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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1886337
Phoenix waits for his doctor to call while thinking about his mental disorder...
How was it that Phoenix was even alive?  How did he survive the combat zone in the Middle East being a machine gunner for the military?  How did this lifelong plague called PTSD descend upon him, along with the Depression that he constantly battled?  And what about being a civilian?  Phoenix had given up on trying to transition back to the civilian world years ago.  He was a warrior, once and always, for sure.  He could not relate to the everyday concerns of people any longer.  Phoenix was numb to such things.  People treated him strangely for it, too.  Phoenix was alert enough to care somewhat what they thought, but it only made him angry.  It seemed that anger was the only emotion he knew and could express.  With his doctor, though, Phoenix could express much more.  He needed to tell his doctor the truth of a matter and was waiting for him to call when he heard his phone beep that dreaded beep that it does when you have missed a call and it has gone to voice mail.

Phoenix's phone had bad reception in his basement apartment, so he ended up getting a voice mail from his doctor with a number to call him back at.  Phoenix went out to his truck for a better signal and some privacy.  He called the number and immediately, his doctor answered with, "Phoenix, you wanted to talk to me?"  Phoenix thought he must have Phoenix on speed dial on his office phone with a response like that.  Of course, his doctor had to manage so many situations with Phoenix that it would be to his doctor's benefit not to have to look Phoenix's number up all the time.  Phoenix explained that he had not been honest with him about his access to firearms.  "Did you buy a firearm, Phoenix?"  Phoenix had not bought a firearm.  "You have access to your spouse's?"  That was what Phoenix was trying to tell him.  "Where does your spouse keep them?"  In the bedroom.  "Are they locked up?"  No.  "They need to be locked up, Phoenix.  Trigger locks if nothing else."  Phoenix told his doctor that he managed to stay out of the hospital and the Crisis Center all weekend, but that this had been bothering him.  "Well, you've done remarkably well considering you've had access to guns and haven't used them."  Phoenix reminded his doctor of the promise he made to him and told him he did not want to hurt him.  "Phoenix, I think you have a lot to offer the world.  I worry about you relying on just me, though, because if something happens to me, then I worry about what happens to you."  Phoenix explained that he interpreted his promise to mean that he would not harm himself whether his doctor was around or not, or whether he was mad at his doctor or not...  "Especially if you're mad at me."  Right.  "Well, you need to do forgiveness.  You come to your appointment this week and we'll work on it.  And tell your spouse I said the guns have to be locked up."  Phoenix hung up with his doctor.

Phoenix went back inside and thought about the conversation he had just had with his doctor.  His doctor believed in him - believed that he could do something useful in the world and change the world for the better.  Did Phoenix himself even believe that?  Sometimes.  More often since he had been undergoing monthly ECT treatments.  The ECT treatments really had helped Phoenix.  He was getting better.  Less suicidal.  He still had suicide feelings, but felt less and less like acting on them unless some strange, intense, and unforeseen crisis arose out of nowhere, which occasionally happened to Phoenix.  That was the story of his life, it seemed.  The point, though, was that Phoenix had not lost his doctor and his doctor believed in him and wanted to help him.  Phoenix felt good about that.  He felt calm and at peace with it, so much so, in fact, that he wondered what to do with himself being in such a, dare he say, "good mood".
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