2010-01-19: FB: Delusions Of Truth



Date Set: January 19, 2009


Jamie sees a therapist when her teachers think she's suicidal.

One Year Ago…

"Delusions of Truth"

Sydney's Office, Hope Hearth — NYC

It's been a few weeks for Sydney. She's got a freakishly long client list, and has been working almost non-stop for some time now. Regardless, she's prepared to meet her latest client: a child. She doesn't see many children working at Hope Hearth, but she does see some. Dressed in a grey pant suit and blue blouse, the blonde therapist pads out of her office to speak briefly to the Hope Hearth receptionist of the month — Theresa. "Theresa, when Jamie Clancy comes, can you just send her right in? I'm ready for her, just thought I could get some reading done beforehand…" The receptionist nods, and Sydney pads back to her office, being sure to leave the door open for her new client.

And, just a few minutes later, in walks Jamie Clancy. Dressed in a white hoodie and pants decorated with colourful small graphics, she walks in looking around the room. She shows no signs of anger, fear, sullenness, or anything else that might hint to why she's here. Just curiosity. When her attention turns to Sydney, she gives a bright smile, greeting cheerfully, "Hi."

And the room is shockingly devoid of anything personal. There's a couch (which, really, is shockingly uncomfortable… apparently the centre is underfunded) a black chair (presumably for the therapist herself), and a desk in the corner with an office chair. But there's no photos. No pictures. No real art.

But despite the lack of personal effects, the blonde therapist is warm and stands to her feet as the girl speaks, "Hello! Jamie? Welcome! Please, sit down!" She motions to the couch before sitting on the black chair. "I'm Sydney Falkland. You can call me Sydney if you like… Ms. Falkland makes me sound and feel old…" She grins warmly at this fact.

Jamie steps over to the couch, practically hopping onto it as she smiles again back up to Syndey, "Ok, Sydney. That's a cool name. Isn't that a place too?" She gets comfortable as she settles in sitting and facing Sydney, pulling her feet up underneath her.

"Yeah. It's a city in Australia," Sydney smiles warmly. "I've never been there though, but someday I might. Jamie's a pretty name." Her lips are curled into a warm, toothy grin. "So… what brings you in to see me today… I hear you've been having some… troubles." She attempts to be as tactful as possible.

Jamie wrinkles her nose at that question and says, "My teacher was just being stupid. All I was doing on that roof was getting some space, it was too crowded down in the yard. Didn't have any room to do anything."

And that's the heart of the issue. Sydney's expression turns to concern, "Why were you on the roof? I'm sure there were other places you could've gone, Jamie…" She fiddles with a pen between her fingers as she scribbles a couple of notes on her notepad. "What kinds of things did you need room to do?"

Jamie shakes her head quickly, "I asked, had to stay out in the yard during recess, couldn't go in the gym without a teacher around." Then she answers straightforwardly, "Backflips, cartwheels, jumps, flips… my whole routine! Gotta stay in shape. Soon as Dad figures out how to get everybody back together again, and get all the equipment again, he's gonna get the circus going again."

"Your… your… whole routine?" Sydney attempts to clarify. "Jamie… you're … you were doing cartwheels and the like on the roof?" Her eyes widen somewhat. "Can you see why your teacher was concerned? If I was her, I'd think you weren't happy either." Although Jamie seems happy to the blond therapist, and she can generally read such things.

On the surface, Jamie is definitely happy enough. Underneath the surface, there's scars from past emotional traumas, radiating out and affecting how she thinks, even if she might not be aware of it consciously. She nods quickly to the first question, and then shakes her head to the second. "Nope. It was a flat roof, and I could've climbed down as easy as I climbed up. It wasn't even that high up."

"High up or not, it's dangerous… what if you'd slipped?" Sydney studies the young girl carefully. Furrowed eyebrows and slightly narrowed eyes display her concern — especially considering the strange turmoil Jamie seems to exhibit. "And why couldn't you practice your routine in the yard instead? It just seems like you didn't really need to be up there."

Jamie shakes her head quickly, "I don't slip. Not when there's no ice, and I checked before I started climbing, there wasn't any ice there. There was some snow on the roof, but not enough to worry about. I was safe no matter what." She's convinced of this too, and she almost says something more, but stops, a flash of annoyance. A secret she doesn't want to keep. She shakes her head again to the last question, "No, I tried. I kept bumping into other kids. I think they get in my way on purpose."

Sydney hmms quietly. She believes the girl. In a way it seems like Jamie wouldn't lie, but then, it seems so unusual. Gently she asks, "If you were a teacher and you had a student doing cartwheels and the like on the roof of your school… how do you think you'd react?"

Jamie thinks about that question a moment, but just a moment. She grins and says, "I think it'd be cool! 'Course, most kids would need a ladder to get to the roof, and once they got up easy it'd be really crowded up there too, so don't think anybody'd want to."

Not the answer she was expecting. So Sydney tries again, "Alright. But what if you didn't know that the student could do backflips, cartwheels, and had incredible balance? What would you think then? Would it change your opinion at all?"

Again Jamie thinks about this a few moments, and then she shakes her head a little, "No, I guess I wouldn't. *Then* it might be dangerous." Still convinced that with her, it isn't.

"And so, your teacher, who doesn't know all of your talents and abilities probably thought you were in danger up there, right?" Sydney asks, trying to keep the logic flowing slowly yet steadily. "I realize you are an extraordinary young lady, but sometimes, even with our extraordinary talents we need to do things to help other people from worrying…"
Jamie considers that and then nods slowly, "I gueeess. But he should know I'd be ok! I told him, told the whole class, I used to be a acrobat in a circus. Told them my first day when I came to the school."

"But he doesn't know that you aren't on the roof for a different reason. He hasn't seen your talents in action. He doesn't know." Sydney shrugs a little. "And it's good to practice what you're good at, it's just sometimes… sometimes it's the wrong place and wrong time. School might not be the best place to practice… do you have somewhere you can rehearse outside of school-hours?"

Jamie blinks, and says softly, "Oh. Yeah, I guess. Dad never minds me practicing at home, and I know tons of places I can practice other times. I guess I don't have to practice at school anymore." She's frowning a little, though. Not entirely happy.

Sydney hmmms, "Well maybe I can see if the school can make arrangements to use the gym during lunch or recess?" She smiles hopefully at Jamie. Giving a kid a lifeline is a surefire way to make friends and get some openness. "So… how's everything else going in your life, Jamie? Aside from your practicing, what do you do for fun?"

Jamie brightens immediately at that offer, sitting up a bit straighter, "That'd be fantastic! It's a lot warmer inside, so I wouldn't have to wear a bulky coat and stuff." Then she answers, "I do freerunning. Nobody can catch me when I'm running. Um… I like music and dance and drawing."

"And are you getting to do all of those activities?" Sydney asks with a warm smile. "Or do school and life not have enough time?" She tilts her head at the young girl. "I also hear that you've had a rough year. How are you doing with all of that?" Words like murder aren't supposed to be brought up by therapists.

Jamie hesitates, and says, "No. Haven't been able to do any dancing in a while, really. But there's music class at school! That's fun, even if the music we do is kinda weird sometimes." Then she nods quickly and says, "Yeah, been a weird year, but I'm ok! It's great now that my dad's out of jail. Took them *forever* to let him out!"

"What's weird about the music you do in school?" Sydney asks asks he tilts her head and scribbles a few notes on her notepad before returning the pen to her lips. Yes, it's a terrible habit, but she's a pen-chewer. "And how do you feel about having your dad around again? Are things going well with him?"

Jamie drops her feet back down over the edge of the couch, and says, "Well, you can't dance to that music, and it'd never get customers to come and see. It's like the music they put in movies, but not as good because there isn't a movie going at the same time."

Jamie drops her feet back down over the edge of the couch, and says, "Well, you can't dance to that music, and it'd never get customers to come and see. It's like the music they put in movies, but not as good because there isn't a movie going at the same time." Then she answers the other question, "It's fine! Um… I was kinda hoping he'd already have the circus going again, but he isn't really doing anything. But he will! He's just having trouble finding everybody again."

"He isn't really doing anything? Who is he having trouble finding, Jamie?" Sydney wrinkles her nose as she considers. This might not be the best situation for a child to be growing up in, after all. She forces a smile, however, for the girl. "When you're in the circus do you go to school, Jamie?"

Jamie shakes her head quickly, "He just goes around buying stuff, mostly. He never used to spend so much money, but he hadn't ever got paid that big before either!" Then she answers, feet swinging a little absently, "People who used to be the acts in the old circus." To the last question she shakes her head quickly, "We were always travelling, so couldn't. Mom taught me everything, until…" Her voice trails off here.

"What did he get paid for?" Sydney asks idly. She hmms quietly at the notion of Jamie's father buying stuff, "What kinds of things does he buy?" She presses her lips together before getting to the heart of the matter. "Can you tell me about your mom?" She keeps her feet flat on the floor — her posture remains entirely open.

The first question has Jamie thinking a moment, "Comp… compensation! Yeah. For being in jail so long for something he didn't do. Jane, that's our lawyer, and she taught me lots about music too, was awesome for the whole thing." She doesn't answer the second, as the third question seems to totally throw her. She clams right up, shrugging a little as she looks towards the floor. After a moment, she says, "I guess."

The therapist nods at the statement. Compensation. But she persists in asking what the money is spent on, "So what does he do with his compensation? What does he buy? Anything for you?" Narrowing her eyes, Sydney isn't entirely sure what to ask about the girl's mother. So instead, she asks questions about memories rather than her untimely death. "What was your mom like?"

Jamie relaxes again as more is asked about her father, and she nods quickly, and says, "Bought me lots of stuff. Toys and games and everything, more than I ever had before! And stuff for himself too. A fancy phone with a thing that goes in his ear, a really cool car, lots of stuff. But he isn't working, and… he's not getting any more money, won't he run out sometime?" A concept many kids don't understand. Then to the question of her mother, she smiles again, "She was the best! Nicest person ever! And she taught me everything about being an acrobat, though I'm not near as good as her yet. She could've gone to the Olympics, but she said there's too many rules there. I wanna go someday anyway, just once, if I get good enough."

"That's an amazing goal, Jamie," Sydney grins broadly. "And you are practicing enough to get yourself there." Although the thought of Jamie's father spending all of that money without working is a point of concern. "How do you feel about your mom now? I mean, how are you and your dad coping?" The phrase without her is stuck in Sydney's own mind. She can't bring herself to say it so she keeps her lips sealed on that particular matter.

Jamie almost says something, then stops, and bites her lip as she looks down at the floor. "I *really* miss her. I think Dad does too, he won't even talk about her. Ever." Something even she seems to have trouble with, unless asked the right specific questions like Sydney did a moment ago. Still, her father not talking about it does seem to bother her.

"Does he let you talk about her, Jamie?" Sydney's question is phrased gently. "If you want to talk about her, you should. It's hard to lose your mom." Especially as a child. She's not smiling anymore; the therapist's expression has turned to concern — she's not frowning, but she's mirroring Jamie's expression somewhat — more thoughtful than sad for her though.

Jamie shakes her head a little, still looking at the floor. "Um.. I think he would, if I really wanted to. But talking about her makes him sad." And, of course, she very much doesn't want to do that. "I'm ok. Happened a long time ago."

"How long ago?" Sydney asks quietly as she shifts in her seat slightly. Chewing carefully on the end of her pen cap she nods. "Sometimes grief just doesn't go away though. Sometimes we need to talk about things with the people we love so we can make sense of them. And it helps us to remember the good things about the people we've lost." She hmmms, "You don't have to stay quiet for his benefit… you could always talk about her with someone else. Your teacher maybe? Or me. I'm good to talk to. It's my job to listen." She presses her lips together before asking, "Have you seen a counsellor before?"

Jamie answers, "Two years. A little more, it was when I was eight, a bit before I turned nine. I'm eleven now, since last month" she adds, as if Sydney might not know that. Then she bites her lip, and shrugs a little again, "Dunno what I want to say anyway. But.. I like talking to you, you're nice." Then to the last question she shakes her head again.

"Well counsellors are like really good secret keepers. It's our job to help people think through things or talk through things when life is really hard," Sydney shrugs at this and offers the girl a smile. "What was it like when you lost her? Do you remember that day very well?"

Jamie looks back up to Sydney again as she mentions secret keepers, "Really? So.. I can tell you anything, and you won't tell anybody?" Then there's the question, and she bites her lower lip again as she hesitates, but finally says, "It was the worst ever. Thought I was gonna die too."

"I won't tell anyone unless you're going to hurt yourself or someone else. Those are the rules. Otherwise what we talk about is a secret between us," Sydney nods. "I always act in your best interest. I like… look out for you." At this she smiles, but the smile fades as the girl starts explaining, "What exactly happened?"

Jamie smiles at the first part, "Ok. I can't ever be hurt, unless I don't see it coming at all, so won't ever hurt myself. And I don't wanna hurt nobody else… almost nobody else," she adds a little softly. Then comes the time to explain what happened, something she very much doesn't like, but she's had to do it before so it comes with a slightly practiced edge. "Mom and me were changing between acts, and some guys started making noise looking for things to steal. Mom hid me in a trunk, before they came in. She let them take whatever they wanted, but then they wanted the trunk I was in. She… she wouldn't let them, so they.. they shot her. They didn't even find me, didn't look inside, just took it and left. I… I got out later, when they weren't paying attention."

Sydney blinks at the story as she ponders what to say. Crossing her ankles, she thinks long and hard over her next words — trying to be certain they're the right ones. Finally, after swallowing hard, she explains softly, "How did you get out?" There's a few more seconds before she tilts her head and adds even softer, "I'm sure lots of grown ups have said this, but it wasn't your fault, you know. Even if she was protecting you. You didn't cause this. The bad men that did it to her did."

Jamie shrugs a little as she answers, "Just climbed out when they stopped at a gas station. Was in the back of a truck, didn't even see me." She then nods a little, not meeting Sydney's eyes as she says, "That's what everybody says." But the guilt's still there, as much after that reassurance as any other time she's heard it.

Sydney hmmms quietly to herself more than Jamie, contemplating something — letting it weigh heavily in her mind before mentioning it. "You didn't make it happen. Those men made it happen. Your mom was giving you a beautiful gift, the gift of life." She smiles softly at this. "I know it's hard to let go and recognize it for what it is, but your mom wanted you to live. I might not have known her, but what she did makes that much clear."

Jamie looks up after a moment, thinking about that. Then she smiles a little and says, "Yeah." The guilt's still there, but for that moment, though, it weighs a little less. "And I've lived lots since then! I never let myself get scared anymore. Except of guns. Can't help that."

"Guns are scary in the wrong hands. Do you see many guns on a given day?" Sydney asks carefully. "Tell me, how's it living with your dad now that your mom is gone? What does an ordinary day look like?" She uncrosses her ankles again, taking care to keep her posture open.

Jamie shakes her head quickly, and says, "Not since I stopped living with Joe, but was lots then. But still sometimes. Like the time the bike store got robbed. And another time, the FBI came to a building I was visiting and one of their agents went craazy and started attacking everybody! But I think he was from Pinehearst, they were bad guys, and not really FBI. The real FBI agent wasn't mean at all, and helped stop him." Probably confusing to follow, but she goes on, answering the rest, "I get up, Dad makes me breakfast and tells me to get ready. Then I go to school. After school I explore and stuff and have fun, but I gotta be home before it gets dark. Dad makes supper then and we watch TV sometimes or sometimes I practice and he helps, then I go to bed."

"W -" What?! What has this kid lived through? This story is unbelievable. Silently, Sydney watches Jamie. The girl doesn't seem to be lying, but the story is beyond outlandish. She frowns slightly and nods a little, trying to understand the story in question — the story that really doesn't make any sense, nor should it. "Who is Joe? And… wh - what is Pinehearst?… Were they con-connected with the FBI?" The day itself isn't alarming. It seems very typical of any child Jamie's age.

Jamie answers quickly, "Joe's the guy I used to work for after I ran away, after mom died. He owns a bar, Curly Joe's. He did other stuff too. First he had me run packages for him, but then he started getting me to help his guys break into houses. Then I met Ali and she convinced him to let me go. I was living with her and Erin, from Afterlife, when found out my dad was alive and in jail. Um.. Pinehearst was a company that made a drug that gave people superpowers, and they wanted to sell to anybody, even people like ones who killed my mom. But some people tried to stop them, and they were living in the building that guy showed up with the FBI lady. Some stuff happened upstairs too, the Pinehearst boss broke in upstairs while that guy went nuts downstairs. But I only heard about that after." And she believes, wholeheartedly, every word she's saying.

Mouth gaping slightly at the story, Sydney has little else to say. Or ask. Or try to understand. This session has been incredibly confusing. And now it seems that Jamie is buying into some sort of hallucinatory world or large delusion. Finally pressing her lips together, she tilts her head at Jamie and reflects on the story. She opens her mouth to speak and then considers it further. She could try to redirect or get more information, but at this moment there is little to say. Instead, she forces a strained smile, and glances at her wristwatch, "Alright Jamie. We have to end for today, but… I'd like it if you'd come see me again." Her lips curl upwards. "Would you be okay coming back to visit me and talk some more sometime?"

Jamie, of course, is totally clueless that Sydney doesn't believe her. She smiles and says, "Ok! Yeah, I liked talking to you. Oh, don't tell anybody what I said about Pinehearst, that's secret. But the cops know about the guy attacking downstairs, so guess you can tell people that part." She stands up as she says this, but doesn't turn to leave until she has the promise.

"I… I won't tell anyone," Sydney says honestly. Although, she will speak to her boss about Jamie's supposed delusions. Maybe medicinal intervention may be necessary. With a grin she stands up. "I told you, unless you're going to hurt yourself or someone else, what you say in here is a secret."

Jamie nods quickly again and smiles brightly, "Thanks! Bye." She gives a small wave, and then turns to head back out of the office.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License