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  • Writer's pictureNicole Kohut

Pesky Pathologies

Updated: May 14, 2021

A wild goose chase for a therapist—in this economy!

By Nicole Kohut

Hey, you. Yeah, you! The one aimlessly scrolling through this magazine because your friend who wrote a Blue Note for the first time sent you a link and you feel obligated to read it since you haven’t seen them in a year (not because of the pandemic, you’re just a lazy slug) and you want to feel vaguely connected to college life. Come on! Get a little closer, I won’t bite. I have something to tell you and it’s really good. Yeah, that’s right, just a little bit closer. Okay, perfect! You ready?

I am severely traumatized!

Don’t look at me like that. This isn’t a shock to anyone. Go ahead and look up the other pieces I’ve written for this magazine. It’s as clear as day that I need help. Here’s the kicker: This time, I’ve actually decided to do something about it.

That’s right. Today I have blessed the world with a miracle: I have finally admitted that I need therapy.

You might be wondering what took me so long to come to this realization. Weren’t the years of Kumon enough to strangle me into inescapable depression? Perhaps. What about the fact that I spent most of my childhood in a ballet studio, my prepubescent body daily swiveled and prodded for slick-bunned scrutiny? That should’ve done the trick, I guess. Or what about the time in third grade when, in lieu of admitting that my bad grade on a science test was due to my disinterest in, well, science, I announced to the entire class that my parents did not feed me.

My parents totally feed me—my dad grew up in bumfuck nowhere, Ohio, and my grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, so we take nourishment very seriously. The part of this story that should have sent me flying into therapy was when my mom received a surprise visit from Child Protective Services, learned about my mischievous little lie, and subsequently shoved a large, artisanal salad bowlful of scrambled eggs into my mouth. I can remember her shouting, “If you’re gonna say I don’t feed you, then you’re gonna get the biggest breakfast of your life!” as the eggs resurfaced from my stomach and back into the bowl with both the grace and the force of a tidal wave.

So how come I didn't end up in therapy that very day, you ask? Why, the answer is simple, stupid little reader. It’s because on that day, I discovered more than the Tide To-Go Pen’s inability to clean regurgitated eggs off my LimitedToo spaghetti-strap top. On that day, I developed my first unhealthy coping mechanism: suppression. That’s right, folks: I completely eliminated the egg crusade from my memory. In fact, I think this is the first time that I’ve allowed it to resurface! And on the very day of my mental health reckoning. Isn’t it funny how life works? I keep a running list of things I need my future therapist to do for me. Here’s what I have so far:

Illustration by Samia Menon
  • Anxiety (cure it)

  • OCD (unclear—can’t tell if I throw this term around because it has become a part of the vernacular or if I actually require the diagnosis)

  • Depression (see above instructions for anxiety)

  • Body Dysmorphia (probs gonna need to contact my old ballet teacher for this one).

  • God complex (feed it)

  • Suppression of traumatic life events (stop it)

And, finally:

  • Be my drug mommy pwease!

Are you … crying? Buck up, soldier, this is only the beginning.

You may have noticed that I have omitted Daddy and/or Mommy Issues from my list. This is because I honestly don’t know which category I fall into yet—even with the handful of Freud-related courses I’ve taken. But fear not! I have made a quiz that will finally put the question to bed.

The following quiz contains entirely YES or NO questions. Mark only one answer for each question and please fill the oval in completely. Use a soft lead pencil and make your marks heavy and black. DO NOT USE INK OR A MECHANICAL PENCIL.

  1. Is your dad’s first name listed as the contact in your phone in lieu of “Dad,” “Daddy” or, perhaps, “Pops”?

  2. Did you cry when you watched the 2008 Action Movie/Thriller Taken?

  3. (Follow up to question two.) Did you tell people you cried because the movie brought to light the truly horrific reality of human trafficking, but in actuality you cried because you do not nor will you ever have a strong enough relationship with your Dad that, in the event that you are given the chance to reconnect with him and are then abducted, he would drop everything to find and save you?

  4. Do you typically date older people?

  5. (Follow up to questions four.) Are you really attracted to older people/do you feel that you’re undeserving of those your own age?

  1. Do you remember the last time you cried? If you had to think about it, fill in YES.

  2. Did you recently send your mom a text about an accomplishment even though you knew you’d be disappointed by her response?

  3. Did you hide your period from your mom for a few months/years? Alt: Did you lie to your mom about when you started watching porn?

  4. Do you use your Mom’s daily horoscope as a way to feel connected to her?

  5. Are you deeply afraid of emotional intimacy?

If you answered yes to the majority of Questions 1-5, you most likely have Daddy Issues. If you answered yes to the majority of questions 6-10, you most likely have Mommy issues.

Well, would you look at that. It appears that I have both Mommy and Daddy issues. I swear, this world is just full of surprises! Alright, let’s see your answers. You … don’t lack extreme emotional and mental depth because of unspoken problems between you and one or more of your family members? Hah! What a tease! Quit it with the games—I’m the satirical writer, after all, and we’ve got work to do!

So now that I’ve totally bombarded you with all of my issues, I’d say it’s about time to actually find a therapist. I did some research and narrowed it down to a few people who I think could work. Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought. Most of them were homosexuals and, not to be that person, but I just have too much on my plate right now to tap into my sexual identity. I’ll circle back to them when I have my other shit under control.

LOL. Someone must have messed with my list, because this definitely can’t be right. My first potential drug mommy goes by the name of Willow. Need I say more? Absolutely not. Not today, not tomorrow, not in another universe. Not ever. I know I could never have approved Willow because her name alone tells me that she will not be handing over my SSRIs and other goodies the moment I enter her office. I imagine that Willow will try some deep breathing exercises, incense, and—God forbid!—prayer. Part of the reason I need therapy is because I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so Miss Willow and her homeopathic remedies will certainly not do the trick for me.

Then there’s Gwen. Gwen, Gwen, Gwennnny Gwen. She ticks all the boxes—family counseling, body dysmorphia, etc. … but how could I really tell my deepest, darkest secrets to someone named Gwen? Gwen just sounds like the type of person who would bully me in middle school and then reluctantly invite me to her bat mitzvah. And I don’t really think I can handle that for a fifth time.

What? You think I’m being too harsh? I guess Gwen could give me some tough love. And I hear that some therapists like to engage in role play so I might not even have to use her name! Alright, I’m gonna give Gwen a shot.

Oh, wait. I totally don’t have insurance and that is so totally necessary for this whole thing. Well, considering the current state of American healthcare and my degree in English, it’s safe to say I will not be meeting any drug mommies in this lifetime. Seeing as switching my major to Chemical Engineering or something and getting a corporate job with health insurance would probably unlock an entirely new box of trauma goodies for my would-be therapist to unpack, what is one to do except enroll in Creative Writing on Trauma and hope for the best?


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