BG 219 – Sentence

He had asked her if she had time for a one-on-one conversation with him in his office after the group therapy session and she had thought ‘busy, busy, busy’ and said ‘of course, no problem, I can take a later bus home’, and so there they were now; he got them each a cup of tea and a biscuit, and he asked her what she thought about the session and she said she thought it had been a good one and that a number of participants had benefited a lot from it, especially A and F, and that she had also learned something from it, and he advised her to focus more on her own problems from now on, to which, after she had chewed a bite of her cookie, she asked in surprise what he meant by that, and he explained to her that he had the impression that she had noticed from at least three people at the same time what was going on inside them, how they were feeling, what they were saying, whispering or out loud, and even what they had not yet said, but probably would have liked to say, whereupon she confirmed that this was the case, that she was indeed aware of everything around her, without consciously choosing to do so: for example what was going on in the minds of the others and what emotions they felt, whether suppressed or not, after which she took a sip of her tea, and that this did not only apply to the three participants he had mentioned, but to all eleven others, and that she also noticed when someone reacted shocked to something, or had tears in their eyes, or had looked disapprovingly, whereupon he asked stirring his tea how she managed that, since their chairs had been standing in a circle, and she said that she saw it, but sometimes also just felt it, noticed it through a muffled cough, shuffling on a chair, a deep sigh, that she did not consciously pay attention to it, but that she still experienced it all, that she thought that was normal, that many people experienced it that way, because it had been that way all her life, that she was not only aware of everything that was going on in the therapy group and of how each participant in the group felt at any given moment, and of how delicious this cookie was, but that she also strongly felt the urge to help them, whereupon he said that she was also in therapy and that the intention was for her to mainly focus on her own problems, meanwhile she drank her tea, and that it was his job, as an experienced therapist, to direct the session, to decide who and what to pay attention to at any given moment and that it was not necessary for her to keep alerting him to anyone who was having a hard time or to anyone who wanted to speak but couldn’t bring themselves to do so, in the meantime she ate the rest of her cookie while nodding, that she didn’t have to tell him who he should pay special attention to at that moment, because that was his job, and she said after her last sip of tea that she did not do that on purpose, but that it happened naturally, just like when she, while passionately participating in the group conversation, also noticed when someone passed by in the corridor outside their closed room and sometimes also who that was, by his or her gait, and that she ‘car…’ noticed every car that passed on the road, about thirty meters from the building, ‘another car…’, and when, and whether it was a passenger car, or a heavier means of transport, such as a truck, or a bus, which made very different sounds, in addition to humming also hissing, and that she noticed it when in the room next to theirs and also outside in the open air, there was laughter, or occasionally there were loud or angry voices, that she noticed when someone on the other side of the wall shifted a chair across the linoleum floor, that there was a small crack in the cup that she had just put back on its saucer, and that she heard it when the telephone rang in the distance at the reception desk and how long it took before it was answered, often very long…, and he tactically commented that it must all be very tiring, to which she replied that she indeed felt constantly tired, but yes, that made sense, given everything she had experienced and everything she constantly absorbed, what she thought, what she analyzed, what she suspected, what she wanted to help with, when she wanted to defend or cheer someone up, when she wanted to address someone about something, and when she wanted to comfort someone, with a hug or with words, or to give a compliment about a new haircut or a nice blouse, and when she thought about everything that she would like to do today or tomorrow, and he noted that that was not normal, that it did not work that way with other people, that he did not mean that in a negative way, on the contrary, that he had great admiration for her, but that it was actually impossible to do, impossible to sustain, in between he drank his last bit of tea, and that it was no wonder she had had those serious health problems and that she, now that those were behind her, he licked a last cookie crumb from his index finger, should better learn to be nicer to herself, instead of always to others, that she’d better spend her scarce energy on herself and on her creative talents, she saw that a button on his shirt was hanging loose, and that she’d better learn to filter the information around her, she pictured a coffee filter in her mind, and learn to choose what to focus her attention on and especially what not, and that he would like to help her with that in a number of private sessions, after which she said with an apologetic grin that he was going to have a real challenge with that, with her, because she meant it all so well, but yes, she brushed a crumb off the table, that she, that she…, well, that she… ; that at the time there was no word for high sensitivity yet.