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|Posted on September 24, 2012 at 3:50 AM|
Today's word is "Finger" and my take on that word.
by E. A. Irwin
The tic in Madeline’s right eye worsened as she stared across the auditorium. Hundreds of blank faces, she hoped would remain humane, stared back. Sweat poured from every pore as she sat exposed and vulnerable to not only the audience, but to the inner turmoil stifling her mind.
Her handkerchief, gripped tightly in twitching, nervous fingers, had lost its soothing ability half an hour ago. Now, it lay twisted and balled in her hands like the emotions raging through her stomach. She had to do this no matter how loud the voices of opposition multiplied every doubt and fear until she felt ready to scream and run from the room. She had to openly come to grips with what her life had become no matter the consequences. She owed it to herself and to the countless people helping her not to let fear rule her life any longer.
Madeline surreptitiously glanced down the dais at Susan Rehnquist, the organizer of the forum. Kind brown eyes and a gentle smile were returned with a reassuring nod. Madeline closed her eyes, imagining herself somewhere else—anywhere but here. Was it really that important she take a stand? Here of all places? She could feign illness and leave the room; this audience would understand illness better than others.
What was that knocking sound? Madeline grabbed her leg to still the drilling drumbeat of her foot against the wooden floor. The demon was beginning his assault no matter how she tried remaining aloof and detached.
A feeling of desperation, bordering on anger, fused with the irrational thoughts in her head. Her planned speech began vanishing as she struggled to remain focused. She stared across the audience; some were lowering their heads, trying to hide their unease. Her new diagnosis had been heartbreaking. Were they passing judgment on her already?
The sound of a gavel pounding jolted Madeline back to reality. Susan stood at the podium bringing the meeting to order. “I would like to thank everyone for attending our Fourth Annual Symposium on Mental Health Awareness. Please welcome esteemed speaker and our fellow physician Dr. Madeline Cooper.”
Madeline walked slowly to the podium as the room seemed to turn on its axis. The demons in her head screamed with continuous shrill chants. You’re mad Maddie, no one’s going to listen to your insanity. Go home. Give up. They’re going to run you out of the medical field anyway, no one’s going to believe you. Just go home.
Madeline grabbed the lectern and breathed deeply. “Thank you for inviting me to share my story, Dr. Rehnquist. Tonight, I would like to speak on the subject of schizophrenia, my recent diagnosis, disease management, and the acceptance of people within this disorder group.” You can do this, Maddie. Remain focused, use all the tools the therapists have given you to help you cope. Help those who don’t understand the problem. You can do this. She gave the audience a bright smile she didn’t quite feel but knew would eventually become real. “With the help of my friends and colleagues, new treatments and medications, my future now looks promising.”
© E. A. Irwin
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