July 26, 2021

How Far Can Someone Be from How They Seem?

Eleanor Capaldi

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Stage PlayPatient, 2021

This monologue has been informed by discussions around the inconstancy of mental health support. It has become increasingly well documented how uneven access to affordable counselling is, with charitable, student or NHS sessions capped at anything from 4 to 10 weeks, often leaving people with little or no ongoing support afterwards. There have been stories of suicidal patients told to go on waiting lists, and mental health practitioners who felt helpless in the system. In this piece I seek to explore what a person might really be thinking and feeling, despite how they may present, and how people may minimise or sanitise what they say because of a fear of being judged, and ultimately, not supported. In writing this monologue I think I have been able to further explore the dichotomy between the outer and inner self. Through the writing, I would also like to contribute to the deepening understanding and complexity of female experience, that even when ‘strong’, we can harbour pain and turmoil too. In sharing Rae’s inner thoughts, including her loneliness, disconnection, and lack of trust, I hope it may encourage better understanding of the impact of intermittent support and how people outside ourselves might be feeling.