Friday, January 28, 2011

Reflections and Baby

“I don’t know what to do. This is my first baby shower!”

Molly had called me in a blind panic. Anna had invited her to the baby shower and Molly was touched, but then realized she had absolutely NO idea what to bring since her and Anna are still friendly acquaintances.

“I was going to buy one of those weird diaper cake things-”

“Ew. Cake should never be made out of anything but delicious cake. Now I’m going to think of baby poop receptacles the next time I eat it.”

“Pregnancy is just weird. Anna posted a video of her on Facebook the other day and you can see the baby moving from the outside of her stomach. I gagged.”

Molly laughed. We decided to go in on a diaper cake a few gender-neutral baby outfits, since Anna and Theo have chosen not to know the sex of their baby until it’s born. I’m pretty sure Zoey got a bunch of work friends together and they are going to go in on a food service thing so Anna doesn’t have to worry about cooking for the first two weeks of being a new mom. It’s a pretty cool service. They deliver bulk food items that you freeze and then just pop into the oven but it’s all homemade and healthy. Zoey showed me the brochure, it’s not a done deal but she’s pretty confident enough people will want to help Anna out, especially considering her miscarriage almost a year ago.

“We should get together with Zoey and Anna some time; have a girl’s night before Anna is busy with her new baby.”

“We should.” I said, “I’ll try to schedule something at Anna’s shower when the three of us are there. It seems like we haven’t gotten together FOREVER.”

“Well, you’ve had a lot going on. I don’t think anyone blames you. How’s everything with Sean? Zoey mentioned you were kind of having some problems.”

“Well, we got into a pretty big fight but I’ve started seeing a therapist and Sean is making an effort to be a better listener and communicator so we’re doing pretty good considering everything that’s happened over the past two months. He’s going on tour in March.”


“For nine months.”

“Ouch. Are you okay?”

“Not really. I never thought about him going on tour. It’s been sort of surreal to think about. I mean when we first got together he was on tour but it wasn’t a big deal because we were just messing around and would only get together when he was in town. Now that we are in a committed relationship it’s kind of scary.”

“I bet. Are you worried about him flirting with other girls?”

“Not really. I feel really secure in my relationship in that regard. I trust Sean completely when it comes to other women. I mean, when he told me that Elise tried to have sex with him I was just pissed at her, not him. He told me immediately after it happened so I guess that counts for something.”

“Wow. I think my biggest problem is not trusting my boyfriends like that. I know I should but I can’t help being so suspicious.”

“I think it depends on the guy. Sean has never given me a reason not to trust him.”

“I just end up dating creeps.”

“I’ve had plenty of those.”

“Do you think you’ve found the person you want to be with forever?” Molly asked half-joking.

“I’m not sure. We’ve had a lot of problems but we’ve been able to work through them. Who knows at this point?”

Molly had to go to a rehearsal so we said goodbye shortly after that conversation. It got me thinking about my relationship with Sean. I’ve never felt so comfortable with someone before but at the same time, he has some pretty serious issues with his anger and not wanting to talk about certain things. I’m not sure Sean is really as comfortable with me as I am with him. Maybe we’ll get to a point where we’ll want to make this more permanent but I’m not sure how soon or far away that moment may be. It’s been a long road, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Man Rage

I got a phone call from my brother the other day and it wasn’t a happy one. I haven’t heard from him since Christmas because his e-mails have been limited with the whole Wikileaks thing happening so he can’t really e-mail us that much. One thing was clear though, after our conversation: my brother has some serious anger problems. He’s kind of always had anger problems since puberty but they’re escalating and only getting worse. Part of me wondered if Shannon was going to be able to help him with that, but apparently not.

I was surprised that he called me and once we got some small talk out of the way he got into the reason for the phone call.

“Shannon’s pissing me off.”


“She keeps asking me what I’m going to do when I get back after my summer job is done and I don’t want to think about it right now.”

“Well, that’s understandable. Why is she being so insistent?”

“I don’t know but I don’t see the point in making a decision right now because she’s still waiting to hear back from a bunch of places at the end of March. But she keeps sending me applications and audition info. Not only that, but she’s irritated because she has to wait to hear back from all these people for a long time and it’s just annoying.”

I don’t think I’ve ever explained what my brother does when he isn’t in Afghanistan. My brother is an actor and a certified stunt man and Shannon is getting her master’s degree in theatre directing. They met while my brother was in his undergrad, he was cast in a show she was directing and they became friends and shortly before he left for Afghanistan they began dating. Currently, this is my brother’s second longest relationship and it will probably become his longest if they make it a few more months. The applications Shannon is applying for are for a ton of different jobs all over the place.

“So, you don’t want to apply to anything until after Shannon makes a decision on where she’s going to go?”

“Not necessarily. I just don’t want to go to Nepal.”

“I’m sorry?”

“She applied for something in Nepal and I told her I wouldn’t go to Nepal with her and now she’s pissed.”

“Why is she mad? Did she think you actually would go to Nepal?”

“I told her I would move with her and I guess she took it to mean I would move anywhere.”

“So why are you mad that she’s sending you applications and stuff?”

“Because I told her not to and now I’m interested in all of them.”

“I’m really confused. Do you want me to tell Shannon to back off or what do you want me to do? You have a summer job lined up teaching at that summer camp, so I don’t know why Shannon wants you to look for more work. Can’t you just wait until you’re not in a combat zone full time?”

“NO! The deadlines will have passed by then.”

“But you can go on auditions over the summer while teaching. I don’t know why Shannon’s being so pushy about having another job lined up after the teaching one, especially when it’s unclear if she’ll even be around. This is how theatre works, both of you know that. There’s no such thing as a full-time acting job. Why is she demanding that you have everything planned out until next year?”

“Shannon isn’t demanding anything, Faith!”

“Can you calm down please? There’s no need to yell. I don’t know what you want me to do. Do you want me to call her and ask her to back off?”

“Yeah, you know what, I would love for you to call her because Shannon thinks you and mom and dad hate her, so yeah it would be great if you would call her.”

“I don’t want to call her, Justin. I don’t think it’s necessary that I like her, either. What do you want me to do? Hop on a plane just to have coffee with her? She lives like 1,000 miles away from here.”

Then he started yelling and angrily sighing and saying things that didn’t make sense. Eventually he got to this whole moving away from our parents thing:

“Yeah well when I get back I’m going to live in my apartment for a month until my lease is up and then I’m leaving and never coming back.”


“I’m going to move to somewhere where they won’t visit me.”

“Well, with this attitude I don’t see why they would want to.”

“Shut up Faith, you don’t get it.”

I rolled my eyes, “I’m SO over your teenage angst of hating your family.”

He started yelling about things that didn’t make sense and reminded me of an angsty teenager. It was like a wave of incoherent angry thoughts that I just tuned out. His phone connection cut out shortly thereafter and to be honest, I have absolutely NO idea what he’s upset about. I don’t know how much of it is Shannon or just being bored overseas because all he does is work, eta, and sleep, I don’t know if something else is bothering him. All I know is that he’s a very angry person and I’m getting sick and tired of it. I really don’t deserve to be yelled at on the phone all the time for asking even the simplest of questions and neither do my parents.

I just don’t know what his deal is. Part of me wonders if this anti-family view he has is because in high school it was the “in” thing to hate your family amongst his group of friends. I’m starting to think that after awhile he just started to believe the act he was peddling even though it was based on nothing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Closer

Things with Sean have been going really well and I’ve been to see Dr. Sheehan several times since our first meeting. Right now, I got to see her two times a week and I’m not sure I’ll really post what we talk about. I mean, most of you who read this blog have already seen everything unfold over the past year and a half, anyway, so it will just be a lot of redundancy. Also, I don’t know that I want to talk about what we discuss in my sessions in general. It’s hard enough to talk about everything and I don’t really have the energy to re-hash it all over again since I usually feel really vulnerable and a little unstable emotionally after our sessions because it’s a lot harder to deal with everything than I thought it would be. At our last session I spent almost the entire time sobbing and trying to recompose myself. Dr. Sheehan said it was a good thing but it didn’t feel very good.

She did suggest something in one of our earlier sessions that I just started doing, though. We got on the topic of Kevin and how he’s been able to control my life even when he’s not in it. He’s the cause of a lot of my relationship issues with Sean, he’s the reason I am the way I am now, he’s the reason I have a hard time trusting Sean, he’s the reason I’m so damn mad. Dr. Sheehan suggested that I frame the contract he signed because it’s a symbol for me breaking the control he had over me for so long. At first, I thought it would just remind me of everything but I hung it in my hallway a few days ago and I think it’s helping.

Sean saw it hanging up yesterday and I knew he wanted to say something about it but was internally debating over whether he should.

“I know it’s bothering you.” I said in a sing-song type voice while we were making lasagna in the kitchen.

“Yeah, it is.” He said shaking his head and smiling a little.

“It was a suggestion by Dr. Sheehan. It’s been helping a little bit.”

“What’s it supposed to do?”

“Remind me that Kevin no longer has control over my life. And never will again.”

“Oh. I guess I can see that.” He said laying down another layer of lasagna sheets.

“I was skeptical at first but it seems to be a good coping tool.”

“Well, that’s all that matters to me, then.” Sean kissed my hair before putting the lasagna in the oven.

We waited for the lasagna to cook after we prepped the garlic bread and sat in my living room. I was sitting on Sean’s lap. Sean is doing really well with being more affectionate since our conversation and I’m really happy about it. Although I’ve noticed that he does get nervous and is reluctant to do more than make out for a few minutes, which I’m okay with for now. I’ve realized in my sessions with Dr. Sheehan that I’m not ready to have sex yet and that I kept seeing having sex as a signal for being completely healed which is why I’ve been trying to rush it. Having sex isn’t the end goal and sign of being completely healed; it’s just a step (albeit a big one) of the healing process. Look at me, being so healthfully aware of my needs and progress! Therapy must be working.

“Are you sure it doesn’t bother you?”

“It does.” He said, “But if it’s something that helps you, maybe it can help me come to terms, too.”

“We’ve been invited to Anna’s baby shower.” I said after a comfortable silence.

“Isn’t that usually a girl's-only thing?” Sean asked with a confused look.

“I thought so, too, but Anna said she doesn’t want Theo to be bored and thought she’d invite you and some of his other friends to keep him company in the basement. They have a big screen TV down there, so it won’t be too bad.”

“Alright.” Sean said shrugging, “What does one usually bring to a baby shower?”

“I’ll get the gift, you can probably just bring a six pack and head down stairs while we try to guess how many toilet paper squares will fit around Anna’s belly.”

“Is that a real game?”

“Yeah, the trick is to guess a smaller number. People tend to overshoot it.”

We decided to go for a walk after dinner around the neighborhood. It was snowing lightly so we stopped and got hot chocolates from a coffee shop to keep us warm as we walked. I really enjoyed it. It felt like we were on a date and spending some great quality time with each other. It’s been ages since I felt as happy as I did last night and I’m hoping things keep getting better and Sean keeps being open with me.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I got to the bar Sean’s band was playing at about 5 minutes before they ended up being done and taking down their instruments. Karen was there and it was the first time I’d ever seen her. You guys…she looks almost exactly like me. Her hair is a little shorter (and platinum blonde) and her nose is kind of different but we could easily be mistaken as twins if our hair colors weren’t practically the opposite of each other (I’m a brunette with natural mahogany highlights thank you very much). She came over to me while I stood next to the bar and watched the band wrap up their set.

“Faith? Hi, I’m Karen. I just wanted to thank you for the lovely gift you sent me over the holidays.”

“Oh, you’re very welcome.” I said shaking her hand, “It’s so nice to meet you, Sean’s mentioned you a lot.”

“Did he tell you about the tour?”

I looked at Karen, startled.

“No. He didn’t.”

“Oh.” Realization came over Karen’s face and she made an excuse to go help Jake put his keyboard in its case before walking away from me. Sean walked over with his guitar case.

“I didn’t know you were coming tonight.”

“Neither did I, really. I just think we need to talk and the sooner the better.”

“Where do you want to go?”

“I think here is fine.” I motioned towards a booth towards the back of the bar.

We sat down and both got glasses of water from the bar before I felt like starting.

“Look, Faith I’m sorry. I-”

“Sean, I need to talk and I need you to listen to me, okay?”


“I mean really listen to me.”


“I can’t be with you if this is how things are going to be. You always say that I think about others too much, well, now I need to think about myself and I can’t be with you if you’re going to punish me for what happened. I won’t be able to get better or come to terms with what happened while you treat me this way and if you can’t come to terms with the damage that Kevin, “Sean flinched at his name, “ has done, then I’m going to need to take a break from being with you because I already feel bad enough and I don’t need you to make me feel worse while I’m trying to deal with this. I have been nothing but supportive of you in this relationship and I’m asking you to do the same for me. If you can’t do that, then we need to end this because I’m exhausted. We do nothing but fight and I really don’t need more negativity in my life, especially from someone I love. I can’t keep fighting with you and feeling guilty about it. I won’t do it anymore. You don’t get to shut down or walk away from me when problems come up because both of us are in this relationship and I feel like I’m the only one who actually works or compromises for it.”

“I’m sorry. I’ve been going through some pretty difficult stuff in therapy and I haven’t been doing a very good job of dealing with it.”

“Do you want to talk to me about it?”


“Is it partly why you’ve been so damn angry for the past few weeks?”

Sean nodded.

“I think you should probably tell Dr. Deerhorn that you need some anger management help.”

He nodded again.

“So can you please stop resenting me for everything?”

“Yes.” Sean held my hands across the table, “Faith, I really am sorry. I should have kept my promise to talk with you more about things that are bothering me and I didn’t. I need to do a better job of listening to you and what your needs are. If you’re ready to try being intimate again I really need to stop thinking about myself in that regard. You’re the one who went through it, not me and I should trust you more, that’s really what it comes down to. Not everything is about me and what I want, we’re in this together.”

“So, when were you going to tell me about the tour?”

“I’m not sure.”

“When is it?”

“We’re leaving in March and we’ll be on the road for about 9 months. I wasn’t sure how to tell you.”

“How long have you known?”

“Only for about a week. We hired Karen at the beginning of January and she got the record label to agree to it, she thinks it’s better for our careers if we tour. We’re getting so much notoriety now, she doesn’t want us to be a local band anymore, and neither does the label. They’re still booking venues and working on the set and lights, I figured I had more time to let you know.”

“Oh.” I was overwhelmed with this information.

“I’ll be able to come back every month or so for a few days. I’m planning on subletting my apartment so I don’t have to lose it…we’ll be okay.” Sean said that last part more for himself than to reassure me, I think.

“So we have about two months to get to a good place before you have to leave?” I asked.


“Well, we better get started, let’s go to my place.”

I got up and grabbed Sean’s hand to pull him outside. We waved at Karen as we left and on the way home, Sean held my hand. I know it probably seems like a juvenile gesture, but I really appreciated it. When we got to my apartment I fed Murphy and my boyfriend, because apparently he was going to die if he didn’t get to eat all of my chocolate chip cookies. We caught a late-night movie to watch on cable and snuggled under a blanket on the couch. I was leaning up against him on the verge of sleep when he unknowingly snapped me out of it.

“I love you.” He kissed me on the forehead.

“You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that.” I said snuggling into his side even more.

(Author’s Note: this is the blog’s 150th Faith-related post!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


As soon as I got back to my apartment I had three missed calls from Sean and one voicemail:

“Look, I’m sorry. I was just mad. Call me back; I’m sorry about how I reacted.”

I was still wiping tears from my eyes and might have yelled back at my phone after listening to his voicemail when I realized I had a call waiting.


“Hey Faith!”

“Hi Anna.” I said trying to hide the fact that I was crying.

“My baby shower is coming up and I wanted to know if I should send you and Sean separate invitations.”

“Oh, uh, aren’t baby showers generally ‘no boys allowed’ type of events?”

“Yeah, but I figured if I invited some guys, Theo won’t feel so left out or bored. He’ll at least be able to watch football with Sean in the basement or something.”

“I think if you just send me the invitation for both of us, it’ll be fine.” I said trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible without Anna thinking something was wrong.

“Okay…well I’ll call you later.” Anna’s voice sounded like she knew something was up but, thankfully, she didn’t press it and let me go.

I collapsed onto my bed and continued to cry until Murphy reminded me that he was hungry and needed food immediately. I dragged myself to the kitchen and fed him before realizing I was starving. Rather than cook myself something I wanted greasy comfort food. I kept looking at my phone and decided to call Zoey.

“What’re you up to?” I asked.

“Nothing, I just got back from seeing a movie with Wesley.”


“Why? What’s up.”

“Are you hungry?”

“I could eat.”

“I need to talk to someone. And shove comfort food into my mouth.”

“Okay, well, there’s this diner near my apartment.”


“I’ll come pick you up. You want to have a sleep over?”


I packed an overnight bag, said goodbye to Murphy, and piled into Zoey’s car. We arrived at the diner in about 15 minutes and I ordered a pot roast platter with mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls, a side of French fries, a grilled cheese, and a piece of chocolate pie for dessert. Zoey ordered a French dip and a piece of red velvet cake. She tried to hide her shock at how much food I ordered but was still caught off guard.

“What happened?” She asked once our waitress left.

“I don’t even know anymore. Sean and I do nothing but fight and I don’t know how we got here. I feel like we do nothing but try at this relationship. Maybe we’re just not compatible?”

“What do you mean, you guys were doing really well before.”

“He’s having a hard time dealing with what happened to me that night with Kevin. I think he’s blaming me for it, Zoey. I really opened up to him tonight and he blew me off. We promised to be more communicative but he’s still SO pissed at me for the Gerry and Kevin stuff. I don’t know what to do. I really screwed things up.”

“What do you mean he blew you off?”

“I told him that I wanted to-”

Just then our food came and I waited for the waitress to leave.

“I told him that I wanted to have sex with him and he refused. He told me he didn’t want me to have another panic attack and I-”

“Wait, what?” Zoey said nearly dropping her sandwich.

I realized I hadn’t really told Zoey anything about what happened with Kevin that night or with the lawyers not to mention the whole conversation with Sean that eventually lead to us trying to have sex and my panic attack. I updated her on all of it and by the end I was crying like a baby without regard to anyone else. I’m pretty sure I saw our waitress start waking over to our table, look at me, and then decide to leave about three different times. It was the first time I actually told anyone but the police what Kevin had done to me that night.

“Oh, Faith…”

“B-but I told him that I f-felt like he was punishing me for what Kevin d-did and he just asked if we could w-w-watch the movie, that’s when I left.”

I started shoving inordinate amounts of food into my mouth while Zoey waved the waitress over.

“We’re going to need a platter of cheese fries and two strawberry milkshakes.”

The waitress looked at me before nodding and headed towards the kitchen. I looked at Zoey with thankful eyes and we ate in a comfortable, knowing silence until the waitress came back with our extra food. She cleared away the plates I had basically licked clean and refilled our drinks before we resumed our conversation.

“I just don’t know what to do Zoey. I don’t think Sean loves me anymore and I’m starting to wonder if I love him. I’m so sick of feeling like the bad guy in this relationship!”

“Do you want to be with him, Faith, is this relationship worth how you’re feeling.”

“You know, my dad basically asked me as much.”

“Well? Is it?”

“I honestly don’t know. I’m so frustrated and confused. I feel like if we could just get past all of this we would be great together, but I don’t know if Sean can get past what Kevin did to me.”

“Have you considered couples counseling?” Zoey asked as she dipped her sandwich.

“No. I thought seeing Dr. Sheehan would have been enough, but it’s obviously not.”

“Well, you’ve only had your one session with her, maybe if Sean sees your commitment to healing he’ll also be more open to healing.”

I let that sit for awhile and continued to shove food into my mouth like a starving animal.

“You don’t like him very much, do you, Zoey?” I asked taking a giant bite of dinner roll.

“It’s not that I don’t like him, I don’t like what he’s doing to you. He’s letting the insecurity he feels about your relationship to make you feel bad about everything. I don’t like that he’s doing that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s pretty obvious that Sean is an insecure guy and I think he’s probably wondering if maybe you enjoyed what happened with Kevin. Sean is easily threatened and he overreacts when he’s insecure, I think his current behavior is caused by his insecurity and since he can’t punish Kevin like he wanted to, he’s punishing you for not punishing Kevin the way Sean wanted you to.”

“You should be a psychologist.” I said starting on my pie and milkshake.

“I do what I can. I’d never charge you, if I was, just so you know.”

I giggled at Zoey’s joke.

“Are you going to call him?”

“Not tonight. I think I’ll just go over there and skip the phone call. I’m not really looking forward to it, though. We fight so much that this is a regular occurrence so I know how uncomfortable it’s going to be but I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t need to say anything. He’s the one that needs to apologize. Having sex is going to be part of your healing process, Faith, and if Sean isn’t willing to support you or your needs while you move from being a victim to a survivor then I think you might need to think about going on a break. I mean, you’ve supported him throughout your relationship constantly, the least he could do is support you when you need him the most.”

“You’re right. You’re always right. Zoey: my rock.”

We finished dinner and then went to Zoey’s place where we watched horrible reality television and eventually went to bed at an obscene hour. She dropped me off at work this morning and I feel like I’m a little clearer about how I feel about Sean and our relationship and I’m planning on going to talk to Sean tonight after he gets done with work.

Monday, January 10, 2011


You know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the situation with Sean, especially now that I’m back and I still feel SO conflicted. We’ve seen each other since I got back and things are as normal as they can be considering that we’re trying to re-start our whole relationship and can’t have sex without me freaking out. We were in his kitchen making some popcorn for a movie earlier today and it’s pretty obvious we have some tension happening because of all of this.

“What did you think of your first session?”

“It really wasn’t how I expected it to be.”

“Did you lay down?” Sean asked, jokingly.

“No, do you ever lay down during your sessions?”

“No, I’m afraid I’ll fall asleep.”

“I don’t think I could fall asleep, I felt so nervous the whole time.”

“I think that will eventually pass. It did for me.”

Sean was pouring the popcorn in a bowl on the counter and I had an overwhelming urge to hug him. I hugged him from behind and laid my head against the spot between his shoulders. I don’t really know why I did this.

“You know I love you right?”

“Yeah, of course I do.” He turned around and put one arm around me while holding the bowl with his other hand, “Why?”

“I want to have sex, Sean.”

He eyed the bowl and broke away from me with a joking look on his face.

“Now? The popcorn will get cold.”

“You know what I mean. You haven’t touched me in weeks. I want to feel wanted. I want you to put your hands on me.”

He walked into the living room and I followed.

“What if you have another panic attack?” He asked falling onto the couch and putting his feet up on the coffee table.

“I might not have one.”

“And if you do?”

“Then I guess I have another one!” I said irritated.

Sean started the movie and sat back in an attempt to end our conversation but I was having none of that. I grabbed the remote and paused the movie before turning to him.

“We need to talk about this. We promised to communicate with each other better, so talk to me, please.”

“Fine. I don’t want to be responsible for you having another panic attack. While you were having trouble breathing the last time, I was contemplating calling an ambulance. Did you think about how bad I felt for causing that to happen simply by touching you?”

“Sean, that wasn’t because of you, it was because of what Kev-”

“DON’T say his name. Please.” Sean crossed his arms and looked away.

“We’re going to have to have sex again at some point. Why can’t we at least try it now?”

“You want to have sex? Fine. Let’s go.”

Sean started unzipping his jeans and kicking his shoes off while I stared at him completely pissed off.

“Why is it so much to ask that my boyfriend actually wants to have sex with me? This isn’t the first time you’ve tried to stop us from having sex. Are you even remotely attracted to me?”

“Not right now.” Sean said staring at the ceiling.


We sat there in silence while Sean acted like an angsty teenager and I fumed on the other end of the couch. We were both quiet for a long time.

“I feel like you’re blaming me for what happened and I don’t think it’s fair. I was fighting him, I was trying hard to make him stop, he had me up against a wall, there was nothing I could do. What do you want from me, Sean? I’m sorry I ever dated him, I’m sorry he did this, but please--please stop punishing me for what he did.”

“So can I press play now?”

Tears sprang to my eyes, Sean hadn’t even looked at me.

“Oh my God, Sean. That was the first time I talked to anyone about what happened and how I feel and you choose to ignore all of it? I’m leaving. Watch your movie by yourself, maybe it will help you feel just as lonely as I do right now.”

I got up and left. While I walked out the door I heard Sean start the movie; I was sobbing before it even closed behind me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I got to Dr. Deerhorn’s office and signed in but the secretary she had some bad news.

“Dr. Deerhorn’s daughter went into labor today so he isn’t seeing patients. However, Dr. Sheehan has offered to see his patients today. He left me a note for you to let you know that he actually recommends you see Dr. Sheehan instead of him, but if you’re not comfortable with that, I can reschedule you.”

I decided to meet with Dr. Sheehan since Dr. Deerhorn recommended him so I filled out my preliminary paperwork, turned it in, and waited. The secretary took me back to an office filled with earth tones and a soothing light. It smelled like roses and the chairs were made of soft leather.

“Dr. Sheehan will be here in a moment, please make yourself comfortable.”

The secretary closed the door and I stood in the office awkwardly. There was a chaise lounge among various chairs and I wondered if I was going to be expected to lay down during my session. I decided to sit in a chair instead because laying down just seemed strange. I wonder if Sean lays down during his sessions. Dr. Sheehan came into the room after a few moments and I was surprised because Dr. Sheehan is a woman!

“Faith, welcome. My name is Leslie Sheehan, you can call me by my first name or whatever makes you more comfortable.” She shook my hand as I took in her appearance. She’s a thin, blonde woman and was dressed in black slacks and a plum sweater. She didn’t look like a stereotypical therapist and I was kind of relieved by that.

“Thank you.”

“Dr. Deerhorn updated me on your case. This is your first visit, right?”

“Yes. Is there a reason he recommended you for me?” I asked out of curiosity.

“Well, it says in your paperwork that you’re here because you had a panic attack.”

“Oh, so you focus on anxiety issues?”

“No, Faith, I specialize in sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder.” She cocked her head to the side and studied my reaction.

“O-oh.” I said, shocked, “I wasn’t raped.”


She looked down at my file to see if she had misread Dr. Deerhorn’s notes.

“Would like to see your file?” She asked.

I nodded and she handed it to me. Dr. Deerhorn’s hand writing looks like a toddler’s but I was able to make out “induced panic attack” and “sexually assaulted; triggered”.

“What does triggered mean?” I asked looking up from my file.

“A trigger is something that can cause a symptom of PTSD or an overwhelming emotional response. It can be anything. A smell, a touch, a song.”

“Oh.” I handed the file back to her.

“Do you want to talk about the panic attack you had?”

“I’m not sure if there’s much to say.”

“Well, what did it feel like?”

“Hell.” I wiped my hands on my knees because I was suddenly nervous, “I couldn’t breathe, my boyfriend said I kept apologizing, and I was shaking.”

“Do you know what caused it?”

“You mean what triggered it?” I asked. In hindsight I don’t know why I became so cheeky, I think it was a defense mechanism.

She smiled and might even have laughed too quietly for me to hear, “Sure.”

“My boyfriend…um…we were,” I started turning red and couldn’t finish the sentence. I looked down at my hands which were playing with my shirt at that point.

“I know it seems embarrassing, Faith, but you should know that I won’t judge you here.”

“He tried to take my jeans off and I freaked out.”

“According to your file you weren’t raped.”

“No, I wasn’t. My boyfriend beat the shit out of the guy before he had the chance.”

“Good.” I looked up from my hands, surprised. Dr. Sheehan had a content look on her face and raised her eyebrows at my surprise.

I realized that she specializes in treating sexual assault victims and has probably heard a lot worse than what happened to me. It made me like her more; it can’t be easy to hear women describe their rapes day in and day out.

“It was an ex-boyfriend.” I said, “He was drunk.”

“Which time?”

Our eyes met and I realized she knew more about my assault than I realized. I only glanced at my chart but it was all in there.


“You seemed pretty okay after the first time, right?”

“I didn’t have a panic attack, if that’s what you’re asking.” I got really defensive and sounded like an angry teenager. I’m embarrassed by my behavior in hindsight. I crossed my arms and sat back in the chair.

“What are your goals for therapy, Faith?” Dr. Sheehan showed no signs of annoyance at my behavior.

The question caught me off guard, “What?”

“What do you want to get out of this?”

“I want to communicate my needs better and I want to be able to have sex again without throwing up in a paper bag or sobbing hysterically.”

“And?” I looked at Dr. Sheehan with a confused set of eyes. She set aside my file on an end table and leaned forward with her elbows on her knees.

“How do you feel about what happened to you?”

“Pissed. I’m angry because I finally got Kevin to leave me alone but he’s still controlling my life and causing problems with Sean. I wanted freedom and he took that away from me, so I’m pissed.”

“If you want to do therapy, I can help you feel like you have control over your life again along with the goals you outlined. The thing is your goals aren’t going to come until I help you get your control back.”


We talked about some more logistical things, like how often I’ll see her and how long we think I’ll be in therapy, if I want to try medication (I don’t) and other boring things. I like Dr. Sheehan and I made a personal note to myself to not be so full of ‘tude the next time I visit her.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Well, I’m back! The flight back was kind of hard, if I’m being honest. This trip home reminded me of just how much I miss my family and the security they provide me. I really should make a better effort to see them more often. Christmas was really fun. My brother was able to call us and it just happened to be while we were eating Christmas dinner. My dad put the phones on speaker and it was almost like we were having a normal family dinner with the four of us. My brother is doing well, he’s just bored. It sounds really monotonous but I think the Christmas gifts we sent him will help with that. We sent him a few books and a video game for his DS and of course MOUNTAINS of food. Apparently Shannon (yeah, they’re still together) got him a Kindle to read and sent it to him fully loaded with books and plays for him. You all know how I feel about my brother dating her, it seems everything she does annoys the hell out of me, but I’ll just leave it at that.

My parents loved the gifts Sean and I bought them and Sean sent me a text message thanking me for his gifts and to wish me a Merry Christmas. All of his bandmates also sent me thank you texts, except for Gerry. I was surprised that Karen did, considering I’ve never met her, but it was nice all the same. Sean got me a really nice label maker and a purse I’ve had my eye on for awhile. My parents bought me a Kindle and it is AMAZING. I love it. I love it. I love it.

New Year’s passed fairly smoothly. I didn’t have any plans and it was actually really nice. My mom bought me one of those cheesy New Year’s hats and noisemakers which she used to do when I was in high school. My best friend and I would rent a television series and watch it on New Year’s complete with a party tray and the fancy Welch’s grape juice in the bottles. My mom would even let us drink it out of champagne flutes. We did that until we had a falling out our freshman year of college. But then I met Zoey and we made our own traditions that weren’t nearly as PG. Sean sent me a picture to my phone of him kissing Murphy at midnight since he couldn’t kiss me which made me giggle (Sean graciously offered to take care of Murphy while I was away).

I wish I could say I was a little clearer about how I feel about our relationship but the truth is I’m more confused than ever. We both do things, like what he did with the picture and Murphy for New Year’s that make me think we’re cute and couple-y but then when I think about it even more I wonder if we just do them to go through the motions. I don’t know if there’s any substance to them than just being expected and that bothers me. I know sitting here and moaning about this isn’t going to fix the problem but I’m not sure I’m ready to bring it up to Sean yet. I need to understand how I feel before I even make an attempt to tell him. Maybe Dr. Deerhorn will be able to help me. I’m going to see him tomorrow.