having the same visualization when she sang the song as a young girl. I know dad drank a lot when I was a young girl. Is this some kind of biographical incident? But why the barn…
“Remember when you feel your mind wandering just come back to the present moment, Lou.”
“Um, I forgot what number?”
“Just begin at the last number you remember singing mindfully.”
Lou started again “77 bottles of beer on the wall …” It’s good to have support of Melody on this activity. She certainly living up to her name she thought with a chuckle. Who’d have ever thought I’d be lying here singing in the middle of therapy.
Melody had been seeing Lou for just under five years. She was an eclectic therapist who specialized in modern holistic methods. At first Lou had trouble showing her vulnerability in therapy but Melody in her 60’s always quiet, never judgmental put Lou more at ease with every session. She had to admit, however, that this lying down and singing a beer song was pushing her vulnerability button. She wished her wife could see this session and offer support but Court, who worked who worked third shift, was snoring in bed. Her biggest concern at the present moment was not being awakened. Finally, the melodic rhythm began to overtake Lou. She fell into a sort of relaxed pattern. She began to feel at home. She even felt the presence of her pets around her and reached as if to stroke them.
Just as she began to feel her eyes relax, there was a knock on her brain. At first she thought it was just her imagination but in a few moments, Melody opened the door and the demure Dr. Yogurt walked in talking about benzos, a certain class of anxiety drugs. Lou’s mind turned deeper inward. I wished I like yogurt. I know it’s really healthy and good for you and it seems like something I would like. I mean I love fruit and cream … yeah sweet cream. What’s not to like? It’s appealing at first till you take a bite then it has that horrible aftertaste. It’s kind of like the psych meds. They all seem to help at first and then after several doses the “aftertaste” kicks in and the side effects become intolerable and I inform Dr. Yogurt who would come up with another solution. He was very patient with me and I am lucky to have such good mental health care from both sides.
“and remember you can always take a half a Klonopin until you get your refill” Dr. Yogurt’s voice trailed off.
“Well, Melody, I don’t think 1000 beers would relax me now” Lou snickered.
She rolled over to see Melody’s golden clock she could never read. As she rolled, she slid and almost fell off her sleeping surface. She looked at the red digital clock and noted 6:45. Well that means its 6:15. “Mugsy! Get your puppy paws out of my back. You’re going to wake up mommy.” She slid off the bed to avoid waking up Court who was snoring lightly on Lou’s side of the bed. I guess I should have realized that singing was a bit extreme even for Melody. One thing I can say about psychosis, it sure is entertaining. She walked out to the front room where her beagle had strewn trash all over the room. Sighing thinking reality is not all it is cracked up to be.