SIM:First Year of Service Psych Evaluation of Kevin Breeman
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Breeman: How shall I begin? Ehlanii: Well, start with your childhood. You said you didn't have a lousy childhood. But tell me... what was your childhood like? Did you live with one or both parents? Are they still living now? How well did you get along with them then and how well do you get along with them now? Breeman: Okay. Ehlanii: You can answer any or all of them in any order you'd like, or you can tell me a narrative that ultimately answers them. Breeman: I was born in Toronto, Canada, to Jan and Alvin Breeman. I liked reading a lot and my dad was more of a handyman. He and I worked together a fair bit. At first when I decided I wanted to be a computer programmer he thought I wouldn't be working with my hands enough, and so he baulked at the idea. Then he slowly came around and was really proud both when I graduated and when I eventually graduated at the academy. My mother was more interested in reading. She loved fantasy and science fiction. She worked as a psychologist actually, working primarily with depressed patients. ::Kevin thought of more to tell her. He was slowly getting relaxed as the narrative took form and he let the history do the talking rather than his expectations of what Ehlanii might want to hear, he found the exercise much easier.:: Breeman: Occasionally I do spat with my father about technology. He thinks that as long as you can work with your hands you're okay. Being an engineer, I like to work with technology. My brother is an artist and a writer. He does a lot of art based on depictions of 20th and 21st century Terran society. That's how I knew that Sallinger reference. ::Resisting the urge to get into J.D. Sallinger:: He and I occasionally fought as we grew up, but what pair of brothers doesn't have sibling rivalry? In high school I was picked on a lot for being a little odd. But I still had friends. We'd hang around in computer science class together, coding up our assignments in a few minutes and then just talking or writing more advanced code afterward. We'd write stories together and we even entered the Norther BC Winter Games Phenomenological Representation Tournement (PRT for short). ::He thought back on those times, when all that mattered was the next story or the next program or the next problem. The PRT had taken a bit of getting used to. He'd trained on the machines for a week before, getting to know how to project images from his own thoughts onto a screen.:: Breeman: The object of the tournament was to construct artistic sequences of images onto the screen, usually to music. The PR machines weren't intrusive, so it was not an unethical mind-reading system. In order to compete, you have to force your thoughts onto the representation devices through the electrodes attached to your head, rather than have the device read your mind. ::That made the game very strange, since he could see a part of his mind there on the screen while still having the usual internal monologue of his thoughts.:: Breeman: It was also during high school that I learned hacking. I thought one of the kids in school was prying into my personal files, so I learned how to break security barriers. I guess I was a bit of a control freak, because I started monitoring that kid. No matter what I uncovered I couldn't find anything that indicated to me that he was spying on me or had any ill will toward me. It was just the usual stuff about parties and stuff. Breeman: Then during university I studied computer science, hoping to be a computer programmer. I hung around a lot of religious people there, protestant Christians mostly. I gave this speach one day as part of a contemporary cultures project, denouncing the views of God held by most Terran religions. I said that they put God inside a box and made him into just a political puppet. I toned down my rhetoric after that. I guess I was just mad at my grand father, who'd been a very strict protestant and talked all the time about God punishing us. That just didn't square with some of the things I had heard from my friends at the time, about someone who was more caring and creative. I don't even know if I believe in God to be quite frank, so I tend just not to think about that stuff much nowadays. Breeman: Then I decided finally that I didn't want to work just as a computer programmer the rest of my life. Instead I wanted to be an explorer. So I joined Starfleet. Ehlanii: You have quite an interesting story, Ensign. If you ever wished to discuss any of it further, I'd be more than willing. I just have a few questions to ask you, though. You know, the standard ones. ::she smiled, hoping to make them as non-threatening as possible.:: ::Kevin, hoping to redeem himself after being *too* formal:: Breeman: Okay. Sounds good. Ehlanii: I have to ask them to everyone. Please remember that, unless I feel you are a danger to yourself or others, any answers you give me are confidential and only available to myself and other Starfleet Counselors, or sometimes physicians, who are directly caring for you. Breeman: Understood. Ehlanii: Good. Do you have a history of using any mood or consciousness altering drugs or medications? ::Kevin had never taken drugs for any psychological purpose. He'd always found his own imagination loopy enough to make up for anything he might be missing not taking drugs. Certain types of music had a profound effect on him though.:: Breeman: No. Ehlanii: You mentioned never having any hallucinations or depressive episodes. Have you ever felt a prolonged period where it was difficult to motivate yourself to do the things you would normally enjoy doing? ::He thought back to the time just after high school, when he'd felt awful about himself, unsure what to do next. He was very confused and even a little terrified. His interests seemed to pull in so many directions. Should he be a writer? A programmer?:: Breeman: When I graduated high school. I was not very sure of myself and so I ended up being fairly depressed for a few months. Ehlanii: How about telling me a bit about that. What did it feel like? Or rather... what sorts of symptoms did you experience? ::He thought about it - about his father's nagging him to get a job and to make something of himself, and his own fears. He wondered what it might have been like for his distant grandfather and his own pessimism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Kevin had lived on Earth, in the 24th century, where life was fairly easy. His grandfather had lived on Earth at the turn of the 21st century, where making something of one's self was a life or death matter.:: Breeman: I was fairly depressed and confused. I thought life was meaningless because all one did was get married and raise a family so that the children of that family could go and do the exact same thing. Like I said, I would say it was pretty standard teenage existential angst. I didn't have a whole lot of self esteem then. To make things worse, my father was disappointed in me for not applying myself enough. ::He remembered one of the psychology seminars at the academy:: Breeman: I suppose I might have been using the existential angst as a way to dodge my lack of self esteem. My brother got me to read a book at about that time, from around the 20th century. In it, a Canadian philosopher espoused the idea that common sense was lacking in the technocratic elite who were constantly trying to make the world and living in it out to be a lot more complex and sophisticated than it needed to be. Ehlanii: And how did you get out of it? Breeman: Common sense. I realized that the idea that life is meaningless is nothing new. ::Chuckling:: Everybody and their dog has come to that conclusion at one point or another. Even devoutly religious texts, supposedly wellsprings of meaning for many people, contain books of pessimistic musings. ::Thinking of I finally mustered up the courage to apply for entrance into the liberal arts university where I got my bachelor of science in computer programming. Ehlanii: And have you experienced anything like it since? Breeman: No, but then I've tried my best to keep myself fairly busy so that thunks like that won't happen again. ::He thought back to one of his stints of living with atheism as a philosphy on life:: Breeman: In fact, I decided that the whole 'life is meaningless' thing is a great way to turn existence to one's own advantage. If life is really meaningless then you can go and create and do just about anything. oO Nihilism is the canvas. Existence is the paint. Oo Ehlanii: You mentioned thinking that person in High School was accessing your personal files, but that you hacked into his and discovered that you were wrong. Have you had other times where you thought people were talking about you or accessing your personal files, or in some other way mistreating you? Breeman: Well only when I was in high school. I tended to see everyone around me as a threat. As to my hacking into the person's personal files, there was a rumor started about me being interested in a particular girl. I had in fact been interested in her and even written about it in my journal. The rumor happened to coincide with this person boasting about having been able to hack into Starfleet Intelligence and even into other people's accounts on the school network. That made me feel very threatened and so, since I wasn't really brave enough to stand up to people in high school I did the next best thing - besting them in the world of information warfare. Ehlanii: Have you ever thought about taking your own life? ::He thought about the journal he'd read from one of his ancestors. That journal, written at the turn of the century, had contained various references to suicide. Every time the writer felt worried he'd write about suicide. It was rather funny, actually, since the man had lived to be 98 years old and yet his diary contained more references to and contemplations of suicide than anything else Kevin had ever read. It was as though his great great grandfather had tried to best Schaupenhauer's pessimistic musings by making his entire life a polemic against those who would condemn suicide. Yet, dying peacefully in his well-to-do apartment one 21st century morning in Autumn, Kevin's ancestor had been a great hypocrite, for which Kevin was thankful. In fact, it was rather funny and Kevin caught himself almost laughing now at the foolishness of it all. His great great grandfather had been something of an overgrown drama queen.:: Breeman: No. Well, that's not entirely true. I'd think about it but then remember my great great great -- I forget how many greats actually -- grandfather and his journal. In that journal he'd get very depressed every few weeks, write an entry about how he wanted to end it all, and then he'd be back to his normal self again. ::Chuckling:: No matter how depressed I got, thinking about that journal helped me remember, there's always another page.