top of page

Ghosting your psychiatrist

Ghosting your psychiatrist must be a symptom of your life not having much direction. Or a very direct course into a shithole. The guy has been calling me for a week, every day, several times a day. I watch the screen of the cell phone resting on the bedside table flicker. The rectangle groans, and the 8 numbers that make up the dial on the other side of this communication channel light up. But I am unable to muster the necessary strength to initiate a movement that will lead me to pick up the call.

Since my last therapy session several days ago I have been lying in bed.I had arrived a couple of minutes late, and I found him with his guard down, watching porn on the computer screen, with his flaccid dick out of his pants. I gave it no thought. It had been partially my fault for not having had the deference to knock on the door before entering. Without too much tension on either side, we got ready to begin the session. He sat in an armchair and I sat cross-legged on the floor. Handing me a cigarette, he placed one in his mouth and lit it. "How are you?" he asked balancing the cigarette on his lips. "Fine," I replied, pointing the flame of the lighter against the tip of mine.

The smoke of the cigarette created sinister shapes in the air, only to dilute in the dense silence that had been created after my answer. His gaze pierced through me, fixed and straight into my eyes. I didn't know where to start. What to say. It seemed impossible to concentrate on a single one of my troubled thoughts. Like a vortex of yakked up moths, my ideas were running over each other, overflowing my oppressed chest, jostling each other to get out of my mouth. A mob of fears and insecurities crawling up my legs, frantically climbing towards my trembling hands. The failure, the pain. The beauty of functional sadness. The toxic familiarity of a stranded victimhood.

It was the summer of 2008. The heat drained little droplets of sweat from our bodies, dressing us in a kind of glittering cloak. "I don't have the money to pay you for this session," were the only words I could articulate. "Nor the ones I owe you." He stares at me impassively, mute, generating an uncomfortable stillness that I am forced to fill. "With the 10 euros I had left I bought a pack of Camel and an Idiazabal." The floor of the consultation room burns like the asphalt of an Andalusian road. More silence from him. My mouth is dry, it's hard to swallow. Saliva runs with difficulty down my throat, leaving a sour aftertaste.


"Looks pretty bad, doesn't it?" he replies, stubbing his cigarette butt out on the carpet. I glare at him with a cat-flashed look on my face. "You're up to your neck in shit, sweetheart." I freak out at his response. I stop for a few seconds to figure out what's going on. Maybe it's a new technique to help the patient see problems in a more positive light. "Well, I..." I try to articulate a sentence, but he cuts me off., "You're all the same. And since you can't pay me, I'll probably move into the bridge you're all going to when you're all evicted, too." He lights up another cigarette, and connects his gaze with mine in such an intense way that it strikes me as ridiculous. "You come in every fucking week to sit your victimized ass on my carpet, whine four platitudes and smoke my cigars. Zero change, zero intention to make a fucking change on your part. That life sucks, we all know that. Stop whining. You irritate the hell out of me, muchacha."

If I knew how to cry, I'd cry.

"What are you going to do?" he whispers, quieter, exhaling smoke in concentric circles. "I don't know," I reply uneasily. "I don't know," he returns, mimicking me, with a farting kettle tone that unnerves me. I feel like tearing out his windpipe. "Well it's the truth, I don't know what to do," I yell at him unhinged. "I'm on the street and all I have is a piece of cheese and half a pack of Camel." The ground burns my palms. I stand up in a futile attempt to breathe. But my lungs have become tiny. I can feel them shrinking in my chest. I start pacing around the room like a caged tiger. "I don't see any way out."

"Maybe you don't," he replies. I stop and look out the window. There are rivers of people in scarves. Confused tides of winter clothes. Why is it so cold all of a sudden? I can't think. I open the window, look down and am seduced by the emptiness stretching suggestively to the ground. As I fantasize about the idea of a redemptive suicide, I hear his voice behind me. "You suit a kamikaze ending, frankly." I keep looking out the window, which keeps getting bigger and bigger. "Aren't you supposed to help me see the bright side of life?" I ask. "I know a hopeless situation when I see one," he replies.

The window has grown so large that it has become a huge slit in the wall, from my feet to the ceiling moldings. I turn around and see him sprawled on the divan. His gaze is lost in some undefined spot in the room. I know he's called the session over. I poke my head through the growing hole in the wall and see a group of naked tourists taking pictures on the street. Why not? What's stopping me? I move forward a foot while thinking that maybe this game screen has already given all it had to give. I just hope to fall on top of the guiris. I already see the headlines in the international press: "The reverse balconing: Spaniards throwing themselves from the heights to solve the problem of mass touristification". I advance the other foot. I do not think twice. There is no turning back, only the irreparable consequence of a stupid decision.

And I fall. I fall. I fall hard. I hear the beep beep beep of my psychiatrist's call. The cell phone. It blinks. I shudder in the fall with the vibration of the phone throbbing on the nightstand. My stomach rises to my mouth with the fall. It feels orgasmic.

I open my eyes. The fucking alarm clock. The beep beep. I'm still in bed. The alarm clock has been going off for what seems like forever. I toss and turn under the covers. It's freezing cold. The fucking window. It's open.

This article is part of The Posttraumatic VOL.6 "It's hard to focus today".

You can get it here. And subscribe to the newspaper over here.


bottom of page