Bitesize Ep 53 - Ready to be my therapist? #CharlieChatter

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode Charlie admits that this week he has been incredibly depressed and needs you to be there for him to help him get through his issue. So are you ready to be his therapist?
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 053 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello. Thanks for stopping by again. Although, if this is the first time you've tried this podcast, then I highly recommend going to the first episode of the show. Head back to season one, Episode one to get a good understanding of what I do here. The original idea was to give you conversations around British culture and teach you British English at the same time. And while I do keep that in mind most episodes, I've become accustomed to doing the occasional bitesize episode where I update you about my life whenever I have something going on in it worth mentioning. And you will ultimately be the judge of whether I do indeed have something worth mentioning today. But I'm actually making this one more for me than for you, if I'm totally honest. You see, I've been in a bit of a dark place this week. Not literally, I mean, emotionally. I mean, although at night it is dark like everywhere else in the world. Oh, no. Apart from, you know, the North and South Pole in the right season, it's day all day long or all night long. Hmm. Either way, I wasn't there. I was in Europe in the winter, so it was dark a lot of the time. My point, though, is that I'm emotionally bummed out, down in the dumps. Clinically depressed. No, not clinically. No one has seen to me. And actually, I'm already noticing a shift in my mindset in just a matter of days since the thing happened that has really made me feel like I've hit rock bottom.

Charlie:
And I say feel because I know I haven't really. I've still got a beating heart, a roof over my head, food in the fridge. And, you know, considering the current climate, I should definitely also be thankful that I'm not in a war zone. But all things are relative. And this week has been tough. It's been tough for me. It's been a bitter pill to swallow. And before I get into it, I wanted to say that I was thinking I don't want to do an episode about it because my aim is to generally give you light entertainment, and I like to think that for the most part, you come away from this show feeling more positive than negative. But as I said, I'm doing this for me because making podcast episodes is something that I love to do and it's a bit like talking therapy. I get to express myself in an uninterrupted way, and when I listen through the edit, it actually helps me to reflect on what I've said. And then hitting publish and then seeing how many downloads the episode gets, it makes me feel heard. You're listening to me. Sometimes even more so than when I tell my partner something, especially when I haven't timed it right and she's staring at her phone the whole way through the conversation. So I need you this week, and if you really want, you can send me a bill in the post for lending me your professional listening ear.

Charlie:
I should also say that at around the ten minute mark in this episode, I talk about something that might be a little off-putting for some of you. So if you are squeamish, which means you easily feel sick from hearing something unpleasant like the body being harmed, then you'll want to skip minutes ten through to 12, roughly speaking. Okay, so let's see. In fact, I'm even going to do a role play. Yes. Yeah. And you, well you can be my therapist. But as you are a successful and busy one that lives in the city, I suppose you might even have a receptionist. So, yes. Let's set the scene.

Receptionist:
Hello, Doctor.

Therapist:
Yes, I'm done with my last client. Yeah. I'm ready for the next one.

Receptionist:
Certainly. Mr. Baxter, you can now go through to see your therapist.

Charlie:
Oh, great. Yeah, Thanks. Thank you.

Therapist:
Charlie, come on in.

Charlie:
Hi. Yeah. Thanks for seeing me at such short notice.

Therapist:
Don't mention it. It will all be taken care of in the bill.

Charlie:
Oh, right. Okay. Uh, thanks?

Therapist:
As I said, don't mention it. So tell me, Charlie. How are you really doing at the moment?

Charlie:
Well, I could be better. Um, where do I start? Well, over the last 3 to 4 years, I've had a string of injuries. Admittedly, all sports related, but still, let's- let's see. I broke my collarbone a few years back. I then broke my thumb playing cricket. And then straight after coming out of a cast, I did my knee in whilst playing football, which I ended up needing surgery on, and then a lot of rehab. And then I broke my ring finger eight months later.

Therapist:
Oh, yes, yes. I seem to recall you rabbiting on about all of this before. And that knee injury was a tendon, if I'm not mistaken.

Charlie:
(Bit- a bit rude considering I'm paying for this, but...) No, actually, you're mistaken. It wasn't a tendon. It was a ligament. But, you know, fair enough. You've probably got people with bigger problems, right?

Therapist:
Well, yes, Yes. I think you are possibly my least concerning client. So I tend not to bother writing any notes for you. But coming to think of it, I do recall you mentioning it being a rather crucial ligament in your knee.

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah, it was. It was my ACL. Doctors say how it's pretty crucial if you want to still have an active lifestyle. And yeah, that that affects my mental state quite significantly, which I would have thought you of all people would respect, right?

Therapist:
Oh, yes, I do. I do indeed. I have huge empathy for you not being able to go skiing every season, play golf every fortnight, and play tennis once or twice a week.

Charlie:
Weird. I feel like you're saying the right thing for me, but your tone suggests the complete opposite.

Therapist:
Don't be silly, Charles. Sit back, relax, and tell me what has caused you to come in today. After all, those injuries are all in the past, are they not?

Charlie:
Yeah. Well, all right. So I'm getting married in August, and...

Therapist:
Congratulations! What wonderful news!

Charlie:
I told you this last time, and you got an invite with a plus one as well.

Therapist:
Oh, sorry. I'm busy.

Charlie:
As in so busy that you forget things or busy on that day, so you can't come? Even though you probably don't remember the date, if you can't remember that I'm getting married?

Therapist:
Ah... Both?

Charlie:
Great.

Therapist:
But please, please do continue. Continue, Charlie.

Charlie:
So, yeah, I'm getting married this year and traditionally men in England go on a stag do before their wedding, which used to be a big night out on the town with a group of friends. But over the last couple of decades, this tradition has been ramped up and tends to now be a long weekend in a foreign city where the group drink a ridiculous amount of alcohol, pull pranks on the stag and let down their nation at the same time, to be fair. But that's not really my kind of idea of fun. So I suggested going on a trip with my two best men for the wedding individually as a replacement stag do.

Therapist:
Right. Sorry. Is it normal to have two best men at a wedding?

Charlie:
No, no, no. Normally you choose one and hurt a couple of other people's feelings. But again, these days it's not unheard of to have two. So yeah, I chose to have two. Anyway. One of them is Harry and we'll hopefully be going to Spain as he's also teaching me Spanish and we both really enjoy Spanish speaking cultures. And then with the other friend, he said that his uncle has some accommodation in a ski resort called La Plain in France that we could occupy for a week.

Therapist:
Goodness me. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but just just wanted to check. Do you still know how much a pint of milk is these days?

Charlie:
Hmm. A bit random. Well, I don't know. Five quid?

Therapist:
Not even close. Please continue telling me about the incredibly tough life you lead.

Charlie:
Well, I wouldn't call it tough, but. Yeah. Okay, so we went to France and had a bit of difficulty getting up the mountain as our flight was delayed. But we got there, checked in and went to bed, excited for our first day on the snow. Woke up to some rather overcast weather, which makes it tricky to see the ground that you're on. So if there's a bump or a dip, you don't really know until it's under you. But yeah, we got up and did a couple of runs, took it slow and and nothing eventful really happened up until that point.

Therapist:
Okay. Well, you could have skipped that part then.

Charlie:
I don't know why I keep coming back to this guy. And then the third run was going to be a nice blue run, but we decided to take a quick detour, which included a harder route that we found out too late was actually currently a mogul field which had turned to ice overnight. So we really had to take it slow to get through this tricky piste unscathed.

Therapist:
Blimey, that does actually sound rather tricky, especially considering the weather conditions.

Charlie:
Yeah, in hindsight we definitely shouldn't have taken that route, but we got to the bottom eventually. And so I relaxed just for a moment, which unfortunately caused me to misjudge the terrain for a split second. And what I thought was just going to be a mogul had a rather big dip before it, which caused me to accelerate and I was thrown off balance. My skis got caught up in the snow, both pointing inwards and I toppled over them, which created a really unnatural tension in my knees. And yeah, before the skis came off, I felt a sharp pop in my right knee. Pain started shooting through my body and for 5 minutes I was writhing around on the floor in excruciating pain, shouting, I've done my ACL in again! I've fucking done my ACL in again! And with that pain came a deep, sinking feeling of dark, depressing thoughts of how I'm looking at another year or two of no activities and learning how to walk again after surgery for another 3 to 6 months. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be doing any more skiing for that whole week ahead, which, considering I had already gone and paid for it, was pretty annoying.

Therapist:
Oh, Charlie boy, I'm terribly sorry. I really do mean it this time, despite not sounding like I do. That's rotten luck. How did you get off the slopes? I mean, I can't imagine you could still ski, right?

Charlie:
Yeah. Well, after 10 minutes of letting the pain subside, I tried to stand on it, but it gave way quickly. So I started, I started shuffling down the mountain on my bum. But considering that we were right at the top of the wrong side of the mountain to our accommodation, it would have probably taken me 5 hours to get home. And then fortunately, when we were looking back up the slope, we saw my knight in shining armour or a snow patrol with a blood wagon behind him, which is like a sled that straps injured people up in a cocoon-like way. And then they snowplough all the way down the mountain and take you to the nearest medical clinic.

Therapist:
So that's what happened to you? You went in this blood wagon?

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah, I got to the clinic, had an x ray, and then the doctor did some tests on me. And then it came to the moment of truth when he did what's called the Lachman Test, I think, which is a specific pulling movement done between your shin bone and your thigh bone to test if you still have that ligament in place or not. Apologies if you're squeamish, but imagine your ligament is a piece of paper. When you bend paper and then pull it straight quite quickly. It resists when it's stretched out fully, doesn't it? It makes that sound. So he did it on my good leg. And if you have an ACL intact, it actually hurts a bit because the ligament is being pulled tight. So, yeah, he did it on my left and I was like, oh, oh, oh, stop it, stop it. So he's like, Yeah, okay, you have an ACL in your left leg. And then he comes over to my right leg, He does it, and I can't feel a thing. And we look each other in the eye and we both know that that means my right knee's ACL has gone once again. And I'll admit I immediately felt a tear form in my in my eye, in my right eye only, you know. My left side is fine. Now, both both ears. Both ears? Both eyes. Both eyes welled up to the point at which they formed tears, which ran down my cheeks because I knew exactly what the road to recovery was. Because, yeah, I had done done it 18 months ago. Going on a waiting list for an ACL reconstruction, then being drugged up to my eyeballs after the operation.

Therapist:
Well, it was a slight perk getting the strong stuff, no? It's good to look on the bright side of things, Charlie. Good to see the positive in the negative. The light in the dark. Continue.

Charlie:
Yeah, I suppose. But I just remember being sat there on the sofa for about a week in a vegetative state after having had surgery, dealing with the swelling around my knee, dreading the next time I'd need to move or get up, which would always pull on the stitches. And then after three weeks, I was onto crutches, learning how to walk again for the next couple of months. And it actually took about nine months until I felt fully confident to go back to exercise that included more than just going in a linear direction. So yeah, I'm struggling to stay positive right now, but as I said at the beginning of the episode, I'm feeling better than before.

Therapist:
Excuse me, Charlie. Are you feeling all right? You're with me in my therapy room. What on earth are you talking about? Mentioning the beginning of the episode?

Charlie:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. Well, I just wanted to say that I do feel a little better than I did a couple of days ago. My main concern is the NHS waiting list, hoping that it's not too long.

Therapist:
Hear this, Charlie. That stuff is out of your hands, unfortunately. Sure, you can go in there limping as obviously as possible and telling them how your dream is to run a marathon to raise money for cancer research. But aside from the obvious, you've got to focus on what you can take control over.

Charlie:
Are you telling me you'd lie about raising money for cancer?

Therapist:
Charlie. Charlie. Do I look and sound like the type of person who would do such a thing? When have you ever known of a of a posh, dreary sounding old boy to take advantage of a system that was put in place to help people no matter their socio economic status, hey?

Charlie:
Is that a trick question?

Therapist:
We're getting sidetracked. Let me tell you what you came here for. You see, when I was younger, I did a spot of improv comedy. And in fact, I don't mean to brag, but I was rather well known for it back in the day. I probably got a VHS of me and the old crew lying around here somewhere. Let me- Let me fetch it for you.

Charlie:
No, no, it's. It's okay. I believe you. Plus, I don't own a tape player. I don't think my parents even own one anymore.

Therapist:
Right you are. Well, where was I? Yes. One day I was doing a live performance in front of a very well known director of a play I was hoping to be involved in, and I was due to come into a room on set where a couple were fighting, and I interrupt them and the scene would develop. But on this occasion, the woman chucked a large object across the floor during the heated discussion before I entered, and it lodged in front of the door that I needed to open to start interacting with them. I tried to open the door gently as to not draw attention to the unfortunate circumstance, but it was stuck. And so I felt I should wait it out and let them complete the scene without me. Until the director that I was trying to impress came backstage storming over to me, asking why on earth I'm not getting involved as previously planned. I tell the man of the problem with the door and to my surprise, he looked at me with a glint in his eye saying, 'Don't admit defeat, boy. Use the difficulty the world throws at you. Use it, God damn it. Bring that obstruction into the scene and it'll make the scene that bit even more realistic'. So he got me squeezing myself through that door like some crazed zombie, which, to my delight, really brought the house down. I guess my attempt at clambering through a doorway in the most unceremonious fashion added to it all. And yes, sure, I got a standing ovation at the end. The local newspaper mentioned my stellar performance and I was asked to take on a bigger role in the next play. But you know what stuck with me there, Charlie? The lifelong lesson that can be applied to everything. Use the difficulties life throws at you. And furthermore, don't let them become your identity. If you use the difficulties life throws at you in even the slightest of ways, then you will soon find it impossible to feel like the victim of circumstance. It can empower you to take charge of your life and really get the most out of it. And a sound piece of advice to follow this is to avoid difficulties at all costs before they are indeed unavoidable. But once you are faced with them, use them, Charlie.

Charlie:
(This is why I put up with this guy being insanely rude to me). I see. Okay. So yeah, I should use my inability to do something else whilst I can't do what I typically enjoy doing. So while I can't run around chasing a tennis ball, I can focus more energy on my Spanish studies or making more courses that will benefit my students or get back to staring into my neighbours' houses with binoculars.

Therapist:
Let's go with the first two suggestions there. Don't want to get arrested now, do we?

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah. Ah, thanks for that. I do feel a lot better after speaking to you about this. So, Yeah. Thank you.

Therapist:
Glad to hear it. Glad to hear it, indeed. Well, it seems our time is up, so if you'd be so kind and hobble your way over to Daniel on your way out, he'll help take your payment for the session.

Charlie:
Will do. Yeah. Thanks again. Hopefully won't need to see you too soon. See you. Okay. There we go. That is all we have time for in today's bitesize episode. I hope you didn't mind that I used you very much so today as a form of therapy. But the creation of this episode really has helped me escape the frustration and disappointment I've experienced whilst sat on my arse wishing my friend a good day on the slopes, day in, day out. If anyone listening to this is French, then I would like to stress how the bakeries and cheeses your country has created has also really helped me get through the week, although it has also helped me gain a little extra weight. As the role play highlighted, this injury will mean that I can spend more time on the podcast and courses to help you improve your English, so make sure you are signed up to my mailing list which you can join on the British English Podcast.com. And if you want to support the podcast, then make sure you check out the premium podcast or academy memberships. Again, you can find them on the website. Don't forget to download the free app if you haven't yet, which is the British English podcast app in your device's app store. And I'll be back next week to give you a more upbeat episode, hoping you have a good week ahead of you and two healthy knees underneath you. My name is Charlie and you have been listening to the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

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