On the way home from the therapist, I called Kurt up, halfway hoping that he wouldn't answer the phone and I could just leave a message. I was making a particularly difficult right-hand turn out of the office park when he picked up. My brain was working on about six different things, so instead of my usual response of, "hey, Kurticus," I made a kind of grumbly groan.
"Blaine?" Kurt replied, and I could almost hear him rolling his eyes.
"Sorry. Concentrating on driving. What's up?" I mumbled.
"Maybe you should just stick to driving then." Kurt said.
I took a deep breath. "Well, excuse me for calling my boyfriend up after a particularly intense therapy session." As soon as the words left my mouth, dripping with sarcasm, I knew they were the wrong choice.
"You know, I'm just trying to snap you out of this stupid funk you're in. Sorry for caring."
"It's not a funk, Kurt." My nose wrinkled at the name. "I have a legitimate psychological disorder and-"
"Oh spare me the psychobabble, Blaine." Kurt imitated my tone. "You think it's a thrill for me to have to baby my boyfriend when-"
"It's not psychobabble. Why don't you get a damn psychology textbook and look up General Anxiety Disorder. It's a real-"
"Oh sure, all the answers to our problems are found in textbooks. Blaine has one panic attack and suddenly he's the expert on every disorder ever. I'll have you know-"
"I never said I was an expert on anything. You're the one who's not willing to listen to-"
"I won't listen? I'm trying my damn hardest, but you don't seem to see how selfish you're being. What, I'm supposed to drop everything and-"
"Selfish? Selfish? Kurt, my life is crumbling around me right now, and I just need a little-"
"You see? That's exactly it!" He shouted, right as a car behind me honked. I realized that I had been sitting at a green light for almost a full minute. My vision was starting to become hazy, and I pulled into the nearest parking lot as Kurt started berating me so loudly, I had to hold the phone away from my ear.
"What's it?" I asked, a little too cautiously.
Kurt sighed, and I could tell that he was trying to keep from shouting again. "You say your life is crumbling around you. You're always talking about how everything is falling apart. But you have both your parents and your sister and your doctors and... and you have me."
"I know I do. And I'm glad that-"
"Just let me talk, Blaine. We've been together for, what, six months now? You're transferring schools to be with me. Me. And suddenly, as soon as the ink is dry on the paperwork, you start freaking out and saying that everything has gone to shit. How is that supposed to make me feel?"
I gulped. He had a point. "I'm sorry, babe. Are we still on for dinner tonight?"
"Are you still paying?" He laughed, and I knew that was a yes.
By the time I got home, my parents were preparing dinner. Dad was chopping up an onion, mumbling something about an old record to Mom. I coughed, and leaned against the doorframe. Mom turned around and smiled, tilting her head towards one of the kitchen chairs. I silently took a seat, knowing that nothing good could come of whatever was about to happen. Bad news always came around our kitchen table. When we had moved from Cleveland to Lima, I was told the news over that table. I remember picking at a crusty mustard stain that was probably older than I was at the time, listening to my dad explain the reasons we had to leave our home and our friends. I was only ten, I couldn't understand what a "mid-career switch" was. All I knew was that I was leaving all my friends, the cute boy down the street, the older girl who taught me how to braid hair.
Come to think of it, I had told my parents I was gay over that table. It was barely a year later, the boxes just starting to disappear from everyone's rooms. We were eating a silent dinner, the sound of the wall clock ticking barely drowning out the chewing noises around the table. Mid-bite, I blurted out, "All my friends are dating girls, but I want to date boys." Mom began coughing. Dad spat out his wine. My sister started cracking up. Once the chaos had died down, Mom started clearing my plate. "I'm not done!" I cried out, but she wouldn't listen. I knew that I had said something wrong, but I wasn't sure what. I didn't bring up the matter again for years, until I saw a scene in a movie and suddenly had a realization of what "gay" was. Once again, around that damn table, I told my parents that I was gay. This time, they nodded in acknowledgment, but I could still see the disappointment and frustration behind their eyes.
I was pulled out of my memory by my mother's soft hand on mine. I looked at her eyes and could see that she had asked a question and was expecting an answer.
"I'm sorry, I missed the question." I responded dryly, my eyes studying the place on her fingers where the nail polish was beginning to chip.
She sighed, exasperated. "I swear, you live in your own world sometimes, Blaine. I asked how your therapy sessions were going."
Something was up. As nice of a person as she could be, Mom was not one to ask about my day-to-day life without some kind of ulterior motive. "It's fine. Dr. Gould is pretty great. We're making progress."
Mom nodded. Dad coughed quietly.
"What are you two up to?" I grumbled, pulling my hand away from Mom's.
"Nothing!" Both stated, almost shouting.
"We're just worried about you." Dad sighed, taking hold of my forearm. I could still feel the moisture on his fingers from the onion he was chopping. I could almost smell the distinctive odor coming from his hands. For a second, I was so distracted by the smell that I could forget the complete and utter crap that was coming out of his mouth.
But only for a second.
"We don't want to be wasting your time if these sessions aren't working." Mom added. She tried to grab my hand again, but I slid away. "We're just worried that you're not seeing any improvement, and we feel like this is just something you need to get through on your own."
"On my own?" I echoed. I could feel my face getting flushed. I wanted to stand up and scream, but I kept my poker face and stayed in my seat.
"Yes, Blaine." Dad grumbled. "We feel like your progress is stagnating."
"It's been two weeks." I muttered.
"Pardon?" Mom asked.
I sighed, trying to calm the rage that was growing in my stomach. "It's been two goddamn weeks, mother. This shit takes years to get under control."
"Watch your language, Blaine." Dad gritted his teeth. His grip on my arm tightened involuntarily. He must have realized it, though, because he immediately removed his hand.
"I'm just saying, I can't be expected to be perfect yet. There's no magic pill for anxiety. I just have to work through it." I crossed my arms.
"We're not expecting you to be perfect." Mom said. "We just feel like you're maybe blowing this out of proportion. Maybe you're just being too sensitive. Can't you just... buck up a bit? Try not to take everything so personally?"
I finally gave into my rage. I jumped out of my chair, making it click loudly on the floor as it wobbled. "I'm not having this conversation with you guys right now. I'm not being overly sensitive. I do have a problem. If you don't believe me, that's fine, but it's the truth. I'll be up in my room, talking to my boyfriend if you need me." I took a deep breath and raised my voice. "Yes, I said 'boyfriend.' Because as much as you guys hate to admit it, I'm gay. And I have an anxiety disorder as well. You'll either have to accept it or learn to deal with it."
Dad grabbed his temples. "Blaine, we don't want to argue with you. But I think that this whole thing is just taking over your life. I'll make you a compromise. If you get a job this summer, we'll let you keep going to Dr. Gould. Deal?"
I glared at him, trying to call his bluff. There was nothing there. He was being 100% truthful. "Deal." I muttered.
A/N: Hey all! Sorry that this chapter took so long to get out. Work has been crazy lately, and I'm taking two classes this summer, AND I'm doing an internship. Things have been out-of-control. Hopefully, though, I'll be able to start working on this more often, and will be able to finish it by the end of the summer. I've planned the rest of the plot out, and it's going to be 10-12 chapters. So we're halfway there (whoa-oh living on a prayer).
Also, thanks to the kind words from everyone! I've received a lot of questions about whether or not I've had GAD, and the short answer is: sort of. I've had an anxiety disorder and clinical depression for over ten years now, diagnosed when I was 9 or 10. (I'm 22 now, for reference). I have panic attacks to this day, although no more than a few times a month. I've been in regular therapy and medicated for my disorders since I was diagnosed. It took a long time to get things leveled out, almost five years. But I'm a well-adjusted (although certainly not normal!) person who just simply happens to be more neurotic than most. So when I talk about going to the therapist or medication, I know what I'm talking about!
Please continue reading, and don't forget to read my other stuff! I've got a masterpost of my fanfic over at my tumblr, so don't hesitate to check it out.