Kamran gives Astraea some mental exercises. She is, as can be expected for a Scorpian, dubious (after all, it's not something she can punch).
Location: RP Room 4
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1527
Another day, another session. Astraea has, at least, managed the 'two a week.' No more, no less. There had to be some rescheduling to lead up to this session because of her new punishment duty assignments. Like a handful of others, she got engaged in a bit of fisticuffs (as they would call it) with the Royal Marines at Camp Thorpe. And like those that got 'down and dirty,' she's on some un-fun duties. The worst schedules. Flying the least liked sort of missions.
Also like some of the others, she hasn't shown an ounce of regret other than to bitch about the schedule. She's Scorpian. She has no love lost for Virgans. Her distaste for the colony may not be to the extent of Taurans, but it's certainly there.
When she appears at Kamran's door, it's in a rumpled uniform. She looks like she just rolled out of bed and the coffee mug in hand pays testament to the fact that she's likely not been awake for very long.
Kamran isn't too bad to work with, when it somes to rescheduling. He's been eager to be flexible in order to reaccomodate Astraea. "Hi," he says when she appears. "Come on in and have a seat."
"Uh-huh," Astraea offers quietly as she ekes her way in. The Raptor pilot takes a sip of her coffee as she lowers herself into the chair across from Kamran's desk. Her hair is a bit of a mess; curls going every which way. The mug is looked down into as she lowers it and her hands to rest against her lap.
"So you're on punishment duties, I gather," Kamran says, but his tone is relatively light. As usual, he has some forms and a legal pad nearby. "How are you doing with that?"
"Yeah," Astraea agrees in a quiet -- almost sullen -- voice. She shifts slightly in the chair, not quite looking up at Geoff. There's a small shrug from the woman. "Better'n bein' put in th' brig or somethin' I suppose." Which can often be a possibilty. NJP'd for fighting other soldiers is a relatively small price to pay. She takes a deep breath. "Just tired is all."
Kamran nods faintly. "You're not the only one who had been MIA that was involved in that conflict, are you?" he asks.
Lifting a hand from her mug, Astraea reaches up to tug absently at a few curls. "I wasn't," she says quietly. "Rhodes was, but that was it. None of th' others were there." And she obviously has no understanding of the preacher's particular reasons for such anger being connected as well.
Kamran nods faintly. "Do you think it's a coincidence that you were both involved?"
"Prob'ly?" Astraea looks up finally, dropping her hand from her hair. She frowns across the desk at Kamran. "What's it got to do with anythin'? Th' marines got into it an' I wasn't gonna stand by an' let th' frakkin' cocks go after fellow Wolves." Even if Aldrich was the one to throw the first punch.
I'm asking you," Kamran replies, blinking back at her. "How were you feeling before that conflict developed?"
Running her tongue over her lower lip, Astraea goes quiet and looks down to a point on Kamran's desk just in front of her. She finally gives a small shrug, shaking her head. "I... dunno. I just went for one of 'em. It was just this... need, this compulsion. I had... I had to," she fiinshes, lamely, frowning before she lifts her mug for a drink.
Kamran nods. "And how were you feeling before you even got into the situation?" he asks. "How were you feeling that day?"
"I guess..." Astraea offers the word slowly as she thinks. The woman sighs, finally, giving a small shrug. "Frustrated. Same as I always feel. Anxious, mebbe. It was jes' pickin' up Soundbite, but I always worry when I'm out there that... it's gonna happen again."
"You mean that you'd be captured again?" Kamran prompts. "Do you want to talk a little bit about what that fear feels like?"
There's a slow nod from the pilot, tension causing a muscle in her jaw to quiver. Astraea tries to lean back in the chair, but can't find anything comfortable. She ends up leaning forward with elbows on her thighs; holding the mug in the empty space between her knees. "It's... just fear, yeah? I've... been hit by rockets enough times I'm already paranoid, but now I just wonder... if I get hit, am I gonna wake up in a cage again?"
Kamran nods, his dark eyes on her as she responds. "How are you dealing with that fear?"
The Scorpian shrugs a bit, tapping a finger against the outside of the mug. "Tryin' to ignore it. It... ain't like I can let it affect me, yeah? I've got a job to do." Astraea swallows. "So I just... put it outta my head, much as I can."
"Hm," Kamran says. "With that strategy, have you noticed that your feelings of stress have generally gone up, down, or stayed the same?"
"I... I dunno," Astraea admits with a quiet honesty. She turns the mug slowly in her hands and shakes her head a bit. "I feel... stressed an' angry an' scared an' alone all th' frakkin' time. How'm I s'pposed to know if one's doin' better than th' other?"
Kamran nods at that. "Well, I'm talking about all those negative feelings together," he says. "There are a couple of techniques that you might try incorporating into your day if your current strategies aren't bringing down your stress levels."
The jig sighs briefly, rolling her shoulders in a shrug. Astraea lifts her mug and downs the remaining coffee before setting the empty cup on the edge of Kamran's desk in a relatively clear spot. "An' what're those? I'm shit at meditation."
"Well, I'm not sure what kind of meditation you've tried in the past, but these are all pretty straightforward techniques rather than being spiritual or mystical in any way. He turns to a filing cabinet and takes out two worksheets. "They're not meant to take up a lot of time, so you can just humor me and try them for a couple of weeks and tell me how it feels to do these things and we can go from there," he suggests. "Now, this first sheet is about a technique we call 'mindfulness,' which might sound a bit like meditation to you, or it might sound like the total opposite, depending on what you've tried before. In this technique, you try to find a quiet moment that's not right before or after duty to spend some time actually thinking about your fears and about how you're really feeling rather than trying to push it away. Sometimes when we push our feelings away, they can surprise us by coming back when it's really not a good time. Sometimes we develop a secondary fear of the fear itself. So sometimes it's helpful to take time to check in with yourself, to give yourself permission to feel the feelings, and to remind yourself that they /are/ just feelings, and you can sit with them even when they are uncomfortable. So that one has some suggested sentences that you might think about or fill in for yourself. Sentences like, 'What happened to me was traumatic and it is natural to have bad feelings connected to it. Today I am feeling...whatever emotions you're feeling. I am afraid of... I am sad about... I feel more or less anxious, et cetera, than I did yesterday.' And so on. It sounds simple, but for many people it is effective, especially when they are worried about their feelings getting out of control."
Astraea listens, watching Kamran for a time. She looks away, however, when he starts discussing the sample sentences. There's a snort, suddenly, from the pilot. "Sounds pretty frakkin' hokey," she says finally, shaking her head slowly. "Some bullshit sentences are s'pposed to make me feel better? What next, flight instructors tellin' their students that if they repeat to themselves what a great pilot they are, they don't need any real practice?"
Kamran wears a neutral mask in response to that criticism. "This isn't the only tool you'll use," he says. "But it's one that might help. Did you know, for instance, that scientific studies have shown that positive visualization /does/ help pilots perform better in the field? So even though pilots still need to practice, imagining themselves as successfully performing their skills actually /will/ make them better. At least, that is what research and experimentation tells us. Which brings me to the next worksheet. On this one, since you are feeling anxious about situations that would take control away from you, I'd like you to use this exercise to affirm to yourself the things you /do/ have control over, the areas where you /are/ doing well. Many people like to use this exercise to start the day."
Worksheets. It's like being back in Academy. Or facing down reams of paperwork while grounded from flight. Astraea lifts both hands to rub at her face, groaning faintly. "Alright," she mumbles finally. "I'll try 'em." Not that she sounds at all confident of any level of success.
"Try to keep an open mind and do them sincerely each day as directed for two weeks," Kamran says. "If they don't work for you, we can talk about other strategies or other options," he says.
There's a slight slump to Astraea's shoulders. Two weeks of parroting what she fully believes is pointless? The pilot draws a hand over her face once more before just slumping back in the chair. "Yessir," she mumbles, looking to the sheets with a frown. She hasn't yet made any move to pick them up.
Perhaps the trick will be to get over the conviction that it is pointless. "Is there anything else you wanted to talk about with me today?"
Does she want to talk any day? Astraea just gives a slow shake of her head. "No," she says quietly, leaning forward to gingerly pick up the worksheets. She stares at them, dubiously. "You ever seen it work yourself? Or just read papers and shit?"
Kamran smiles gently. "Yes," he says. "I have seen it work myself. I've been working with victims of trauma since before the war." He tilts his head. "I can see that you're concerned in part because of the simplicity of my suggestions. Let me ask you: how were you hoping that I would go about treating you? What kind of treatments do you envision as more effective?"
"I didn't want this treatment," one can almost hear the air quotes, "in th' first place." Astraea begins folding the worksheets carefully. "I knew it was required, but I didn't wanna get grounded or be accused of bein' some toaster sympathizer just 'cause they'd frakked with my head. I didn't wanna be psychoanalyzed or any of that." A few more folds and she tucks the papers into a pocket on her slacks. "But I hafta be here. An' I've just been hopin' you'll do somethin' or another that'll just... click an' fix it all."
Kamran nods a little. "That's about as rare as it is for a doctor to completely heal a wound with just one touch. Things take time and work. My hope is that with these techniques I can help give you the skills and the help that you need to stay here in the long term," he says. "As I'm sure you know, Lieutenant, medications are usually not a good choice for a pilot."
"Yeh, but physical wounds are generally... showin' progress by now. A doctor doesn't leave a broken ankle that way. An' wounds close up and heal... Within a day, or mebbe a week dependin' on how bad it is." Astraea lifts a hand to prod at the side of her own head. "This? This shit ain't gettin' better." Not from her perspective, at least.
"I've had papercuts that last longer than a day," Kamran says gently. "And I'm not leaving you the way you were. I am treating you. But a doctor can only do part of the work. If a patient rejects the cast, or does gymnastics on that broken ankle, does it heal properly? Or quickly?"
There's silence from Astraea as she considers these words. "This doesn't feel like a cast," she says finally. "It just... feels like busy work. Like shit to pawn off on me in th' name of healin'." Some people just don't believe in the power of mind over matter. Astraea is quite clearly one of them.
"It shouldn't take you very much time," Kamran says. "I don't think you have very much to lose by trying it. So we'll talk about how it's going in a few days."
There's a somewhat defeated sigh from Astraea before she pushes herself to her feet. She reaches out to pick up her mug, holding it loosely in one hand. "Alright."
"Don't forget your worksheets," Kamran advises. "Take care of yourself, try to eat nutritiously."
The sheets are already in her pocket and Astraea pats there, absently. Now whether he means forget in the future, well, there's no telling. She does snort at his parting words: "Yeah, iff'n I'm ever on a shift where there's proper meal service in the mess." It happens sometimes, especially on punishment duty, that you're always stuck with just the snacks left out for mid-rats. She lingers, just a beat longer, before turning for the door.