After fumbling for hours with a therapist’s virtual platform I finally settled into a video session with a client. Obviously, I was a novice at telehealth and now, well I am an expert. “Hi Sue so, first I want to ask you a few questions. How are you handling this situation? Are you feeling well? Do you have everything you need? What are you struggling with and how is your support system?”
In response to my inquiries about her adjustment to Covid Sue said, “Thank you for asking and it’s just so good to see you. So, I now have a pet squirrel! It’s so exciting!” Keeping in mind that everyone has a right to find their own coping mechanisms as long as they aren’t harmful, it is not for me to judge. I did however make note of signs Sue was possibly experiencing some psychotic symptoms and cognitive decline as observed in her tangential answer to my very direct questions.
In my most therapeutically neutral voice I said, “Oh, really tell me more about your squirrel.” “Well his name is Sammy and actually I used to hate Sammy. He drove me crazy, every day racing across my oak tree branches with that obnoxious ‘click click click’ sound he made, punctuated by shrill, ear-piercing whistles. Sammy would stop, look to see if I was there and noting the coast was clear, he’d practically fly over to my exquisite succulent garden. Like a locomotive turbine Sammy sent huge wafts of dirt into the air digging deep trenches at lightning speed to bury his precious peanuts. I would then go screaming like a banshee into the yard armed with my green translucent squirt gun and spray away, always missing him by inches. My husband refused to even go into our yard now as he is deathly allergic to peanuts, and I was just filled with fury.”
I listened patiently wondering where this story was going and what it had to do with the Covid crisis. Sue continued, “So a few days ago while trying to wrap my mind around the reality of this nightmare in the world, I had an idea. I went through our pantry and found the most delectable, delicious nuts we had to include, toasted hazelnuts, rosemary infused almonds, and exotic brazil nuts, hoping I could tempt this furry little trouble maker. I began to toss nuts to him before he reached my cactus garden where he made direct eye contact with me, frozen in shock and then inhaled the fancy nuts. I began to make a squirrel like granola for him with pumpkin seeds and some dried cranberries, and each day now Sammy waits patiently for his gourmet treats. I feel so happy he is my buddy now, and my anger is gone. Then I named him, and I can’t wait to see my adorable little cherub every day.”
Thank you Dana for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series: