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message 1: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Here's the thread!

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Thanks! Can you repost the idea?

message 3: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Two long-time high school rivals that never can seem to see eye to eye both struggle with mental illness. Muse A has been going to group therapy and is shocked when one day Muse B joins. As they slowly open up about their hardships over time, it humanizes them to each other, and they must confront where their grudges really come from and find support in one another.

(view spoiler)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments :)

Okay. I don’t mind playing the guy. Do you have any specific ideas you want to incorporate in with this?

message 5: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Just an idea for my character that came to mind!
I’m thinking of doing someone with generalized and social anxiety. She has known your character for a long time though, maybe since childhood, and she tends to be more outspoken around him with their rivalry, especially when they are just one on one.
Maybe she could be Muse B (the one newly joining the group), following the recommendation of her therapist to put herself out there. What do you think?

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Ooh okay. That sounds good.

message 7: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Great! Anything to add, or want to starts on characters? :)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Hmm. I’m just trying to think for my character’s reason to be in therapy, maybe anxiety/depression from some sort of trauma?

Sure, we can start on characters!

message 9: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments That idea is alright with me!

Do you prefer longer character profiles, or just the basics?

message 10: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Sounds good!

I usually do just the basics but am good with doing a more detailed one if you prefer. I usually just don’t write out much of a history at the start cause I figure it out as I go.

message 11: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Basics/building history as we go works for me!

message 12: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Okay! I’ll get mine up in a few.

message 13: by Melancholist (last edited May 13, 2020 05:04PM) (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Name: Nina

Age: 17? Or I could do older, I'll just see what matches your character :)


message 14: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Name: Seth

Age: 17


message 15: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Great! Would you like to start, or should I?

message 16: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Could you please?

message 17: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Yep!

message 18: by Melancholist (last edited May 13, 2020 05:23PM) (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments ((Sorry it's a little short! Normally I do longer :) ))

Nina did not want to go to class, not today. Once upon a time, academics had been her thing, that is, as long as group projects were out of the picture, but it was just so hard to show up these days. And today she had a book presentation. In front of a literature class - and a literature class with Seth, at that.

She sighed deeply as she closed her locker. She took a step in the classes direction. Do your best because that is all you can do. Do your best because that is all you can do. Nina chanted in repeat in her head. Step, another step, another step. You've got this.

message 19: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments (It’s all good)

Seth was there early, he was always early to class and to everything. He had to be or else more panic would set in. He made a quick stop at his locker to drop off his stuff before heading to his literature class. He was dreading his presentation that he had to do, betting he’d get some sort of snark from Nina that would just mess things up. He took a breath and shook his head.

Nope. No thinking. Can’t freak out if there’s nothing going on in there he thought to himself as he walked into the class. Seth sat in his assigned seat in the front, sighing quietly.

message 20: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Nina made it into class and didn't turn to dash right out the door, so maybe that was a victory in itself. Her assigned seat was next to Seth. The teacher, she supposed, didn't exactly get the memo that such a soft-spoken girl couldn't get along with this classmate. Socially anxious people could be as headstrong as anyone else though, after all.

She dutifully got out her things first, but then turned to him. "What are you doing your report on?" She asked, a hint of a smirk on her lips that promised snark was to come. Nina didn't feel malice toward Seth in this moment, really. She just needed a distraction in order to keep her feet planted on the floor.

message 21: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth bounced his knee anxiously, keeping an eye on the door as he kept an eye on everyone and everything around him. He set his things on the desk before shooting a glance at Nina. He stopped himself from rolling her eyes at the question.

“Christine by Stephen King. What about you?” He asked, raising an eyebrow at her. He tried to keep his emotions in check but snark or anger from Nina rarely was that loud so it didn’t bother him as much as someone yelling or anything.

message 22: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments "More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera." She responded. More students started to file in, making Nina feel confined, like she was in a crowd. She clicked her pen nervously. "Now about Stephen read it because you actually like it, or do you read it because want to seem deep?" She said it in a tone as if she thought it was the ladder. Pretty hypocritical of her considering how much she read The Shining, which was potentially much more pretentious of her given its popularity.

message 23: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth rolled his eyes at her. “Better to seem deep than to read something shallow that considers happiness a scale.” He commented back with the same snark, judging the book by the title. He hadn’t read anything by Adam Silvera, not liking how bittersweet the descriptions sounded so he never actually opened them up. He actually liked Christine though it was dark. For some reason, it’d drawn him in and he actually enjoyed breaking it down and analyzing it. But Nina didn’t need to know that. She’d snark at him no matter what he said.

message 24: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments She rolled her eyes back at him. She didn't really agree with that sentiment. In fact, she journaled a rating her anxiety, sadness, etc., on a scale of one to ten several times a day. It helped her not generalize her feelings into 'always' feeling scared or 'always' feeling depressed; things changed, at least a little. Nina just hoped they'd change more soon and go down to 5's instead her giving her heightened emotions a rating in the 7's through 10's.

Still, she didn't say that to Seth. Frankly, if she started a philosophical debate with him, she'd probably lose. He was better at that stuff from her.

"Alright, class, attention up here." The teacher said. He turned on the video camera that would film each student's presentation individually, so they could look back on their speech and see how they could improve. He also passed out templates where the classmates would write notes to each student on their takeaways from each speech, so the teacher would know they were actually listening. Torture, pure torture. Nina thought.

"First up is Nina!" The teacher announced. Days ago the students signed up for slots. Nina had signed up for going first because she'd figured it'd be good to get it over with. It felt like a terrible mistake now. She gave a wobbly smile, then headed to the front of her class.

message 25: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Sage knew that most emotions were on a scale but he never really understood it. He didn’t feel in the middle most of the the time. He was either at zero or at ten. Zero meaning he was pretty numb and just going with it, ten meaning he was super amped up and either anxious or sometimes a bit aggressive. It was never intended towards people, more like just too much tension building up until he snapped.

He focused on the teacher as they began talking and gave out the worksheet. Thankfully, he wasn’t going until the end so at that point he doubted anyone would actually be paying attention. He wrote his name down before glancing at Nina as she headed up front to present.

message 26: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments It's just five terrible minutes of your life. Nina thought oh-so optimistically. She didn't know what to do with her hands, so her nails just dug into her palms. Her eyes were on the floor. But she had to do this presentation to save her grades. She'd let herself get overwhelmed too often and gotten behind on too many things.

Nina didn't remember much of what she said in her speech; the nerves made her block it out. She remembered vaguely talking about the main characters, some of the main topics, saying that it was maybe about 'choosing to be happy' among other things. Part of the way through, she met eyes with Seth, who confusingly was the only person she could figure out how make eye contact with in the entire class. At first it made Nina feel way worse. Then, it made her feel stronger. She had to be stronger. She couldn't just give him material to make fun of her.

What she didn't mention the themes of suicide; she had this odd feeling that somehow people would see through to her brain and catch on that it hadn't been too long ago that she'd considered it. But ultimately, her therapist had told her if she was passionate, then people would look past the nerves. When she got back to her seat, it seemed to Nina that she was wrong. People wrote on the feedback sheets 'take a deep breath' and 'slow down' and 'it was hard to understand'. She sighed quietly and rested her cheek in her palm. Why do you have to present yourself in a certain way just to be heard? Nina wondered. Hm...what did Seth put?

message 27: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth actually paid attention to her speech. He was fidgety was always but he seemed to be listening and actually focusing on what she was saying. He didn’t quite feel like he really understood what the book was about but he still wrote down feedback in his messy handwriting. choosing to be happy is a good point, albeit flawed, might help to explain it a bit more how it is a choice. Also, maybe try looking at the back wall instead of the floor, makes it look like you’re actually looking at people. he scrawled before slouching back in his seat. He didn’t care if she saw his comment, knowing she’d probably have snark for his presentation anyways.

message 28: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Nina gave him a glance and vaguely wondered if his 'look at the wall' comment was friendly advise, or if it was even more snark. No, no. Of course she knew which one it was. He was her rival.

As the presentations continued, she wrote lukewarm feedback to students, neither critical nor of praise, with the occasional absent doodle on the page. She was a rare person that paid attention to it all, though. Yeah, it was boring, but Nina felt like zoning out just made everything feel very long. Finally, it got to Seth's turn.

message 29: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth got more fidgety and tense as the presentations went on, knowing his turn was coming up. He bit his lip roughly when the teacher called his name before standing up and heading to the front of the room. His hands shook slightly so he stuffed them in his hoodie pocket, not caring that that would likely get him marked down.

He glanced around the room before starting his presentation, mainly talking about the themes of revenge and obsession that were present in the book without giving away too many details that would spoil anything. His voice was low but he spoke calmly and clearly, shifting on his feet and glancing around as he spoke. Once he finished, he glanced at their teacher before going and sitting down. It didn’t go as bad as he thought it would but he still didn’t feel great about it.

message 30: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Nina conspired on how she would throw him off his game most for her to write on the feedback sheet. Maybe if she put something somewhat would stump him? Not bad. Nina wrote in neat cursive. She had a period at the end of her two-word sentence because an exclamation point would seem...far too eager. Honestly, she did feel like it was 'not bad', not that she'd tell him that Ha ha. This would show him.

Then again, he probably wouldn't bother to read hers. She passed it in any way.

message 31: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth glanced over his sheet before offering it up to the teacher when they came by. He noticed what Nina had written about his presentation and raised an eyebrow but he didn’t comment on it. He hoped that it simply meant that she and the rest of the class had barely been paying attention to his presentation. He cleaned up his stuff, glancing at the clock to see they had just a few minutes left.

message 32: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments This was the last class of the day, something Nina was thankful for. She was the second person to enter the class, but the first person to leave it. She felt like she deserved a break, maybe a long bubble bath or watch a favorite TV show and eat a pint of ice cream or something, but she had no such luxury. She had another challenge ahead: her first time in therapy group. Nina hated, hated, hated the idea of it. She'd opposed it for months. She feared people enough that she didn't want them in her life most of the time. But all the heated debates with her therapist about it was really not helping her move forward at all. Alright. Back to her locker.

message 33: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Though Seth was the first one in the classroom, he was the last to leave. He hated the crowded noisy hallways at the end of the day so he usually just stayed in the classroom for a few extra minutes. Once the hallways had quieted a bit, he went to his locker and got his stuff before heading out to his car to head to where the group therapy was. He’d been going for a while though he never admitted it to anyone. It was supposed to help though the only part he found helpful was that a couple therapy dogs were there as part of the group sessions and he would always end up close to one of them.

He drove to the office and sat in his car for a few before heading inside. He went to the meeting room, stepping inside since the door was open.

message 34: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments Nina, too, drove herself to the group, hands tight on the wheel. She took deep breaths. She’d gotten by her whole life by pretending she was okay, but one day, the polite facade went too far and she just...snapped. It shocked her more than anyone. The ‘golden child’ act could only go so long. Had sudden panic attacks that eventually lead to crying, screaming, throwing things (not at people, just a lack of control), thankfully only in her own home so far, not that her parents knew how to handle it. She was new to therapy, but she had needed it for a long, long time. Still, doing something in a group was not a level of admission that she was familiar or comfortable with.

So, you can imagine the shock and the horror when she was 2nd to arrive. She saw the blue eyes, the distinctly gauges ears .

“Uhmmmm,” Nina began, freezing in the doorway. “Fancy meeting you here.” She blurted out. Damn social anxiety.

message 35: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth had been through a lot though he didn’t talk about it Except to his therapist usually. He figured nobody needed to Know. It wasn’t important. One of the therapy dogs was there already with the therapist that led the group so Seth sat on the floor and began petting the dog, it immediately relaxing him a bit. He tensed suddenly when he heard Nina’s voice. He quickly shot a glance over to confirm it was her before just shaking his head and looking away. “You following me or something?” He replied with a bit of snark.

message 36: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments You following me or something? This was so far from the truth that her jaw dropped a little. “Honestly, this is the last place I want to be. That’s how everyone starts out, right?” She said frankly, a hand on her hip. It was then that she noticed the dogs when one licked her protruding elbow. She smiled much more warmly in spite of herself at then, not necessarily because it made everything better, but just her instant reaction to all dogs. Nina certainly didn’t sit across from him, but in fact the farthest corner from him.

message 37: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments “Hmm. Might wanna change that mindset if you plan on getting out of here anytime soon.” Seth replied quietly. He kept his focus on the dog sitting by him, ignoring the look from the therapist.
“Seth, enough..” the therapist cautioned before glancing at the girl who’d come in. “Hi there. You must be Nina, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Ryan.” He greeted kindly, offering her a slight smile.
Seth cooperated and kept his mouth shut. He figured If he ignored her then maybe it’d be like she wasn’t there.

message 38: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments “Thanks.” Nina said to the therapist, nodding. After all, her ‘attitude’ was dedicated to one person in particular. “Sooo, is this the only group time or is there another one I could go to...?”

“Why?” The therapist asked pateientlu.

Her greyish blue eyes darted to Seth. “We know each other, and I feel awkward about it.” She was just going to say it flat out.

“I’m afraid not. We could always process it through in the group though if you’d like. That’s what it’s all about here, after all.” He smiled.

Nina managed to not roll her eyes. What a therapist-like answer. “Rather not. I- I mean we,” she gave a pointed look at Seth, “can deal.” Again, she couldn’t give him the power to make her walk away from something that was allegedly good for her. Nina beckoned to a dog and it was happy to come over to be pet.

message 39: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth kept petting the dog close to him, listening to Nina and the therapist talk. He spoke up after a moment. “Anything that’s talked about here stays here. It’s the whole point of the confidentiality stuff.” He commented with a glance towards the therapist rather than to Nina. He took a breath and pulled his hoodie sleeves down over his hands a bit as more people began to come in. The group was just for teens so there weren’t many of them, only eight currently including Nina and Seth. Seth greeted them all quietly though he didn’t move from his spot on the floor.

message 40: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments It was sort of helpful. Of course, there was no way in hell that she saw a path of fully opening up with him in attendance, but the confidentiality thing was good to remember. Some people that came in the room gave her small wave, and she'd give a shy wave back, but couldn't quite find words. Some people looked like their thoughts were some where else. Fair enough.

"Alright." The therapist rubbed his hands together. "Who would like to check in today?"

message 41: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth glanced at some of the others as they took their seats. He kept ignoring Nina though, figuring that was the easiest solution to avoid talking to her. He glanced to the therapist, debating if he wanted to check in or not. He raised his hand after a couple people spoke.

Once the therapist called on him, he started talking quietly. “Well. I did my presentation in class Without panicking. I’m still not sleeping.”

message 42: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments ?

message 43: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments ((Sorry! Went through some hard times that consumed me for a bit, ready to revisit this if you happen to be interested. If not I understand!))

In spite of herself, she was interested in what Seth had to say. And this was true. His presentation had been pretty good, not panicky. If she said that though, she'd embarrass them both. "I..." she began, nervous at the sudden eyes of strangers turning to her, even if their gazes were a bit apathetic or understandably preoccupied with their own things going on, "I mean, like, what's the main things that are keeping you up at night?" She looked down at the table, then looked at him.

message 44: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth shifted closer to the dog, not looking at her. He was partially in disbelief that she’d actually replied with a question for him instead of snark. “That seems like a loaded question. But I just generally don’t sleep. Nothing all that complicated.” He answered quietly.

message 45: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments This response left her feeling slightly stupid. Seth had always been pretty guarded person at least when it came to her, case and point she'd known him forever, since childhood, but hardly truly knew him. They were rivals in the first place. Nina wasn't sure why she thought it was some great idea to just out and ask him that. Being new to the group, she guessed she'd just assumed everyone was already let in as to why Seth didn't sleep right and was trying to get on the same page so she might have more to offer, but she'd been wrong. Nina opened her palms in an 'I come in know, temporarily' gesture. "Alright."

The therapist had some follow up questions. "It's great that you did your presentation, Seth. Did you use any skills to help you through it?" The therapist was mostly referring to skills like 'deep breathing' or 'staying mindful of the present moment', things like that.

message 46: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth knew that others in the group may have a bit more of a clue as to why he didn't sleep but he didn't really want to let Nina get on the same page yet. Even if this stayed separate from school, it would only give Nina more ammunition against him. He glanced to her for a moment before looking away.

He glanced up at the therapist. "No, I honestly just kinda disconnected from it and then it was done. Not even sure how I did." He admitted quietly.

message 47: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments The therapist nodded thoughtfully. "Well, 'avoiding avoiding'," He began, and Nina had heard of this before, where you stopped avoiding things so they didn't snowball, "is a skill within itself, and you practiced it by doing that speech. It's something worth being proud of." Some of the other teens nodded, which gave Nina the sense that Seth was at least somewhat liked here by some people. "Do you have anything else that you'd like to check in about, Seth?" The therapist asked. Nina hoped so, so that maybe she could be skipped or something.

message 48: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth shrugged slightly. It didn't feel like something to be proud of but he just was gonna go with it rather than arguing, especially with Nina there. He shook his head. "No. I'm good." He mumbled quietly, shifting and slouching a bit as he played with the cuffs of his hoodie.

message 49: by Melancholist (new)

Melancholist | 1028 comments "Alright Nina, you're next." The therapist said.

She straightened her back, looking uncomfortable. When people thought of social anxiety, they sometimes thought this just meant being quiet, but for her, it was more like either not talking at all or nervously oversharing, with little in-between. It was hard to be vulnerable when it opened you up to criticism - and truly, it had blown up in her face before - but Nina was usually soft-hearted and the truth just seemed to come out of her whether she wanted it to or not. "My grades are tanking for the first time in my life, and my parents are...not taking it well. Their theory is that I'm lazy, and I dunno, maybe they're right, but I really don't know how to do better than I'm doing."

message 50: by Fallen Catalyst (new)

Fallen Catalyst (fallencatalyst) | 11803 comments Seth did still pay attention and listen to Nina though he didn't look like her or act like it. He tilted his head slightly at her admission, knowing that certainly wasn't what he would have expected her to be saying. He kept his mouth shut.

The therapist nodded slightly at her admission. "They can't always understand everything that happens mentally that can get in the way of grades. If you're doing the best you can currently with the energy you have to give then that's enough." They assured.

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