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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1902728
Phoenix's psychiatrist assigns him a book to read, a book that will change his life...
Phoenix was not a concentration camp survivor, but he was a survivor of war and of sexual abuse.  Why bring this up?  Well, his psychiatrist told him at the end of his latest session, "I have a book for you to read..." and scribbled the name of the book and the author on a sheet of yellow legal paper for him.  The scribbles read, "Man's Search For Meaning.  Viktor Frankl."  Phoenix' psychiatrist explained briefly who Viktor Frankl was.  He was a Viennese psychiatrist who was in the concentration camp at Auschwitz during WWII and survived.  Phoenix went and bought the book after his session with the doctor.  He was afraid to read it at first, for some unknown reason.  Later, Phoenix realized that it was because he did not think that his own struggles were worthy of mention in comparison to a Nazi concentration camp.  Phoenix did start on the book, though.

Phoenix started on the book a couple of pages at a time.  After doing this two or three times, he decided he was interested in the book because of a comment that the author had made regarding reactions.  The comment was something to the effect of abnormal reactions to abnormal situations being normal.  Phoenix could definitely identify with that.  Once Phoenix got to reading the book, he could not put it down.  It was not a long book, but he found it to be plenty dense enough to suit him psychologically.  Phoenix knew he was meant to read this book.  It spoke to his soul and brought many of his own issues to the surface.  His psychiatrist knew it would, Phoenix thought.  Now he had to deal with them.  Phoenix did not mind being honest with himself.  He had gotten used to it with his doctor.  He would need his doctor's help for some of these issues, though, and Phoenix was actually looking forward to working on these things with his doctor.  Meaning.  The search for it and the necessity of it in our lives, Phoenix thought, was key.  Phoenix then realized that his suicidal ideation problem was tied directly to that.  He had lost hope for meaning to his life.  He had lost the necessity of his life among others.  He did not feel needed, that his life had meaning.  And he was wrong.
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