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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1900565
Phoenix goes to the coffee shop to study and finds his concentration suffering...
The antipsychotic had given Phoenix so much.  It had given him stability, reality, and, as he was discovering, concentration abilities.  Phoenix had to go to the coffee shop because he found himself to be so distracted at home that he could not study.  He was hoping that he would be able to concentrate better if he was away from all of the other things he wanted to do besides study.  Not so, he decided when he got to the coffee shop.  The barista was working hard behind the counter on a drive-thru order.  Phoenix was thinking how badly he wanted to go to church when he noticed the pentagram hanging around the barista's neck.  Wiccan.  He had somehow known that about her from his previous dealings with her.  It did not bother him.  He found it interesting that people were so diverse.  Behind him, he picked up on a conversation about some New Age concepts dealing with colors between two eccentrically dressed women.  Consciousness was the next topic they began to discuss.  Phoenix ordered and received his coffee.  He sat down in his customary spot - the handicap table - and began to type on his computer.  As he listened to his environment, he was calm, but not focused.  He was lost in thought about everything but his studies.  He did not feel stressed because he was writing.  Something about writing took the fear out of Phoenix.  Perhaps it was that he could express himself.  Maybe it was because he was accomplishing something.  Or it could have been a matter of documenting a moment in time that would never occur again.  He listened to the music playing overhead, the sound of the coffee grinders and the steamers, the laughter and conversation of the two women at the table a few feet away.  Once in a while, the alarm at the door would go off because someone's metal tag had not been deactivated on their newly-bought product.

Phoenix did not even know if what he was experiencing was entirely real because he was not on his medication that made it all real.  He was not confused, but instead curious.  He wanted to do things, but he did not know what.  Study?  That was not one of the things that had crossed his mind, but he would have to begin doing it soon if he wanted to have a reasonable chance of doing well on his social psych exam.  He had a day and a half to get it together.  Actually, he had less time than that because of his other commitments.  Phoenix just wanted to get to his ECT treatment on Wednesday.  That was all he wanted.  He wanted it now.  Not that he enjoyed the headache and the fasting and the IV's, but he did enjoy the effects of the ECT very much.  His favorite part of the entire procedure was going under anesthesia.  He always looked at his doctor and he was always the last thing that Phoenix saw as he was going under.  Phoenix always woke up feeling the pains and ill effects of the procedure, but he also had a lack of feeling - a lack of depression, a lack of suicidal ideation, and a lack of insanity.  Phoenix wanted to be well.  He wanted those good feelings to last more than the two weeks that they did before he began feeling like he had to shoot himself again.  Phoenix wanted to feel good enough that he could go to church.  He knew there was still a lot of work to be done with that, but he was willing to go through the pain.  Phoenix wanted to get better.

Phoenix began to feel the depression as he sat at the coffee shop.  He did not know why.  He thought about the possibilities of what could be causing it environmentally.  The difficulty was that it could be environmental or it could be purely endogenous (internal).  It always seemed to be a combination of the two.  Something environmental may trigger it, but his chemical environment inside his body never worked to fight it off.  Phoenix was stuck.  He did not want to feel this way.  He never wanted to feel this way and never wanted anyone else to feel the way he did.  That was why Phoenix wanted to become a doctor, a psychiatrist.  He wanted to help people feel better, to get better, and to stay better.  The struggle Phoenix was having with himself was an excruciating pain of proportions he could never fully describe in words to anyone.  Others who had not experienced Major Depression and PTSD could not understand how he felt.  He had given up trying to make them understand, too.  It was a hard process, this healing business.  Phoenix had to keep his mouth shut about it concerning most people.  When people genuinely wanted to know, he was limited by language in his explanation, not that he wanted to harm them by allowing them to actually feel what he felt.  Phoenix just kept typing away at his computer.  He hoped that it would lift his spirits.  His Spirit.  That Spirit of God within him.  Where was it?  He had to believe that He was there.  Phoenix was always inspired, even when he did not feel like doing anything.  He was inspired by God and the presence of God was strong in him.  Phoenix was inspired and he knew that.  He had a mission.  There were many times that he felt he should end it, just end his life, but he had made a promise to his doctor that he would never do that.  His doctor was a man clearly put in his life by God Himself for the purpose of not only keeping Phoenix alive, but helping him find himself in God's plans.  Phoenix had begun to believe that he had a purpose, even if he did not know yet what it was, and may never figure it out.  Phoenix had begun to believe again...
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