Episode 3 Transcript

33 - Patient #13-A-3 (Chloe)
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of a recorder]

Dr. Bright: New patient. Female, 20 years old. The appointment was made by her mother - a woman I met while in graduate school and the first atypical I ever worked with. She didn’t say much about her daughter on the phone, simply that she has been in therapy for quite some time, but is only getting worse. 

[sfx: door opening]

Dr. Bright: You must be Chloe. Why don’t you come in?

[sfx: door closing]

Dr. Bright: Please, take a seat. Hello Chloe, my name is Dr. Bright. I’m glad you’ve come to see me. How are you feeling?

Chloe: I’m feeling a little drained but okay. Optimistic even. Maybe cautiously optimistic.

Dr. Bright: I’m glad to hear that. As I understand it, you’ve been in therapy before but have been finding it frustrating. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Chloe: No one believes me. 

Dr. Bright: No one believes you about what?

Chloe: About any of it! They keep telling me I need medication and they’re wrong. 

Dr. Bright: Why don’t we start from the beginning. What made you seek therapy in the first place?

Chloe: I started to hear things. 

Dr. Bright: What kinds of things?

Chloe: At first I wasn’t sure. It was just quiet murmuring, like being next to a bee hive - a steady hum. (with wonder) And then things started to break through the hum and that’s when they started talking to me.

Dr. Bright: Who started talking to you?

Chloe: The angels. 

Dr. Bright: You believe that angels are speaking to you?

Chloe: I don’t believe it - it’s true. None of the others believed me and now you don’t either. You were supposed to be different. 

Dr. Bright: I didn’t say that I didn’t believe you, Chloe. I’m just trying to understand. Your mother sent you to me - do you know why?

Chloe: She said you would be able to help me like you helped her. 

Dr. Bright: That’s my hope. I met your mother when I was getting my masters - she was working at the university at the time and we became good friends. She was dealing with a…special ability and - has she ever told you about it?

Chloe: Yes - I didn’t think anyone else knew. 

Dr. Bright:  Yes, well, I think I was the first person she ever confided in about it. And she was one of my first patients. I helped her learn to control it. 

Chloe: Whoa. And it didn’t freak you out? That she could move things like that?

Dr. Bright: I was certainly surprised at first but then… it was amazing. I’d never dreamed that- well, your mother is very unique and it seems you’ve inherited some of that.

Chloe: So you believe me then - about the angels?

Dr. Bright: Why don’t you tell me more about these angels. How often do they speak to you?

Chloe: Oh, all the time. They’re speaking to me right now. It’s a little quieter than usual at the moment - they like to give me some space and be a little less noisy when I’m by myself or in a quiet place. They’re very respectful like that.Well, most of the time.

Dr. Bright: When are they not respectful?

Chloe: Well, if I’m in a busy place, like the campus dining hall, or driving home in rush hour, they can get really, really loud and they all try to talk at once and it gets to be a little much. That’s why I had to go to therapy in the first place. One of my professors made me see the college mental health advisor after I had a bit of an outburst during a lecture. 

Dr. Bright: What caused the outburst?

Chloe: Well, I was trying to take notes on the found art movement - I’m an Art major - and there were so many voices getting in the way. Some of it was about the lecture - sometimes the angels try to be helpful, I know they mean well - but there was so much other stuff too and it was just too much and I couldn’t concentrate and everyone was looking at me, and I just sort of…lost it. 

Dr. Bright: I see. Is it always like that when you’re in a big group?

Chloe: Yeah, mostly. It’s best when I’m in my studio. I do sculptures - mostly with clay - and I work at this outdoor studio on campus and I think the angels really like it because they always say the nicest things when I’m working. Even when the studio is full, they are always saying the nicest things.

Dr. Bright: What do they say?

Chloe: They just talk about art. It’s beautiful - the flow of artistic inspiration, all these different ideas - my art has reached new heights since they started talking to me. It’s like they’re all working on their own pieces and they tell me about them and it just elevates my own artistic thought. 

Dr. Bright: That sounds lovely. But lectures are still difficult for you?

Chloe: Um, I- I haven’t been to any since. After I talked to the school counselor, she told me to seek more “official psychological evaluation”. So I went to go see a therapist and that’s when I got my first diagnosis. 

Dr. Bright: And what was that diagnosis?

Chloe: Schizophrenia. 

Dr. Bright: You said that was the first diagnosis - you saw another psychiatrist after that?

Chloe: Yeah, I saw two more before coming to you. 

Dr. Bright: And they said the same thing? Schizophrenia? 

Chloe: Yes. But they’re wrong! I’m not schizophrenic. I’m not paranoid, I’m not seeing things - I’m not crazy! 

Dr. Bright: No one is calling you crazy, Chloe. But auditory hallucinations are very serious. 

Chloe: They’re not hallucinations! What the angels are telling me is true. I know it is because that’s why I’m here with you.

Dr. Bright: I’m sorry? I don’t follow. 

Chloe: I moved back in with my parents after it all started and last week, I was sitting in the kitchen with my mom, trying to help her cook, but there were too many voices and it got to be a little much, so I sat down and put my head in between my knees because sometimes that makes me feel better, and then this little voice starts telling me things about my mom. I’m an only child but the angel was saying my mom had a daughter before me but she died. And I didn’t know that and it made me so sad so I asked my mom about it and she was so surprised. I wasn’t supposed to know, but the angel told me because my mom was thinking about her baby and it was making her sad about how I was sick. She was worried that something was going to happen to me too. 

Dr. Bright: The angel said your mother was thinking about the baby in that moment?

Chloe: No, that’s what my mom said. She was so shocked, because she had never told me about my sister and she said she had just been thinking about her. She said it was like I had read her mind. And that’s when she told me that I needed to come see you. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, I see why she would want that. Chloe, I think your mother is right. I think it’s possible you’re hearing the thoughts of other people. 

Chloe: Wait, what? That’s a bit science-fiction-y isn’t it? 

Dr. Bright: Really? That seems strange to you? I’m sorry - I just- I’m surprised you find that harder to believe than angels speaking to you. 

Chloe: It’s not my place to question the methods of the universe. She moves in mysterious ways and will send messages in whatever way she pleases. I’ve always felt a deep connection to the cosmos - it’s clearly trying to push me on a certain path. 

Dr. Bright: Why do you think that?

Chloe: Because the angels tell me things that will help people. Like telling me about my sister - now my mom can talk to me about it and unburden herself. She doesn’t have to feel alone anymore.  

Dr. Bright: What else have the angels told you that have helped someone?

Chloe: Well…nothing else yet. It’s- it’s hard to sort through all of them at once. They all talk over each other and I get snippets here and there. It’s easier when I’m with one other person, like with my mom. Or the college therapist. The angels told me she was way out of her depth and worried she was going to say something wrong to me so I tried to take it easy on her. You know, not overwhelm her too much with my energy. 

Dr. Bright: That was kind of you. But don’t you think it’s possible that what you were hearing were the actual thoughts of the therapist? How exactly do these “angels” communicate with you? Do you hear full sentences?

Chloe: Not so much, no. I don’t really know how to describe it - it’s like hearing the lyrics to a song that’s playing in the background. You’re not paying attention, but a word or two sneaks it’s way into your brain and maybe you get the idea of the song just from these few words and the melody and - does that make sense? I can’t pick out individual words exactly, but I just- I just know. 

Dr. Bright: I see. And you can’t choose not to listen, I gather?

Chloe: No, no, it’s always there. And I can’t really choose to listen either if you know what I mean. Like I said, it’s not like I can focus on the words and pull out full ideas - they just come into my mind and then I understand them. 

Dr. Bright: Are you hearing them now?

Chloe: Yep. Though they’re being quieter than normal. 

Dr. Bright: What are you hearing? Or, should I say, what are you understanding?

Chloe: Um, I’m not sure. Things don’t always come through - it’s a little unfocused at the moment. Someone’s worried about their next patient? Oh that- that must be you, I guess. Are you worried about your next patient?

Dr. Bright: How-? Um,  yes, I suppose I am. But I wasn’t actively thinking about him in that moment. 

Chloe: Are you sure you should being doing therapy with this person? When you’re so worried about them being dangerous? It’s not worth it if they might hurt you. 

Dr. Bright:  That’s - that really isn’t any of your business. 

Chloe: I’m- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean-

Dr. Bright: That’s alright, Chloe, you just, uh, you surprised me, is all. You were right. I am concerned for my next patient. He- this person is a difficult case and I’m not sure I can help them. But I wasn’t thinking about that when you heard it - I was very much focused on you. 

Chloe: See? I told you I wasn’t hearing people’s thoughts. It has to be some outside source - that’s the only thing that makes sense. 

Dr. Bright: I’m not sure that’s true. This patient is certainly on my mind - not actively, but in the back, somewhere between my current thoughts and my subconscious. I think it’s possible that’s what you’re hearing. That’s why it’s so scattered and hard to sift through. Humans are capable of thinking about so much at once that I’m not surprised it’s an unclear connection. 

Chloe: Yeah, maybe. I guess we’ll never know for sure. 

Dr. Bright: Says who? Chloe, I think you can learn to control this ability - focus it. It will become less distracting to you and perhaps you’ll be able to actively listen and pick out the thoughts. But I think that’s probably enough for today. Consider this a preliminary consultation - we can start full sessions next week if you’re interested in working with me. I just need to look at some of my notes and see what methods I can come up with. 

Chloe: Oh, okay, right, that would be good, I think. If you really think you can help me. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, I think I can. Okay, so until next week, then. I want you to continue to avoid large groups and see if you can focus more on listening when you’re one on one with someone. 

[sfx: door opening]

Chloe: Okay, thank you Dr. Bright. I’ll see you next week. 

Dr. Bright: Goodbye, Chloe. It was lovely meeting you. 

[sfx: door closing]

Dr. Bright: End of Session 1. Truly remarkable patient. I had to cut the session short due to the patient becoming aware of my own neurological activity. This is going to be a difficult obstacle to overcome in treating her. She cannot be allowed to hear my thoughts, but I have to teach her to control her listening. In the next week, I will attempt self-hypnotism and meditation in order to control my own thought processes and limit what she can hear from me. If properly trained, she could be one of my most promising subjects. 

[sfx: click of recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions is written and produced by Lauren Shippen. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Chloe is Anna Lore. Special thanks to Elizabeth Laird for her advice as both a psychologist and fiction lover, to Elizabeth and Matthew Harrington for their enduring support, and to Anna Lore for our graphic design. For more information and additional content, please visit thebrightsessions.tumblr.com. For any questions or just to say hi, email us at thebrightsessions@gmail. Thanks for listening and stay strange.