adriana suriano
3 min readOct 20, 2023

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i am back in group therapy. i said to myself, on several occasions, never again. too many shaming groups of being called out for not saying a word. too many other groups where I over identified and helped people outside of the scheduled therapy sessions. Apparently, that is part of group therapy. No talking to group members outside of therapy groups.

These 6 sessions of group therapy are supposed to teach us how to better manage anxiety. Ugh. I haven't gotten right in 52 years, so i am pretty sure six weeks isn't going to get me to a less anxious place.

Tonight’s intro included an ice breaker, “What song do you sing when you are alone?”

Fuck. I thought. I don't sing anything when i am alone. I am sure I will have time to come up with something.

I was picked first. I decided against my better judgment to tell the truth.

“Hello everyone. My name is Adriana Suriano, and the song…..

The group facilitator interrupted, “your pronouns?”

I hate answering that question. If I don't tell you, please just assume okay?

“Oh right. she/her/hers….ummm. yup.”

“Your song?”

“Of course. Well i don’t have a song. I listen to my Drake pandora station, and you know I love hip hop and rap so I sing on the metro or at the gym. So i don't need to be alone. On the metro today someone called me spunky as i was singing and dancing. I don't think she meant it as a compliment.”

I really said all of that in the first 5 minutes of group therapy. Every word of it. Not exaggerating.

“ I don't know about Drake. I'm kind of not that into him.”

The facilitator really said all of that. Every word. In front of every group member. Not exaggeration.

“It was the Drake station. So I mean it includes all different artists. I mean people love him or hate him. or love to hate him. or seriously dislike him.”

“What song?” At this point i could not bear to look at the facilitator or the other 14 group members.

“What?”

“What song,” she asked suspiciously.

“It was a J. Cole song. You know the album with the basketball hoop in flames?” I then proceeded to take a pretend shot in the air.

“Okay. Who’s next on my screen?”

I fucking started another group therapy session acting like a complete idiot. If I was at a bar with a few people in my life who get me this would have been fucking funny. This was not at a bar. No one new me.

The next 14 introductions were calm and boring. They either liked musicals or songs from the 80’s. I hate musicals. None of the 80’s songs they mentioned were any good.

“We are going to practice three different types of breathing!”

Really there are three. I cannot seem breathe without my heart racing. I doubt I am going to grasp the other 2.

“Okay. Sit straight up. Take a deep breath for a count of 8…”

Alright I breathe for 6 nice and slow. I don't want to do 8. It’s too much.

“Okay. Hold for 8…..”

Come the fuck on. Doesn’t she realize that people like me cannot do this with high blood pressure? It’s making me feel more anxious and raising my pressure.

I hold for a very doable 4.

“Now when you breathe out make a sssshhhhhh sound with your mouth for a count of 8.”

I start laughing now. How can anyone do this?

“Adriana, do you have a question?”

She called me out again. Really? Doesn't she lose group facilitator privileges or something. I mean I just laughed for a quick second of the ridiculousness of not being able to breathe the way the group was breathing.

“A question? Nope.”

When we were asked by the coach, who basically is the woman who checks the chat during group, if we had anything to share, I typed this in the chat.

“The album by J. Cole I was describing is titled “The Off-Season” and the song i was singing and dancing to on the metro this morning was 95. south”

I had the leave button on zoom cued up. They were gone. I played my Drake pandora station in our bedroom. Beautiful speakers in our ceiling that my beautiful husband wired up for me. for us.

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adriana suriano

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.