Psychoanalysis

12-31-08

New Year’s Eve: New Year’s resolutions: same as it ever was: get skinnny, be happy: yeah right.

What did you accomplish this year? *cue laughter track*

Next year, more of the same, only maybe one divorce fewer. That is, unless you meet some Irish fellow willing to marry you so that you are no longer an illegal alien.

That’s right, you have over-stayed your welcome on this little green island. You actually don’t know what will happen if you try to fly somewhere and the airport security sees that you have been in Europe as long as you have. It seems that you can fly anywhere in Europe, just not back to The States, lest they hold you there for six months before you can leave again. Oh well, what with the recession and all, not much to go back to, is there? Just don’t get caught doing anything illegal, so you don’t wind up deported.

Three weeks ago, you began psychoanalysis with Marlene. Why not take advantage of the fact that you live with a “therapist” (an analyst, really). The deal: once per week for an hour in exchange for more work. Sounded good, but after your first session, you were such a mess that Marlene insisted you meet twice a week. Okay, no problem. Can’t turn down potential healing, can you? So, you try to squeeze out more work. Gab gab gab about your life, cry a little more, and wham, suddenly she wants to meet with you three times a week. Jane said something to the effect of, “Wow, you must be some kind of crazy.”

Forget the fact that you feel completely out of exchange at this point (okay, it’s the holidays, and Neil is on vacation, and it’s really hard to resist his devilish little grin that calls, “Come play with me!”) But yeah, you are wiped out from holiday festivities, wiped out from trying to keep up with the manual labor in this bitterly cold weather, and wiped out after every session with Marlene. Very hard to keep up.

How does analysis work? You suppose it’s similar to the effect of writing. The analyst is there to listen to you talk–free associate. You gab away and talk yourself, your life, your identity as you perceive it, to the surface. “I did this, I did that, I felt this way. This is who I am.” After you say it out loud, it serves as a foundation for you, just as writing yourself to the surface would. (After you lay your thoughts down in ink, they are there to stay. It gives some kind of permanence to you.) The analyst is there to facilitate this talking of things to the surface, and occasionally point out peculiar phraseology, or a particular word you use to describe yourself, and explain that it sounds like your unconscious coming through. “What exactly do you mean by that? You say you have produced nothing, and yet you have just explained to me everything you have accomplished. What led you to say that?” Oh God, you don’t know! But isn’t it interesting how parts of yourself are in contradiction?

Ultimately, the analyst is not supposed to take information and deliver a conclusion back to you. Not at all, for that would occupy your conscious mind too much. Instead, the analyst is mostly silent, lets you continue talking, and explains that the subconscious will do all the work, and you won’t really realize it. In fact, changes in your state of mind or behavior are seldom perceived by the patient–rather, they are noticed by others, and finally realized by the patient way after the fact. “Gosh, months ago, I would have reacted this way to a conflict, but the other day, I reacted very differently.”

The idea behind psychoanalysis is not to take someone who is haywire and guide him to a more normative behavior. Rather, it is to enable that haywire person to better cope with his condition, rather than mute it. In other words, Marelene’s aim is to take your abysmally bad moods, feelings of terror, anxiety, and futility, and turn them into ordinary sadness; to take your off-the-wall, generally caffeine-fueled manias and transform them into manageable happiness. If you have a genetic predisposition for an [atypical] mood disorder (yes), a hormonal imbalance (yes). or influences in your life (yes) that fuel this disorder, analysis will help you cope with it.

Any results so far? Who knows?

New Year’s Resolution = Be Less Crazy

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Categories: Ireland, Self-Improvement | Leave a comment

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