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The Chair

The Chair

(Floss sits in the chair across from her therapist Max. Max is dressed in casual formality. They are a few minutes into the session. Floss’ posture is tense but not uncomfortable. )

Floss
On the fourth, fifth question it says something like ‘I feel fatigued’. And like I wanna clarify that I’m not always fatigued but when I am fatigued I don't want to leave my bed and I’m so tired words don't make sense. But I’m not always fatigued. Like sometimes when I’m thinking a lot I just start running because it makes me think clearer. If that makes any sense.

Therapist Max
That makes perfect sense. I’ll just note that on the questionnaire. When you do happen to be tired how tired would you say you are?

Floss
Four point five?

Therapist Max
Can you round that up or down for me?

Floss
Five.

Therapist Max
Thank you, Floss. So I see you’ve put down in your form that one of the objectives you want to achieve from therapy is to better communication skills and people skills. (double check forms) You’ve put air quotations around “people skills”. Would you like to elaborate on that?

Floss
You mean on the air quotations?

Therapist Max
(Has kind of smile that could substitute a chuckle) Well, a bit more than just the air quotations. Would you mind explaining what “people skills” (gestures the word with air quotations) means to you?

Floss
People skills are like, just being able to be like… I mean…

(She pauses, wrings her arms together in a childlike frustration. Then, her whole body moves as the words are about to come out of her mouth, but before they can they deflate on her tongue.)

So like, when you... no, I mean like when other people, when...

(She stops again.)

Therapist Max
Just say whatever you need to say. It doesn't matter if it-

Floss

So the thing is, I’m not actually on another planet. I know people describe me like that. I don't feel like I’m on another planet, but I feel like I perceive a different reality than other people. Like, I’m a foreigner who understands the language but doesn’t understand the cultural contexts or the slangs of the language so I can only connect to people in superficial, ‘Where is the bathroom?’, ‘How do you get to here?’ ways. I can never actually tell how people feel, or what they think, because what people say isn't what they mean. But I feel things. I feel a lot. I feel too much.

(She mumbles) I don’t think I’m good at prioritising things. I don’t know what’s important, even in my essays. My feedback is that I struggle with connecting my facts to the bigger picture. Like I can’t grasp to the point. Like if you gave me Little Red Riding Hood, the thing I would notice is the colour of the flowers she picked up from the forest, not the colour of her hood. I don’t understand what is going on, but I feel before I understand.

It’s weird because mom feels nothing. My mom I mean. I mean like I’m supposed to talk about my parents right? Freud and all? Well not that she feels nothing, she experiences feeling in a different way. In the way that everything is slightly muted, like the colour you should see when you look at the sunrise, she would see it as a soft yellow glow of soft sunlight on skin instead of a huge glorious blaze of red and yellow. If that makes any sense. Wait that doesn’t make sense. Like instagram filters, she’s really Aden and I’m saturated.

I struggle doing normal people things. Like, I still don’t understand why people close doors when you have to open them again. Why do you need to make your bed as well? Also personal space. I’m really trying to get on with that. I’m not good at personal space. That’s why every time I talk to someone I ask them ‘What are your personal boundaries?’ but people just look at me strange. Or they’re like ‘Floss this isn’t something you ask, this is something you just figure out.’ Also I’m really really bad at putting things back into the kitchen. I know. It's something a five year old can do, but how do you explain to other people that you’re a full grown woman that struggles with these things?

(She grinds to a halt, exasperated. The room is quiet for a brief moment.)

Therapist Max
Do you mind if I ask you an unrelated question Floss?

Floss
I guess?

Therapist Max
Do you walk with your toes or your heel?

Floss
(Pauses to think) My toes?

Therapist Max
Have you considered testing for autism?

A red chair in the middle of a road

Pernela Chea is a 20 year old Law student currently studying at the University of Kent. Simultaneously suffering and fluorishing from ADHD, her greatest tools are Written Kitten and anything to help her avoid rampant procrastination. Her writing is mostly character focused with a side order of poetry every now and then with a liberal sprinkling of romance because she is a twenty year old girl and that's to be expected. Her favorite things are writing anything non-academic, mac & cheese and tangents. She is stressed and depressed but doing her best.

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If This Is It

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