This is an excerpt from the script I’m working on for Trans Form, which is going up this December. Enjoy!
I’m fourteen, sitting on the chair in my therapist’s office.
I started going to therapy by choice, because the year before, at thirteen, I still couldn’t get past the panic attacks and separation anxiety that had kept me from sleepovers and overnight school trips and sleep-away summer camp for as long as I could remember. The pattern was always the same: I would get excited about staying at a friends’ house, at an overnight event at the Museum of Science and Industry, at whatever. I would go, convincing myself that this time would be different, that this time I’d be able to make it all night.
But as we started to get ready for bed, the panic would creep up. For those of you who have had a panic attack before, you know how it feels. To everyone else, it was a very physical sensation, a creeping along my arms and legs to my core, to my center. My blood would start to rush, tears would inevitably spring to my eyes, and if I didn’t go home, if I didn’t get away from whatever mundane childhood experience was driving me to a panic, I’d go into fullblown hysterics.
Finally, the summer after seventh grade, when I’d missed most of the seventh grade weekend trip to Wisconsin because of a panic attack, I decided I would go to the eighth grade trip to Washington DC. So I started seeing a therapist. We worked for months on controlled breathing, biofeedback techniques, ways to divert my focus from panicking.
But the trip to DC is in the past. (I made it, by the way, and haven’t had problems being away from home since.) Now, I’m fourteen, sitting in the chair at my therapist’s office, across from my parents, about to come out to them.
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