Transcript of 14th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Eliza Raven, Tuesday, June 17, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Eliza? Hi! How is everything? I haven't seen you for...
Ms. Raven: Spare me your lectures, Doctor Balis. Please, if only for my sanity.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Why don't you have a seat?
Ms. Raven: Thank you, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: So, what's been going on?
Ms. Raven: This.
Dr. Balis: Eliza, those bandages. Do they mean what I think they do?
Ms. Raven: That I didn't do a good enough job to land me in a casket? Yes.
Dr. Balis: Eliza...
Ms. Raven: Once again, Doctor Balis, please spare me the lectures. Spare me the "It's the coward's way out" lecture. It's not like I haven't heard it enough in the past few days, along with the snickering and pointing. My life is banal enough as it is without you going along with the crowds' agreement that I'm a pathetic jerk. A pathetic, selfish jerk.
Dr. Balis: Eliza...
Ms. Raven: I wish that I had succeeded instead of chickening out at the last minute.
Dr. Balis: Eliza, I would like to start from the beginning. Can tell me what happened, please?
Ms. Raven: Sure.
Dr. Balis: Go ahead.
Ms. Raven: You'll think I'm stupid!
Dr. Balis: I'm not going to pass judgment on you, Eliza. That's not what I'm here for. I'm here to help you.
Ms. Raven: I don't know anymore. All I can do is cry. Just when I thought I was done crying--that I had cried enough for the rest of my life--something just snapped, and I couldn't handle it anymore.
Dr. Balis: Couldn't handle what?
Ms. Raven: The "real world," life, all that jazz. I was sitting in my closet, bawling--and I don't even know why I was crying--when this thought popped in my head. This little taunting voice was saying: "You pathetic miserable snob. The world would be a better place of you were dead." And I believed it.
Dr. Balis: Who's voice was it?
Ms. Raven: Mine. It was me telling myself how horrible I really am, and that I didn't deserve to live.
Dr. Balis: What did you do?
Ms. Raven: What does it look like I did? I headed to the bathroom and ran a tub of hot water, went back to my room and got my exacto knife, and then headed back to the bathroom. I stepped into the boiling pot and relaxed, thinking of how wonderful it was all going to be once I was dead and didn't have to put up with my miserable existence any more.
Dr. Balis: It's okay to cry, Eliza. Here are some tissues.
Ms. Raven: It's not okay! Nothing is okay!
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Eliza. Can you please continue?
Ms. Raven: When I figured I had soaked long enough, I got the knife and prepared to slice my wrists. I made a few tentative cuts. And then, I realized that the cuts weren't deep enough. I started to cry because if there was one thing that I wanted to do right, it was this. I got mad and hacked quickly at each wrist. Then the blood started to flow, and something popped back in my brain.
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Raven: It was Peter. He was crying at my grave, and I couldn't bear it. I gave a blood curdling shriek and leaped out of the tub, holding one wrist and then the other. Apparently my mother heard the scream, because the next thing I know--I was searching for gauze and things--the door flies open, and there's my mother. She looked scared to death, and I stopped. For a few seconds, all I could hear was the splashing of the water and blood droplets on the floor, my heart pounding rapidly. And then my mother exploded in tears and rage, telling me that I was a stupid little bitch and how on earth could I be so selfish. Of course I was bleeding on her white carpeted floor. I started bawling. Which is when Ben, in all his quiet reservedness, stepped between us and found the gauze and started to clean me up. The cuts I made weren't deep enough to kill...well, since I missed the veins, anyhow. He bandaged me up. My mother was screaming in hysteria in the hall the entire time. And Ben was asking me if I needed or wanted to go to the hospital, or should he call you, Doctor Balis, and just all sorts of questions. All I could do was continue to cry and shake my head no. I didn't want anyone to know. We got the blood to stop. Ben managed to get me into my robe somehow. And then he picked me up in his arms and carried me to my bed. I laid there while Ben stroked my hair and cried until I fell asleep. I could still hear my mother screaming and wailing in the hall. But Ben didn't say a word, just stroked my hair.
Dr. Balis: You should have called me, Eliza. Before doing anything, you should have called me.
Ms. Raven: I knew you would say that. I just didn't want to face you anymore.
Dr. Balis: Why not?
Ms. Raven: Because you always say the right thing. But at the time I was doing this, I only wanted a confirmation that what I was doing was the right thing, even if in my heart of hearts I knew it wasn't.
Dr. Balis: I see. How are your family and friends handling this?
Ms. Raven: Only Calypso and Ben are talking to me right now. Oh, and my grandparents. That's about it. Isaac only came over to bring me a single rose. He looked at me with such baleful eyes. My father hasn't been over at all. And my mother...well, she spends all of her time in her own room crying. Ben insisted that I go back to therapy. He drove me here today to make sure I got here. As for my friends, I haven't told anybody really. I've managed to avoid them by staying up too late and sleeping through the day. And there is no way in hell that Peter knows. Unless through some cosmic shift, he knows without me telling him, which is possible.
Dr. Balis: So it was the image of Peter crying at your grave that stopped you?
Ms. Raven: I can't leave him right now. Not like that. It would have devastated him if I...and that's the last thing he needs.
Dr. Balis: You really care for Peter.
Ms. Raven: I guess I really do, don't I? Even after I swore to myself that this wasn't going to be a "rebound romance."
Dr. Balis: Why do you think you tried to take your life, Eliza?
Ms. Raven: I...I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think your life is so miserable?
Ms. Raven: Because every time I have to make a decision, I freeze up. I hyperventilate. I start to cry. And I'm so lonely, too. I never get to see Peter--we have to resort to mail. Sometimes I wonder if he even cares about me, but I have to push those thoughts away. And every day, life just gets harder and harder. I just can't cope with the real world anymore. So I tried to exit it. And when that didn't work, I resorted to hiding.
Dr. Balis: But that doesn't help, does it, Eliza?
Ms. Raven: No...and I'm so, so sorry.
Dr. Balis: You don't need to apologize, Eliza.
Ms. Raven: Yes, I do. I'm a miserable, horrible, rotten person.
Dr. Balis: Listen to yourself, Eliza. Do you really mean what you just said?
Ms. Raven: I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Think about it for a minute. Are you really a miserable, horrible, and rotten person?
Ms. Raven: No...I guess not.
Dr. Balis: Then why are you saying that about yourself?
Ms. Raven: Because I deserve all the hate and loathing I can get.
Dr. Balis: Does anybody else deserve that?
Ms. Raven: No.
Dr. Balis: Then why just you?
Ms. Raven: Because...just because.
Dr. Balis: Eliza, please listen to what you're saying.
Ms. Raven: I'm not making any sense any more.
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Eliza. You're just tired.
Ms. Raven: Yes, Doctor. I'm very tired. I think I should go now.
Dr. Balis: Wait a little before you go.
Ms. Raven: Okay.
Dr. Balis: I want you to close your eyes, Eliza. That's good. Now, clear your mind. Make it completely blank. Okay? Good. Now I want you to remember a time in your life when you felt that you were beautiful. Beautiful inside and out. I want you to remember a particular moment in your life when life was good for you.
Ms. Raven: I can't.
Dr. Balis: Try, Eliza.
Ms. Raven: I still can't.
Dr. Balis: Sure you can, just let your mind wander.
Ms. Raven: Oh, yeah...I was thirteen and I was getting a dress for the eighth grade prom. I walked out and my father's jaw hit the floor. I turned around to face the mirror and there I was.
Dr. Balis: You were beautiful, Eliza. Good. That was a good time in your life. Okay, do you have that image set in your mind? Great. Okay, try to keep that image in your mind. Remember it especially when you are feeling low or in dire straits, okay?
Ms. Raven: Okay. I can open my eyes, right?
Dr. Balis: Yes, Eliza.
Ms. Raven: Okay, Doctor Balis. I'm sorry I don't have a journal for the past couple of weeks, but I haven't been feeling well.
Dr. Balis: No problem, Eliza.
Ms. Raven: Then I'll see you next week.
Dr. Balis: Can I ask you whether you have any plans to try to take your life again?
Ms. Raven: I'll call you, I promise.
Dr. Balis: That's not what I asked you, Eliza. Are you still thinking about committing suicide?
Ms. Raven: Sure, I'm thinking about it. But I'm not planning on doing anything. It's getting late and I'd like to go now.
Dr. Balis: Actually, I think it would be best if you spent a few days in the hospital. After listening to you during this session, I'm afraid that you may still present a danger to yourself, at least in the near future. I'd like you to have a chance to step away from your situation at home and really have an opportunity to gain some perspective.
Ms. Raven: The hospital? I don't want to go to a hospital.
Dr. Balis: It will be only for a couple of days, I'm sure. It's very nice--the California Pacific Medical Center. You were there before, I think. I'll come and visit you.
Ms. Raven: You're committing me to a mental hospital?
Dr. Balis: Eliza, if your appendix had burst, I would get you to the hospital. This is like that. I really have no choice.
Ms. Raven: I'm not sick like that, really.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Eliza. I don't agree. Those bandages on your wrists and the fact that you started the session by telling me how you were sorry that you didn't succeed are pretty good indications that you need to go to the hospital.
Ms. Raven: Oh, shit. Can my brother come and visit me there? Can Peter?
Dr. Balis: Sure they can. We'll put them on your visitors list.
Ms. Raven: You mean you can keep my mother out?
Dr. Balis: Yes we can, if you like.
Ms. Raven: I guess on some level I know that this is the right thing to do. But I'm not very happy about it.
Dr. Balis: We'll get you through this rough stage, and then things will be a lot better. Have you been taking your medication regularly?
Ms. Raven: Do you mean Zoloft?
Dr. Balis: Yes, I do.
Ms. Raven: I always have trouble taking pills. I've been taking them on and off. But I always take one as soon as I remember about it.
Dr. Balis: How often do you remember?
Ms. Raven: Oh, a couple of times a week, I guess.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Well, we'll be able to get you back on your medication while you're in the hospital. I'll take you over right now. Ready?
Ms. Raven: Don't I get to go home and pack or something?
Dr. Balis: We'll have someone do that for you.
Ms. Raven: What about Ben? He's waiting for me downstairs.
Dr. Balis: Good. We'll talk to him on the way out. Are you ready now?
Ms. Raven: I guess so. But it's a little scary.
Dr. Balis: That's okay. I'll be there with you. Let's go.
Ms. Raven: Okay, Doctor Balis.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Eliza Raven's Transcripts Transcripts of Eliza Raven's Communications
Button to Eliza Raven's Patient File Eliza Raven's Patient File

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