David Swarbrick
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A New Beginning

Standing over his uncle’s casket as it slowly lowered into the ground, Mark Morgan’s mind raced back through memory after memory of the strong relationship the two of them had shared. With every bright flashback that snapped on and off through his conscious imagination, Mark also kept reliving the confusing tragedy that had led him to this point in his life. Why did this have to happen? He thought, and is this nightmare ever going to end? I sure hope so.
He also tried his hardest not to cry, but he just couldn’t hold it in….
Mark was your typical thirty-two year old man. He was around 5’8” tall, and weighed 175 pounds. He was slim and well built, had short dark brown hair, and the deepest, dark brown eyes one could ever gaze into. He was basically an all-around good-looking and quite charming guy, which really drove the ladies wild. Of course there was only one lady for him, and that lady was his beautiful wife Kara; to whom he had been happily married for eight years, and who had just recently became pregnant.
Kara being the lovely woman she was, stood around 5’6” tall, was medium framed, and was very curvy. She had long, straight beautiful auburn colored hair, that was thick with healthiness, and always had a glistening shine to it. She also had the brightest emerald-green eyes that stood out against her soft, pale skin and sparkled like two shiny priceless jewels.

Most people, male or female, could at times become mesmerized just by looking into them, and one could say that in a way, she had sort of an elegant vampirish look to her. Add that into her warm motherly smile, and she could heat the coldest of cold days in most anyone’s heart. No matter how cold or alone one felt, when Kara smiled her smile, and spoke in her soft sensuous voice, she could usually pull anyone from the deepest darkest places that life or circumstances had taken them.
This usually worked for Mark as well, but today, the day he had thought he had finally put his uncle and the past two years of tormenting heartache to rest, was a day Kara’s warm smile, deep green eyes, and ever-so-soft caress, just wouldn’t work. Nor did she try to make it work either, because she, too felt herself to be in a very cold and alone place. And even though for the past two years they’d had a lot of love and strong support from family and friends, the both of them, mainly Mark, still felt alone and cold. It was almost as if time had stopped, and something from a faraway place was slowly taking small pieces of their existence, and little-by-little, piece-by-piece replacing it with a poison that slowly ate away and rotted their warm fiery souls into a pot of lifeless sickness. The kind of sickness that makes a person just not want to live anymore, that’s the way Mark was feeling, more so then Kara. With every racing thought, with every old and new memory, Mark, with Kara by his side, just blankly stared while a Holy man spoke, and the casket finally rested at the bottom of a cold, concrete vault.
Mark wondered if this was finally the end…
No, one part of his mind said, it will never be over.
Yes, another part of his mind said, it’s finally done.
I don’t believe you, another part of his mind said.
Why did this have to happen? Why do I have to be here? It wasn’t supposed to end like this…. Why did this happen??? It all could have been prevented. Mark’s mind kept repeating and racing, will things ever slow down and work out right??? I don’t know man, I feel so sick… I still have to finish paying for this fucking funeral!! I sure hope there’s some money left… Oh thank goodness, it’s finally over…

One month before the death of his uncle, Mark fell under enormous amounts of stress, and this stress started to affect his health, his home life, and his relationships with his friends, family, and wife. He even started having horrible panic attacks that led to days and days of nervousness, paranoia, and sometimes even uncontrollable vomiting. He was sick, and he was also completely slacking off on his work. Work that he had for a long time, held very dear to himself, and also took very seriously. But during the whole ordeal with his uncle, the state, the uncle’s estate, the uncle’s finances, the uncle’s bills, the uncle’s health care, lawyers, state workers, collection agencies, doctors, and nursing homes, he just couldn’t get it together and take it, nor really much of anything else too seriously.
You see Mark was a writer, and he still is, and he’s also a very good one at that. It wasn’t something that happened over night for him, though. For years, probably ever since he was a little boy, Mark struggled to find his place. He never did well in school, he never really had many friends, he never really had much interest in what the majority of his peers were interested in; which made it difficult for him to fit in, but fitting in was also something Mark never really cared about. He still doesn’t. He was always somewhat of an outsider.
He went to college and managed to get an Associate’s Degree in Photography and Applied Science, but he never really did anything with it. He wasn’t passionate enough about it. He only picked that course of study because he thought he could and would make a good paycheck from it; which he probably could have if he’d had the passion that he needed in order to become successful. But he didn’t, so shortly after college, he found himself bouncing for a few years from job to job. Some good, some bad, and some, downright lousy. Things really stunk for Mark, and he knew they stunk. But what could he do? He had no clue, so he just kept going with what he could get. It wasn’t until shortly after he met Kara, that he had finally found his calling, and fully knew what he was supposed to do, and going to do with the rest of his life.
One night while at work, Mark looked around the convenience store he had been employed at, and in his mind he heard this marvelous children's story play out. He heard it play out so plainly, that it was like someone was directly reading it to his mind. So when he got home later that evening, he grabbed a tablet and wrote the whole story down. He then spent a few days editing and revising the story, which he did quite a few times. Soon after that, he found a publisher that was willing to turn the story into a book. Then within a year, Mark had his first book released to the public. Shortly after that, he wrote two more children's books, and three adult novels, which were also released to the public. Over time all of them did fairly well, and it seemed to Mark as though he had found his place. And he did. And he felt really good about it, it, and life itself was all good. But for some reason when tragedy struck, Mark became very depressed, and had his doubts. Not just doubts about his writings or his books; he had doubts about everything. Everything, including life itself; he was very confused.

It was a Mid-November afternoon in Mid-Michigan, the sun was out, the air was crisp and cool. The sky was a deep blue, and a few white clouds hung silently in the pre-wintery background. Mark and Kara had been out late the prior evening, so they were just getting up and about and starting their day.
Walking around their modest home, while Kara began to prepare them both something to eat, Mark started to open some curtains in the main living room of their house. But before he finished, Mark was interrupted by a knock on the front door. So he stopped what he was doing, made his way to the door and looked through the peephole. Surprised to see that it was his uncle’s landlord, Mark quickly opened the door and found himself being told the sad news. News that would have a heart-wrenching effect on not only his own life, but the lives of Kara, his uncle, and many others for quite some time. So heart-wrenching, and downright confusing, that Mark, within a year’s time and at Kara’s requests, found himself-searching for and seeking professional help from a qualified therapist. After some research, he and Kara found a female doctor that the both of them agreed on, and also thought could do Mark some good. She was a local therapist. Named Doctor Susan Downs, she sounded to Mark and Kara to be very promising. She was thirty-nine years old, and had a Master’s Degree in Counseling, Psychology. She was licensed through the state in which they lived as a Limited Licensed Psychologist. She had fifteen years of experience. She worked with ages seven through adult in an outpatient setting. She was an M.A. An L.L.P. a C.A.A.C…
Her areas of special interest were, adolescents/Christian counseling/grief /loss issues/ victims of abuse/eating disorders/ chronic pain/ depression/ anxiety/ obsessive compulsive disorders/stress management/crisis resolution.
She had also published a few different papers on new treatments for people with varied levels of mental illnesses, that were caused from various life-changing trauma. These papers had won her several different awards from many different medical institutions.
At first, Mark had been hesitant about seeing the doctor. He and Kara had even debated over whether or not he would go through with it. After he finally agreed, he found himself thinking, Man, I hope this is worth it…

Session one
Sitting in a large waiting room on a very uncomfortable wood chair that was covered with green padding, Mark stretched his legs out and casually looked around the room. He mentally examined various items such as end tables, magazine racks, hanging plants, precisely hung pictures, plaques, and Exit and Enter signs. While he looked, Mark tried not to look the other people in the room in the eye, nor at the office assistants that were shuffling around as they did their work. Not that he was embarrassed to be there; he just didn’t want anyone to think he had some sort of a staring problem. He was very uncomfortable and his mind raced and bounced from thought to thought. He had no clue as to what he should expect.
Sliding his feet across the rough green carpet beneath his shoes, Mark slid his legs back, and thought as he crossed his ankles over one another, Wow, there’s a lot of people here… Craziness must be going around these days. Man I hope no one recognizes me. I feel so stupid... Do I really need to be here? Yes you promised Kara. Yeah I did, didn’t I?
Taking a quick glance at a clock on the wall adjacent to him, Mark thought again, Man, for only being here ten minutes, it sure as hell seems like it’s been a lot longer.
“Mark Morgan.” A stern, but rather feminine female voice then called from behind him.
“Yeah, that’s me.” Mark replied as he stood up, turned around, and immediately saw a strawberry blond-haired woman with glasses leaning through an open door that she held open with her left elbow.
She was wearing a very nice-looking light blue business dress, and, “Right this way,” she said with a smile.
Making his way to the open door while the woman turned around, Mark stepped through and followed her down a long hallway.
Quickly coming to an open door, Mark casually followed the woman through and looked around at what was obviously her office.
The woman said, “Please, have a seat and make yourself comfortable.”
Stepping to a very nice looking couch, Mark sat down and looked around some more. He quickly gazed at the various items that were perfectly placed and neatly nestled around the office.
The woman stepped to a desk and sat down on a very comfortable looking black padded chair with small wheels.
She pushed a lever and adjusted the chair‘s back, and said as she looked at Mark with a smile, “Okay, now that’s done. My name is Susan, and you’re obviously Mark, right?”
“Yep, that’s me.”
“Okay then. I’ve read the assessment paperwork you filled out before your scheduled appointment, and from what I’ve gathered, you’re having some problems with severe anxiety and depression.”
“Oh yeah, I sure am.”
“Any thoughts of suicide?”
“No,” Mark replied with a smile, “never, but if a few people I knew did commit suicide, I can’t say I would be sad about it.”
“Well, sometimes, when one’s angry, it’s normal to think that way. Unless the thoughts are overwhelming, then feeling that way could become a danger. Are they overwhelming?”
“No, they’re not overwhelming, the thoughts, just like the racing thoughts I keep experiencing lately, come and go.”
Doctor Susan adjusted her glasses and said, “Well, experiencing anger is human. However, overbearing anxiety and depression is a problem, and I’m here to help you with that, and to also teach you some coping methods. That way we can hopefully avoid psychiatric meds, because I’m a firm believer that if they can be avoided, then by all means, avoid them. What do you think?”
“Oh yeah I agree, and I would like to definitely avoid any, if not all the meds I can.”
“Okay good…. Now what do you think triggered your symptoms, the emotions, the anxiety and depression, or when it all started?”
“Oh, I know when it all started. That was a while ago. I’d been feeling lousy for quite some time. But it really didn’t affect me too much. It wasn’t until about a month ago that those feelings started to have a big effect on me and the people around me.”
“Okay then, lets go back to where you would say it all started.” Doctor Susan then leaned back and crossed her legs together while Mark carried on.
“Well about a year and a half ago I got a knock on the door. It was my uncle’s landlord. He lived… He meaning my uncle, lived in a mobile home park that’s only a few blocks from my house. I hadn’t heard from him in a long time. At least two years. He acted like he wanted nothing to do with me or anyone else. So after a short time of trying to stay in contact and keeping up to date with him, I gave up, which really hurt for a long time. Because for the longest time we were the best of friends. I had thought for a long time that I did something wrong, but there was another side of my mind that was telling me I didn’t do anything wrong, and that there was something wrong with him. I just couldn’t prove it. So like I said before, I gave up on him.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“Terrible,” Mark replied, “and helpless. My guts told me he was sick and needed help, and I wanted so badly to help him. But there was nothing I could do, he refused help. I even called Adult Protective Services to help him, but when they went to his home, he threw them out.”
“What made you think he needed help, and why did you call A.P.S.?”
“Because he had a different look in his eyes. Now I’m not a professional, but I knew what I saw… And what I saw wasn’t good……”
“Well, go on. What did you see?”
Mark leaned to the side of the couch, slid his feet around, and said, “What I saw was the look of complete madness, and I don’t mean anger. He had, and still does have, and I know that this is a cruel way to put it, but he’s got the look of a loony person. You know; the look of someone that’s slowly losing their mind, or has already lost it. That’s what he looked like, and I don’t care who you are, you know that look when you see it…. Something was terribly wrong with his mind, so I called A.P.S… Plus he was living in complete, downright, and totally disgusting filth. But yet like I said before, he threw them out, and they told me if he’s not a threat to himself, then there’s nothing they can do. Yeah right, I’d say when a man has lost his mind, and he’s living in a home that’s caked in human urine, blood, garbage, and feces, that he’s a threat to himself, and his neighbors. Wouldn’t you?”
“Yes I would say so.”
“Thanks for agreeing with me,” Mark replied and said as he sat back up. He kept moving around like he was really uncomfortable, “People are so fucking stupid….Anyways… When I spoke with his landlord, he told me that he hadn’t heard from John…”
“John being your uncle?” Doctor Susan asked.
“Yes, that’s correct. He hadn’t seen or heard from him in about ten days, and the last time he’d seen John, he looked really, really bad.”
“Bad as in being sick?”
“Yep, that’s right.. As a matter of fact, the landlord said that.”
Mark’s mind as he leaned forward momentarily flashed back to the conversation he had with John’s landlord, and for a moment it was like he was there all over again having the same exchange.
“The last I’d seen him, John looked like death warmed over,” The landlord had said.
“I’ll go down and see what’s going on…..” Mark cleared his throat, and flashed back into where he really was, leaned back, and continued. “I really didn’t want to go though.”
“Because I had, had a bad feeling, and so did Kara.”
“My wife.”
“Okay, sorry.”
“I also kind of knew what was going to happen, and also what I was gonna find. You just sometimes know these kind of things…. You know what I mean?”
“Oh yeah, I sure do.” Doctor Susan replied. She also cleared her throat, reached to her desk, and took a sip from a cup of water while Mark carried on.
“Anyways, rather than go down there, I decided to call his house. But after about fifty rings and numerous tries, no one answered. Of course I didn’t expect anyone to either. So after about an hour of dragging my feet, Kara convinced me to go and check things out. A lot of good that was gonna do though. I didn’t have a key, that’s what the landlord originally wanted, he wanted to know if I had a key so he could let himself in to see if John was okay. But I didn’t have one. I used to though. When I gave up on John I threw it out. Bad mistake. Maybe, who knows? Anyways, so I got myself together, I was somewhat nervous, I drove down to the trailer park and made my way to John’s trailer. Then after about ten minutes of banging on the doors and trying to see into a couple of windows, I gave up and pulled out the old cell phone, dialed 911, and told them the situation. Soon after, the local township pigs arrived and I told them the situation.