Author's Note: So, Jules with PTSD is back by popular demand. Maybe particularly because Sules threatened to come to America and kick me if I didn't do a sequel. Some people may see our relationship as abusive, but she just constantly makes me laugh my butt off! SWAT Forever! Anyho, thanks to everyone who read Mutiny. Glad you liked the angst. Oh, look, more angst! I know what you're thinking: "Oh, Come on Eals! Metaphysics! Seriously!" Well, chill guys. I'm a self and identity psychologist; the only part of metaphysics I care about is the Mind-Brain Problem. Also, I realize these two stories together form my soap box piece on how Anxiety Disorders and Depression DO NOT make someone crazy and they should not have such negative connotation associated with them. No one should ever be ashamed to ask for help when they need it for fear of stigma. We all hit mental bumps on the road of life and there is nothing wrong with seeking help at such points. Okay, my soap box is about to crush, because, Dude, it's A SOAP BOX for cry'n out loud. So, I'll step off. Oh, and the title of this chapter should tell you, there're more than two jokes in this piece.
I don't own or have rights to Flashpoint, Rod Stewart songs, the Marx Brothers, or Firefly. I still own a few of the hand-turkeys I made in school for Thanksgiving though. . .
Chapter 1: Jules Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
This could NOT Freak'n be happening. What horrendous atrocity did she commit in a past life to deserve this kind of crappy Karma? How does someone just happen upon a hostage situation Freak'n TWICE in one's life?
"Everyone, down on the ground!" the delusional subject shouted.
Okay. This guy's delusional. Schizophrenic. Ben Covington was a delusional Schizophrenic. I lost my chance to help him. . . Keep your head in the game, Jules!
Panic began to rise in her mind. The now familiar maladaptive neurotransmitters were fighting to incapacitate her once again. The haze and lightning strikes were beginning to cloud her mind as they did so many times before.
But, not this time.
She would fight to maintain control of her own thoughts; automatic negativity would no longer be her captor. She would fight to re-claim ownership of her own mind, brain, and self, which had been on lease to the anxiety for far too long.
Steeling her nerves and clearing her mind, she rose from her prone position on the floor with her hands raised.
"Hey, my name's Jules. I want to see if I can help you out."
A Few Weeks Earlier
"Hey. I'm Sam, and I'm here with Jules," Sam proclaimed to the group at large.
He and Jules were together in a group therapy situation where the loved ones of the clients in in-patient care at this rehabilitation facility could show their support and express their own thoughts and feelings about how the clients' psychological problems had affected them. After all, when a loved one is suffering through any type of psychological disorder, they are not the only ones to go through pain.
"So Sam, what do you do?" the group therapist asked.
"I'm a police officer in the Strategic Response Unit with Jules. I'm mostly a sniper and tactical leader. I don't usually get to do the super heroic talk-down stuff like Jules. Although," Sam paused with a smile on his face. He thought with pride about all the times Jules had chased down subjects and been a valuable asset to the tactical side of Team One. And, of course, there was the fact that he had originally met her as a 'sexy sniper chick.' His smile widened. "She certainly knows her way around an assault and sniper rifle as well."
Jules shot him a 'why the HELL are you talking about rifles and being a sniper at a PTSD support group session!' look.
He quickly worked to rectify his major goof. "So, yeah, I'm a cop. . ."
Fabulous. That'll work.
The mediator took charge to prevent any more of Sam's thoughtless gaffs.
"So, you're here to support Jules. Would you like to share any of your thoughts and feelings about what's been going on with her?"
Jules shot Sam a weary look. She was obviously afraid of what he might say, whether that was about him making a statement that would unleash a mass-hysteria type string of flashbacks and panic attacks or about how much her condition had pained him, was indeterminable.
"Honestly," Sam began. . .
Here we go, thought Jules.
"I'm surprised it took her this long to run into a crazy glitch." Jules flinched at his poor word choice. She seriously needed to educate the man. "The reality is, Jules is pretty much super-human. She's the strongest person I know," he smiled down at her. "I've seen her jump off buildings to save people, get shot, and have a gun on her while she's unarmed countless times." He grinned once more at the memories of her always coming out on top. "But, I think the strongest, bravest thing she's ever done is admit that she's human and could use some help." Same reached over and have Jules a somewhat awkward, seated half hug.
Jules face-palmed at his cheesiness, but she had to admit, what he said had truly touched her. It never ceased to amaze her how much he, Sarge, and the rest of the team still cared about her even after what she had been putting them through. She would have to let him know that in some manner.
A few more clients and loved ones shared their touchy-feely thoughts and emotions, and the meeting ended.
Rising, Jules began to lead Sam to the lobby of the facility where they would have to exchange their good-byes before Jules had to return to her next 'program sanctioned activity.'
'Program Sanctioned Activities' in a rehabilitation hospital. Sam thought about how Jules must truly hate it here.
"So, that didn't go so badly," Sam began.
"Yeah, I managed to hold in my vomit from eating all that touchy-feely cheese," Jules quipped.
Sam smiled. It was good to see her sardonic wit return.
"But," Jules continued, "I have to admit that some of your cheese touched my heart." She paused and shuddered at her own words. "Dear God, it's like a plague. I've got to get out of this place." Recovering from her cool-aid drinking language, she soldiered on to express what she meant to say. She looked up into his eyes and grabbed his hand. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"
Sam grinned widely. No, she hadn't. Her words more than warmed his heart; they lit his soul on fire. He'd been dreaming of her responding to him emotionally for over a month.
"No, Rod Stewart, you haven't." He bent down to kiss her forehead.
They were silent in their stylized embrace for a moment.
"Alright, you better get back to the real world, Braddock," Jules stepped back from him. "I have to return to my funny-farm fun." She raised her eyebrows and gave him a sarcastic smile. "Maybe we'll get to do macaroni art (!)" She flicked her eyebrows like Groucho Marx.
Sam snorted a laugh and leaned towards her to kiss her forehead again.
"Bye, Jules." Stepping away, he remembered a thought. "Oh, and Sarge said he's gonna stop by later today."
"Great. I want 'ta show him the new hand-turkey I made for him!" Jules sarcastically shouted to Sam's retreating form.
Sam chuckled to himself as he walked towards his car. Jules' heightened sarcasm may be a defense mechanism, but at least she was emotionally engaged enough to use it.
And, he knew she hated this place. Unfortunately, it was a necessary evil.
He thought back to the conversation they had had when he'd helped her pack the day before for her two-week stay in in-patient care at the rehabilitation center.
He frowned at the memory. The revelations had scared the living day-lights out of him.
"I don't get it, Jules. Why do you have to STAY there? Why can't you just do the day-time out-patient program?"
Jules rolled her eyes at him a bit. Since the night before and her realization that she needed to get help to get over the pain she was non-living through, she had regained a fraction of her signature fire and wit. Although nowhere near her usual fire-cracker status, she was beginning to seem alive again.
"Sarge is afraid I'm gonna freak the Hell out when I'm driving and crash into something." The humor in her face faded as she strived to continue on in a more serious direction. "Plus. . . my genetic predisposition freaks him out."
Sam was now entirely lost and confused.
"What genetic predisposition?"
"Sam." She walked towards him and grabbed both of his hands in hers. This was something that was obviously hard for her to tell him.
"You know how I don't have a mom?"
Sam's eyes grew deep and pensive, inexplicable and inherent foreboding-worry striking his heart.
"Sam," she looked up at him before looking back down at their joined hands. "My mother had severe anxiety and depression, and," she sighed, willing herself to continue. "She killed herself."
Sam had never been so shocked and frightened in his life, and he had been through a war and held hostage at grenade-point.
"Jules, would you. . . have you. . ." He couldn't finish.
"Honestly, I don't know. And, I don't trust myself to not do something unconsciously."
And so, Jules had checked into in-patient care where she would be on low-key suicide watch for the hard first two weeks of her recovery. Sam was glad she was finally getting the help she needed, but that didn't stop him from worrying every second she wasn't at his side.
At least he knew she loved him.
He hoped that would be enough.
As Jules sat in the lounge and waited for Greg to come for his visit, she thought about what a whirl-wind the past couple of days had been. She couldn't believe that it was just two days ago that she had worn an SRU officer's uniform and continued to deny that she was in the worst shape of her life. Just two days ago that she had suffered a severe flashback and panic attack in the middle of a call. Two days ago that she had fallen into Sarge's arms and admitted that she was scared of herself and needed help.
Her mind wandered to her initial interview with her assigned personal psychologist, Chris. Their initial conversation had been enlightening for her, despite the manner in which it unfolded.
"Juliana, 'Jules' Callaghan." He had ACTUALLY used air quotes for 'Jules.' Jules was already weary of him.
"Yep, my friends use air quotes and all when they call me that," she sarcastically retorted.
"Are you comfortable, can I get you anything before we begin?" Chris asked.
"Nah, I'm good except for the fact that you're about to traipse through my brain."
"I take it you don't like psychology." Chris raised an eyebrow and got a slight smirk.
"You've noticed," Jules said in a sarcastic tone.
"Which is ironic, because you're a Psychological profiler."
"Some people say irony is my middle name."
"I can see why," Chris said, signaling that he noticed she was a very sardonic person.
"So, really," Chris continued, "you love psychology. You just don't like to be the subject of the profiling."
Jules stared back at him point-blank and quickly tilted her head when she answered. "Well, I guess you have me figured out."
Chris smiled at her wit and continued on to a different topic. "Jules, are you familiar with metaphysics?"
"Yeah," Jules smiled. "I saw that episode of Firefly, 'Objects in Space,' on DVD." It was obvious she was toying with him. And he knew it.
"Yes, well, Whedon is King." Chris chose to play along.
This conversation had taken the shape of many-a verbal sparring match Jules had had with Sarge. She was quite entertained.
"There's a branch of metaphysics that looks at the Mind-Brain Problem," Chris continued. "This is the idea that the mind and the brain are separate entities, but that they are somehow, in a manner unknown, related to each other." Jules looked board at this monologue. "The brain consists of tangible entities and neurotransmitters, while the mind is the intangible substance of though, feeling. However, if something is wrong with the brain, it will affect the mind and vice versa. You look board." Chris had just looked at Jules straight in the eye for the first time since his pedantic monologue began.
"Remember our talk about how I'm a PSYCHOLOGICAL profiler?" Jules asked with more irony.
"Yes, and a wise-ass one, who uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism, at that," Chris retorted.
Jules was starting to like this guy. She smiled in humor.
Chris's speech about metaphysics and the Mind-Brain Problem had pointed her towards her personal mission objective in overcoming PTSD.
This mission would be a marathon, not a sprint.
She was now running a metaphysical marathon to learn, define, and understand her existence and current state of being. With knowledge and understanding would come the power to over-come, to change her current existence of panic and re-claim her normal state of being. She needed to solve her own personal Mind-Brain Problem and re-unite these separate spheres into a companionable partnership by which she could return to her normal state of reality.
"Hey Jules," her reverie was interrupted by Sarge.
"Boss." She rose from her chair to greet him.
He wrapped her in a big bear huge akin to the one of two nights ago.
"Good to see you kid." Greg was all smiles.
"Sarge, it's been, like, a day and a half," Jules said pulling away and sitting back down.
"Yeah, I know, but that doesn't mean I don't miss you," he said as he sat down. "Oh, what's this about art work you want to give me?" Greg said with a knowing, teasing grin. "Sam had me on tender-hooks about the 'awesomeness' of it."
"The dog ate it," Jules replied about the non-existent hand-turkey.
"So, how's everybody, Sarge?" A sad light lit the edges of Jules' eyes and mouth. She scuffed. "I bet everyone at the SRU is all a-twitter about how Jules flew over the cuckoo's nest."
Greg smiled, joyful fire in his eyes. "It's good to see your wit is returning."
Jules shrugged innocently in response.
"But, you know Jules, you shouldn't feel bad about being in here for a while." Greg got a bashful smirk on his face. "I've been to a place like this with my own problems and I've never been shot through the chest or jumped off a building to save someone." His smile turned to prideful, loving, encouragement.
"And, he'd probably use his assault rifle on me if he knew I was saying this," Greg continued in a conspiratorial tone. "But, Ed has seen people about PTSD issues every now and then too."
Jules gave him a raised eyebrow look. She obviously already figured this information and it didn't negate her disgust with having to be here.
"It's alright, Sarge. I know I have to be here." She wore a mask of hope and acceptance on her face.
"Well, you're tough, Jules." Greg smiled. "You'll be out of here and back on the job before you know it!"
Jules eyes turned dark and cloudy.
"That's the thing, Sarge. I don't think I'm coming back."
Author's Additional Note: Yes, Sam and Jules dropped the L word. So, that thing about Sarge being afraid of Jules having a panic attack while she was driving and crashing into something really came from real life. When I had Panic Disorder in college, my coach told me that maybe I should stop riding my bike around campus in case I freaked out and got run over. My response was something like, Gee Coachie, how is that gonna be any different from walking and getting run over during a freak-out? So, art imitates life. Hope you guys enjoy the continuing story of angst. Good thing there are a few laughs this time. Geeshe!
Please leave a review and tell me how you think this is going. I could use some constructive criticism and encouragement in continuing such an angst-y story line.