One nervous stallion
Mission: Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Lost in his own thoughts S'hib walked straight past the door to the Counselor's office, Turning on the spot after a few moments when he heard the door he walked past reclose. "Oh, It's there." He said to himself as he walked sheepishly back the way he came and into the office, Ducking heavily under the doorway before standing upright again, his ears almost touching the ceiling.
"Hi umm, I'm here for a Psych evaluation? I think?" S'hib said to the closest person behind a desk. "I'm Ensign S'hib." he added, looking down at the small trill woman before him.
Lunara smiled at him, though she had to crane her neck to see his face. Damn, this guy was big. "Hi there! It's good to see you, Ensign. Why don't you take a seat, and we can get started." 'That way, I won't have to see the doctor for neck surgery', she thought to herself.
"Of course." S'hib said happily as he pulled the chair away from the desk and gently sat down, flicking his tail to the side at the last moment so as to not sit on it. "I imagine you've been busy what with everything that's happened recently." He added, unsure if the small talk was appropriate or if that was the whole point.
"Well, let's just say I won't have time to be bored for the next few weeks." Lunara nodded. "That's why I asked you here. You were involved in the rescue, right?"
"That is correct, I don't think there was a single yellow collar not firing a phaser at a Romulan or rescuing someone during all of it." S'hib said, proud of the reports he read on his department's performance.
Lunara nodded and leaned forward a bit. "Do you think you could tell me about what happened down there?"
"Well, It wasn't pretty." S'hib admitted. "It's not something id write home about either." He added, shifting in his seat. "I wasn't exactly expecting a warzone within a year of graduating." S'hib said a slight shrug
"Not many people do. I'm just here to make sure there were no ill effects. Do you think you could walk me through what happened?"
“I haven't really thought much about it since we got back.” He said furrowing his brow. “We got down on the planet and did our job, You pull the trigger because so is the other guy.” He added, snippets of memories coming back into the forefront. “And you try to forget things.”
"Do they still do the combat stress seminar at the Academy?" Lunara exhaled. "You know how bad bottling this kind of stuff up is, right?"
“I have other things in my life that stress me out far more.” S’hib admitted. “You kinda forget you vaporized someone when your average day sets of anxiety attacks” He added.
Lunara nodded. She didn't remember seeing anything about anxiety attacks in his file, but she hid her surprise well. "Are you seeing anyone for help with these attacks?"
"I've kinda just always had them since I was a child, so I assumed they were normal until recently." S'hib said uneasily. "My people rely heavily on large social bonds, Herds so to speak." He added with a deep sigh. "It's been very lonely being surrounded by people I cant fully understand."
"I know how isolating it can be, being the only one of your kind onboard a ship, but I'm very concerned about these anxiety attacks you said you have. You said they happen daily?"
"Sometimes." S'hib replied, looking at the tip of his muzzle as he thought about the last few times it had happened. "Theyre mostly for quite ridiculous reasons." He added, an awkward smile forming as he tried to wave them away. "After I met the Captain and Id retreated back to the turbolift I had my first attack onboard the Elysium, I just over think everything." He admitted.
"When was the last time you had one?" Her voice was softer now. She was concerned for him, concerned he might lock up at a critical moment and get hurt because of it.
“Last night actually.” S’hib said moving a hand up and into his mane. “I couldn’t sleep... and then I started worrying about being tired on my next shift.” He said feeling somewhat stupid.
"Would you mind telling me what happens when you get these attacks? There are a lot of different types, and this could help me understand it better."
“Well, I get very pretty nervous and start to over think ever little detail.” S’hib said. Looking mostly at the desk, He could barely muster the courage to admit his failures to a stranger, let alone look them in the eye.
“And when your chest hurts and you cant breath properly, You just start to think there must be a legitimate reason.” He added, A hand absentmindedly skimming over his left breast to check for the cold metal starfleet logo, A task he hadn't noticed he had already completed several times since coming into the office.
Lunara eyed his hand as he checked his insignia for the third time already. "Sounds like something we should be worried about."' She leaned back in her chair and exhaled. "I don't know your species' biology. I might be able to give you some medicine to help with your symptoms, but I still want to see you regularly to help you with these attacks." Her tone was genuine and compassionate.
"You don't suppose anyone will be disappointed, do you?" He added, already over-analyzing the fact reports would be made on his condition. "I don't want anyone to think they can't rely on me." He added, metaphorically sinking into his chair. the heavy drum of his heartbeat echoing in his ears.
Even while seated he was still head and shoulders above Ensign Hol, But right now in this room, he felt more like a field mouse from home than the proud Sequus he liked to portray.
Lunara knew an attack when she saw one. "Hey. Nobody's going to think that. I just need you to listen to me, okay? Focus on my voice." Her voice was calm, but she was anything but inside.
Putting his hands on the side of the desk S'hib felt the blood rush out of his head as his nostrils flared and his breathing became irratic. "I.. I've not... had..." He said, pausing to let himself breath. Panic in his eyes as he gripped the desk, an audible screech from his hooved digits. "An attack in front of anyone...before." He finished, his words barely audible amid a panic attack.
"S'hib?" She rose from her chair and quickly ran to the other side of her desk, putting her hand on his shoulder. Her voice was soothing as she tried to bring him out of it. "S'hib, can you hear me? I need you to completely focus on my voice. That's all that matters right now. Okay? Now listen. Nobody's going to think any less of you. Nothing can hurt you here. You're safe." Lunara had plenty of training on this, but this was the first time she actually needed to break someone out of an attack. She hoped it was working.
Forcing his eyes to look into Lunara's seemed like the hardest task he had ever had to do, and although he knew she was speaking to him, the words seemed to muffle into a faint whisper.
Hyperventilating with tears rolling down his cheeks S'hib felt the weight of the last few weeks, His harsh judgment on himself and his perceived failures coming crashing down around him. "I'm sorry." He blurted out without really thinking, reaching up to his shoulder and her hand. Gently grasping it in his own as his gaze fell back to the floor and his breathing started to slow its pace.
Lunara let him hold her hand, her tone still the same. "There now, there's nothing to be sorry for. Keep coming back to us. Focus on me. Focus on how my voice sounds. Focus on how cool my hand feels. Can you do that for me?"
Ever so slightly nodding in response S'hib started to focus on Lunara, her hand in his meant more than she realised as he slowly calmed down. "Thank you." He said quietly, feeling a slight shiver take hold as his body adjusted to the rush of adrenaline now surging uselessly in his veins.
"That's what I'm here for. Take as long as you need, okay? I'm not going anywhere."
"Could I have some water." S'hib replied, rubbing his eyes free from tears before slowly looking back up at Lunara.
"Of course you can." She quickly went over to the replicator and got a glass of water, handing it to him along with a box of tissues she had on her desk. She decided to wait until he was ready to talk again.
Taking the cup straight to his lips S'hib let the cold glass linger before slowly swallowing a mouthful of water, along with what little of his pride remained. "As I'm sure you've gathered I'm not doing so well." He said trying his best at smiling, a small cough like laugh quickly replaced by another eager sip of water.
"I can see you're having some problems." She nodded. "I'd like you to start seeing me more often. Once a week, or so. Think you could do that?"
"It would get me out of my quarters I suppose." He replied sheepishly, still clutching the now empty glass as if it was important, falling silent for a moment as he twirled it around his fingers. "I try very hard." He added, his words tiptoeing around multiple subjects.
She watched him closely, keeping an eye out for a possible relapse. "I know you do. But there's no shame in asking for help along the way."
"I guess, I've never really been good at asking for help." S'hib admitted, slowly placing the cup on the desk. "When you're one of the first of your species in Starfleet, there are... expectations." He continued, rambling his thoughts out to the woman he had just met.
"You know, I was once in the same situation as you were. There weren't too many Trill in Starfleet 100 years ago. But I believe an Earth philosopher put it best, 'no man is an island'. We're all brothers and sisters out here." She let him go on for as long as he needed.
"It must be awfully nice having so many lifetimes of experience to rely on," S'hib said slightly in awe before his brow curled. "And confusing at the same time I imagine." He added, moving a hand up to remove the last tear from his long lashes.
Lunara smiled and shook her head. "You don't know the half of it. I can only hope it helps me to understand the crew better."
"I'm sure it will." He replied with a weak smile, his mind still troubled by a multitude of conflicting thoughts and emotions. "You, um." S'hib added quickly, looking into his lap. "You mentioned something about medication?"
Lunara nodded. "Right. I'd like to prescribe you some Benzyloptimine. It'll help you stop attacks when they start, but you'll need to keep seeing me to solve what's causing the problem. Does that sound all right to you?"
"Yeah, I think that would be good." S'hib replied, his hand tracing up to his chest once more only to stop before reaching his comm badge, fingers clenching softly into a fist to deny them its touch.
Falling silent as he withdrew his hand and swallowed, the lump in throat persisting as he looked back up, his eyes falling into hers. "I am good at my job, I know that... even if I don't feel I am." He said with the first clear thought all day. "I just didn't think I'd have to try... at being good, at being me?" He finished, hoping she understood what he meant.
She eyed him, making sure he didn't lapse back into an attack. "There's no reason to think that, of course. All your reports have been glowing." She hadn't read them, but figured it was something he needed to hear.
"I guess I just have a lot on my mind..." He replied with a calm sombre tone, following onto his next sentence without much pause. "How often do you think I should see you?"
Lunara looked off into the distance for a moment, tapping her fingers against her chin. "Based on what I've seen, and what you've told me... I'd say once or twice a week. Can you do that for me?"
"I'll have to notify my department head so it won't interfere with my shifts." S'hib replied, straightening his posture. "But even still I can come and see you while offduty." He finished, a thin smile forming.
Lunara smiled. "Feel free to come visit me whenever and however often you'd like to. I'll make time."
"Thank you." S'hib said, smiling back. "I should probably get going though, I have another shift coming up." He added, suddenly noticing how long he had been here with Lunara.
"Well, I wouldn't want to keep you from your work," she said with a smile. "Just keep in mind what I told you. Oh, and stop by the pharmacy as soon as you can to pick up your hypospray."
"I will do, and again thank you." S'hib said as he stood up slowly. "I guess I'll see you in a weeks time." He added, heading for the door. A slight numb ache enveloping him as his emotions receded like the tide, hoping the next time the waves came crashing back in he would handle it better than just now.
Ensign Lunara Hol