Session 5- Group therapy- It’s better in Italy.

adriana suriano
4 min readNov 21, 2023


I decided to use my phone instead of my barely working work laptop. I always pride myself with the most common sense of anyone I know. Except my mother who died 4 1/2 years ago. She never needed anything explained to her. She figured it out. She was a doer. My father who is still living, is a silent thinker. He will tell you “i talk when i have something to say. i do not do bullshit talk.”

My strategy for using my phone tonight is that the chat button is harder to access. I can only look at few people at a time avoiding looking at the facilitator. Tonight, I am going to mind my fucking business. Something my father reminds me i am terrible at doing.

I have a work zoom account that I hate using for personal shit. I decided to use my personal zoom. As i waited for group to start i realized the photo on zoom is me with a mask on. Fuck. This is a during covid and miserable photo. It’s a photo in which I am trying new eyeglasses and not picking the frames photo. The camera is switched on. All of us look wide eyed and almost in shock. A look of dread. I look terrible too. Am I wearing a bra? I touch under my right boob to discover that i am wearing a sports bra. My boobs look floppy and even bigger than my 36DD.

“Now let’s get started. No ice breaker. We are going to jump right into our PMR meditation” (progressive muscle relaxation.)

I thought no one fucked like PMR. I turn my camera off and breathe the way I like to. Breathe in 4 allowing my belly to rise. Holding for a few comfortable seconds. Letting the breath whisper out of my chapped lips.

“Our worksheet from last week had us setting self-care goals for the week. Did anyone plan a self-care activity and accomplish it?”

Silence per usual. I will not unmute. I will not write in the chat.

“Yes, Lola!” “What one thing did you do for self-care this past week?”

“Well, yes, thanks for choosing me to share.”

I love Lola. She wants to feel better. She isn’t trying to be an asshole like me.

“What Adriana, wrote in the chat last week, well it really resonated. I took a screen shot of what she said. Just getting my phone out of my work bag. Okay. And I quote Adriana, ‘Self-care is something we do every single day.’ So, i tried to do something for myself each day. Honestly i felt less depressed this past week.”

I turned my camera off. I walked to the fridge to get some more ice to chew. Oh Lola. Stop dating all these losers. They don’t deserve you.

The group facilitator obviously waited for me to come back on camera.
“Good job Lola. You re-framed what self-care means.” This chick is never going to acknowledge me. Who cares. I like being right.

“Now tonight we are going to discuss how we can improve depression and anxiety through diet and exercise. I know this is touchy as we don’t want anyone to feel shame about being honest about their diet.”

Now what the fuck kind of statement is that?

No one says a word.

“Now let’s take caffeine. Our worksheet gives us ways to reduce and eventually not drink coffee. We are not saying stop all coffee right now. Maybe just drink decaf. Now that is called harm reduction. Our goal is to decrease drinking coffee, harm reduction, because as we all know caffeine can make your anxiety so much worse….”

I turned my camera off again. Fuck. I am out of peanut butter m and m’s. Do not unmute adriana. Do not UNMUTE.

I opened the chat. The terrible masked photo of me pops up. I started typing:

“In Italy, where almost all my family lives, they drink a lot of coffee per day. Mainly espresso. To go coffee does not exist there. You order an espresso at the bar. You sip the first sip. You stand at the bar. Say hello to the person standing to the right of you. The you talk a little nonsense with the person making your coffee, because you are loyal to your coffee bar. This is the coffee bar you drink your first espresso every single morning. Your phone is shoved at the bottom of your work bag on silent. If we want to work on reducing our anxiety and depression, then reducing caffeine should not be our focus. Changing how we eat and drink coffee and booze for that matter in our society is what we need to change. Oh, and harm reduction for sugar was mentioned earlier. Italians eat a pastry every morning, too.”

I let the biggest breath out just like a whisper on mute.

“Adriana, you really sell Italy to us every week.” That’s all she said.

It was nice to see some heart emoji’s underneath my comment. Some people don't hate me. Not everyone hating me in this group. Now that’s harm reduction.



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.