Episode 6 Transcript

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

[sfx: click of recorder]

Dr. Bright: Patient #13-A-3. Session 2. I’ve spent the past week meditating and practicing mindfulness in an effort to protect my thoughts from Chloe. We cannot be productive in our sessions if she is distracted by my subconscious. I am hoping to train Chloe to listen to conscious thoughts - direct her power so that she can select who she hears and when she hears them. 

[sfx: footsteps]

[sfx: opening door]

Dr. Bright: Hello Chloe. Please, come in. 

[sfx: closing door]

Dr. Bright: How are you feeling today?

Chloe: I’m doing well! I just had the most interesting experience on my way here. 

Dr. Bright: Did you? Tell me about it. 

Chloe: Well, this week wasn't so great, to be honest. I followed your advice at first - staying away from large groups - but that just didn’t work. I like being where there are lots of people around and it didn’t feel right being cooped up in my house with just me and my mom. 

Dr. Bright: Were the voices a little better when you were at home at least?

Chloe: Yeah, they were. Things were pretty quiet. And the longer I stayed inside, the quieter they would get. And I didn’t like that very much. 

Dr. Bright: Why not? I would have thought that would be a relief. 

Chloe: I mean, it was sort of nice at first, being able to listen to the sounds around me rather than the angels. But, then it just became lonely. My art suffered. I didn’t realize how much inspiration the angels were giving me. 

Dr. Bright: What do you mean by that? How were they giving you inspiration?

Chloe: Well, they would tell me things - and sometimes show me things - like these bright, strong flashes of emotion and feeling and I…I just started to put it into my art. 

Dr. Bright: They show you things?

Chloe: In their way. I don’t really know how to explain it. They don’t send me clear images but I still sort of see something in my mind. Does that make sense? As if, when they speak to me, what they’re saying sort of becomes my own thoughts, you know? Like I’m picturing it in my own head or something. I’m sorry, that probably doesn’t explain it very well. 

Dr. Bright: That’s alright. We’re in completely new territory. The transfer of thoughts from one consciousness to another is bound to be confusing business. 

Chloe: And you still think that’s what’s happening? That I’m hearing other people’s thoughts?

Dr. Bright: I think that it’s the most logical explanation. 

Chloe: If you say so. 

Dr. Bright: But back to your interesting encounter - what happened on your way here?

Chloe: Oh right! Well, I was walking to the bus stop from my house and I passed this homeless man sitting by the bank. And well, I don’t know if he was new to the area or if I’ve just never seen him before - I hope it’s not that, I hope that I haven’t just been ignoring him - but today, it was like…it was like the angels went out of their way to get me to notice him. 

Dr. Bright: How do you mean?

Chloe: Well, as I was walking past, I got all of these voices and images bombarding me all at once. It’s not usually like that - it’s not usually so- so…overwhelming. And there were other people on the street but I knew, I just knew, that it was all about this man. I mean, he wasn’t even doing anything - just huddled on the ground humming to himself. But the angels wanted me to pay attention to him I guess. 

Dr. Bright: Chloe, I want you to try something with me. Instead of referring to these voices as angels speaking to you, I want you to talk about them like they are thoughts from other people. I know you’re skeptical about that theory, but I want you to just try thinking about it that way and see how you feel, okay? Can you do that?

Chloe: I think so. Yes. 

Dr. Bright: Good. So all these thoughts and images were coming from one man?

Chloe: Yes. Frank is his name I think. Or, it’s his name sometimes? That was a little unclear. 

Dr. Bright: Well, let’s just call him Frank for now. 

Chloe: Okay.

Dr. Bright: So what was it about Frank’s thoughts that were so different to you?

Chloe: Well, a lot of time the voices- sorry, the thoughts - are really scattered and confusing because it’s a lot of different thoughts at once. But this - this was like being in a big crowd and hearing a lot of overlapping thoughts but it was all from one person. It was all in the same voice. And it was talking about so many different things. Or I guess, he was thinking about so many different things. Oh god, his is confusing. 

Dr. Bright: I know, that’s okay, Chloe. The more you talk about it in this way, the more it will make sense. But like I said, this is new territory - it’s going to be frustrating at first. 

Chloe: Right. So, anyway, it was the normal confusing swirl of thoughts but all from the same source. Like, they all had the same color to them - the same taste. 

Dr. Bright: Chloe, in our first session, you talked about voices almost exclusively. And yet today, you speak of images, taste, and color. Has something changed in the way you’re hearing things?

Chloe: No, not too much. I didn’t mention the other things before because they aren’t always there. I always hear things, but sometimes other things come with them - it can be a full sensory experience. But it’s only like that with really intense thoughts - like if someone is angry, or sad, or something. I guess…I guess it’s their emotions isn’t it? Not just their thoughts, but how they feel about it too?

Dr. Bright: Very good, Chloe. I think you’re probably right. For instance, when you heard your mother thinking about her other child - the one who passed away - did you get any images or other feelings?

Chloe: A little, I guess. It wasn’t really strong though - I mean, I guess my mom wasn’t really actively thinking about her, you know? 

Dr. Bright: Right. It was more of a subconscious thought than anything else.

Chloe: Sure, yeah. It was like…like, this dull ache. And it was gray and hungry. Ugh, that’s not a good descriptor. I wasn’t really paying attention to the feeling of it. The information was so surprising that I couldn’t focus on anything else. 

Dr. Bright: I’m sure. How exactly does the information get to you? You’ve said the voices “tell you”. Was it your mother’s voice talking about her child in your head or was it someone else’s?

Chloe: Umm…I’m not really sure. I’ve never thought about it like that. It’s not really like being told - not like how you say something out loud to another person and they hear you. It’s more that…I just know. There’s a voice - it’s not mine, it’s not really identifiable at all - but it speaks and even though I can’t pick out the words, I know what it’s saying. God, that sounds crazy. Maybe I really am a schizo after all. 

Dr. Bright: No, Chloe, I don’t think you are. It doesn’t sound crazy. Think about it: when you have thoughts, they are often unclear and unstructured, but your mind is still processing them. I imagine it’s just the same with hearing other’s thoughts. 

Chloe: Yeah, I guess so. God, my head hurts.

Dr. Bright: I know this is overwhelming. But we first need to understand how and what is happening before we- before you can learn to control it. 

Chloe: And you really think I can learn to control it? To turn it off and on?

Dr. Bright: I’m not certain, but I’m very hopeful. But let’s go back to your encounter with Frank. You were saying how you were getting everything at once - thoughts, images, colors…is that right?

Chloe: Yes, yeah, and that’s never happened before. It’s never been every single sense. And usually people are thinking about a couple of things at once but I guess, well I guess people’s moods kind of affect what they think about, so it’s usually all the same kind of stuff that a person is thinking about. But this - this was so many different things. Angry thoughts, sad thoughts, happy thoughts, all of it at once. And I couldn’t really get a grip on any of them. One second he was thinking about fighting in the war - not sure which one, I never got a clear thought about that - and then the next he was thinking about his father. I can’t be sure, but I think he might be dead. 

Dr. Bright: Mental illness is often seen in the homeless population - it’s very possible Frank is suffering some mental health issues and that’s what’s causing the erratic thought behavior. Particularly given his history as a veteran, if that’s what he is. 

Chloe: Yeah, he was definitely in the military for a little while. But that’s not, that’s not all he is. He’s an artist. He’s an incredible artist.

Dr. Bright: Why do you say that?

Chloe: Because I saw it. That’s what most of thoughts were. Between the violence and the sadness and the loneliness, there were some of the most wonderful paintings I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how many of them were real and how many of them were only in his head, but they were breathtaking. 

Dr. Bright: That sounds lovely. 

Chloe: Oh, it was. But he’s still homeless isn’t he? He’s cold and hungry and he has beautiful art to make and no opportunity to. I want to help him. 

Dr. Bright: I know you do. But you have to be careful. You need to focus on your own health right now. You can’t get distracted with someone else’s problems when trying to fix your own. 

Chloe: I’m not trying to fix anything. Not myself or Frank. Neither of us are sick, we’re just…confused. 

Dr. Bright: I apologize, I wasn’t trying to suggest that you need fixing. But you are dealing with a really big life change right now, Chloe:, and I don’t want you taking on more responsibility than you can handle. 

Chloe: I know that. I just- his art needs to be seen by people. He needs to paint. I think- I think he would feel better if he could paint. 

Dr. Bright: Did you talk to him at all?

Chloe: No. I was- it was too much to process all at once and I had to come here, but I want to. I was hoping to talk to him on my way home. Maybe bring him some food. He looked so skinny. 

Dr. Bright: Your mother mentioned this about you - always trying to make the world a more beautiful and better place. That’s a wonderful quality, Chloe. And I think you could do a lot of good with your ability if you knew how to control it. Think of all the beauty you could see and spread around if you could read minds at will.  

Chloe: But how do I do that? How on earth am I supposed to learn how to read people’s minds?

Dr. Bright: Reading minds doesn’t seem to be your problem. It’s more a matter of whose and when. I’d like to go through some meditation exercises with you…

[sfx: ticking clock]

(time passes)

Dr. Bright: Very good, Chloe. Does your mind feel clearer now?

Chloe: Yeah. Yeah, it does. I mean, it never went completely quiet but I was really able to focus on my own thoughts for once. 

Dr. Bright: That’s great, Chloe. I want you to do these exercises everyday, okay? Find a quiet place in your house, focus your mind and try to block out any extra noise. Depending on how these exercises go at home, next week we’ll try reaching out with your mind to read specific people. 

Chloe: So I’ll be reading your mind? I mean, you are the closest person. 

Dr. Bright: No, I think that would be counterproductive. You said you can hear the people in the other offices in this building - we’ll focus on them. 

Chloe: Okay. 

Dr. Bright: Can you hear any of them now?

Chloe: Uh...yeah, just the usual clutter. People thinking about going home, worried about the work they have to do, excited about dates - normal stuff. I can’t tell where it’s coming from though. 

Dr. Bright: Okay, then that’s what we’ll try to figure out next week.

Chloe: Wait…there’s someone. There’s someone here who isn’t- I don’t- I don’t understand. 

Dr. Bright: What is it, Chloe? What’s wrong?

Chloe: I don’t know. There’s someone here who isn’t- there’s something wrong. It’s- I can’t hear him but it’s cold…and empty…and…sharp. I think- I think we’re in danger. I’ve never - this is something new. 

[sfx: intercom beep]

Dr. Bright: That’s my next patient. I promise you, Chloe:, you are not in danger here. All the same, why don’t you call your mom and ask her to pick you up. You can sit in my waiting room. 

Chloe: No! Wait, your next patient? Is it the same one as last week? The one you were worried about? You were thinking last week about how he might be dangerous! Dr. Bright, you can’t treat this person. There’s something- there’s something really wrong with him. 

Dr. Bright: Chloe, my other patients are none of your concern. Some of my patients are more difficult cases than you, but it is my job to help them. 

Chloe: This is different. You can’t hear what he’s thinking about. 

Dr. Bright: You said you couldn’t hear him. 

Chloe: It’s not- I didn’t mean- there’s something really wrong, I’m telling you!

Dr. Bright: Chloe, our session time is up. I have to see my next patient now. Feel free to use the reception desk’s phone to call your mother and Sarah can get you some water while you wait to be picked up.

Chloe: But-

Dr. Bright: Don’t forget to do those meditation exercises and I will see you the same time next week. 

Chloe: Dr. Bright-

Dr. Bright: I will be fine, Chloe. 

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

Dr. Bright: Very good. 

[sfx: opening door]

Chloe: Excuse me.

[sfx: footsteps]

Dr. Bright: Please, come in, Damien. 

[sfx: closing door]

[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.