I'm a longtime contributor to , and have been considering experimenting with a "straight" romance. After seeing Silver Linings" and especially reading the book, I came up with an idea to try out. I have rather mixed feelings about the film, mainly because I'm involved in advocacy related to mental health and I'm still not sure if the storyline was intended to be as hair-raising as I found it to be, but I was quite impressed with the book. This fan fic is intended to be a mix of elements from both, and discusses a real therapy I believe may have influenced the story. The "backstory" offered here is simply the kind of outcome that came to my mind watching the film.
Pat Peoples sat in the black leather chair in Dr. Cliff Patel's office. He always preferred the brown one, because it was more positive, but he had been happy to relinquish it to Tiffany, his wife of almost one and a half years. They had their chairs scooched together so they could hold hands. Tiff had her other hand on a bulge in her midriff. Dr. Patel sat across from Pat, but he was there primarily to observe. The leader for their session was Tiff's therapist, Dr. Esther Lily, who made Pat think of the heroine of Sylvia Plath's depressing novel.
"Tiffany has told me a great deal about you, Pat," Dr. Lily said. "Dr. Patel has also consulted with me about your case, especially as the two of you have become more involved. In the interest of forthrightness, I must say at the start, Patrick, that I do not share your belief in `happy endings'. From my experience and perspective, for those in your position, there are only stories that have ended badly, and those with bad endings still waiting to happen. The endings I can foresee for you- both of you- are worse than most.
"As matters presently stand, you have both come very close to facing criminal charges on account of each other. Tiffany's offer to place you in contact with your ex-wife, even absent any intention to carry out the bargain in truth, easily qualified as soliciting an illegal act. Her deception was clearly a factor in your final attempt to contact Nikki directly, which placed yourself and others in danger. The only reason you were not prosecuted immediately and to the full extent of the law was because the prosecutor's office was more interested in the possibility of charging Tiffany for your misconduct. In the meantime, certain members of both your families petitioned for legal orders prohibiting the two of you from having any contact with each other. In all likelihood, the only reason none of these developments materialized was that I accepted full responsibility for giving Tiffany the idea."
Pat straightened up. "Wait... What, you said I should write to Nikki?"
Dr. Lily frowned. "Yes, and emphatically no," she said. "I suggested that she talk to you about an exercise we had performed as part of her therapy. She was convinced, and I will not say she was wrong, that you would be unwilling to accept the intended parameters of the activity."
Tiffany stroked Pat's hand. "It's like this. If there's someone in your past who hurt you, and you really want to say something even if you can't and shouldn't, then you put it in a letter instead. You aren't supposed to send it to the real person, or even imagine sending it for real. You do it for yourself, for closure, and just to get it out of your system. When I did it, it was to the drunk who killed Tommy. I did a bunch, and Dr. Lily and I read them all together. When she decided I had come far enough, we burned them all. It helped me get out of a really bad place, and we both thought it could work for you if you would try it. The problem was how to get you to do it, when you couldn't get over the idea of seeing Nikki in person. I hoped, if I could just get you writing, it would help you start to move on."
Pat looked into her teary eyes. "It did. It really did."
Dr. Patel spoke: "We discussed your family planning together, evidently more than Tiffany did with Dr. Lily. I stand by what I told you: Your experiences helping Ronnie and Veronica take care of Emily show that you are more than fit as a parent. You have also waited a reasonable amount of time, which was impressive after the short time you waited to remarry. For the most part, Tiffany has shown herself to be capable. However, there have been certain episodes that clearly present cause for concern."
"I get headaches; so what?" Tiffany said. "I can't help it if a crying baby is one of the things that sets them off."
"We already discussed this, often," Dr. Lily said. "Your headaches are stress-induced migraines. If one particular stimulus has triggered them on multiple occasions, it is a clear indication of an underlying psychiatric problem. I believe that it is related to your feelings about not having children with your first husband. It would appear that these issues are not yet resolved, and the life changes you are going through will certainly make matters worse. What you need is further therapeutic intervention."
"Yeah? So what do I do now?" Tiff said. "Write a letter that won't get delivered to a drunk-driving paralegal."
"No, you have done quite enough with that," Dr. Lily said. "I would remind you that I have repeatedly advised you to discuss the contents of those letters with your husband. In any event, this is not solely an issue of grieving, but one which arose well before Tommy's death. Any therapy should be directed accordingly."
"What does that mean?" Tiff said.
"I think," Pat guessed, "that they want you to try writing to Tommy."