In Session and Spaced Out – C: Week 23

C didn’t believe me when I told him this, but prior to Thursday’s session, I had had no more than about five hours’ sleep in the preceding three weeks. I believe that for a while I’ve been in something of a hypomanic state; my experiences have included racing thoughts, restlessness, insomnia even whilst on sleeping tablets, being over-talkative, creative but paradoxically easily bored, impulsive and reckless. The one thing I haven’t felt to any great extent is an elevated mood – fucking typical.

To this end, I’m not sure I was much use to either C nor myself the other day. I rambled and rambled and rambled, fiddled with my hair, got up, sat down, stared into space, laughed randomly and was just like a total crackhead or something. He would start talking about something and I would stare at him in apparent deep concentration, but in reality my mind might as well have been floating in the gases of Jupiter, because I didn’t really hear much of what he said.

Given these circumstances, perhaps it’ll be unsurprising to learn that I remember little of the session, which annoys me as of course I seek to record everything in detail here. Bollocks.  Well.  Here goes with what I do recollect.

One thing worthy of mention is that I am going on holiday on Friday, 11 September for 10 nights. A and I had both agreed that 10 nights was perfect, and given the day it fell on, it also had the beneficial side effect on only missing one session with C.

Imagine how irritated I was, therefore, when C announced he’d be off himself for the session immediately after I come back. Why didn’t he arrange whatever stupid, meaningless real-life activity for the week I was away?! I sat there calm, measured, controlled as he told me this – but I wanted to reach across the table and smite him.

I know how irrational and unreasonable this is. He is a person, with his own friends, his own family, his own life. But it winds me up to fuck whenever that impinges upon my time with him. For 50 minutes on a Thursday morning, C belongs to me. Me!!! In my line of work, I was always expected to take holidays at the convenience of the department and our clients. Surely it should be the shame for shrinks having to deal with their pathetically attached mentals? [/stupidrant]

Anyway. I had ended up buying a copy of the book he’d recommended to me last week, and presented it to him. I hadn’t read any of it, but based on a cursory flick-through, it didn’t seem to be as patronising as self-help books generally have been in my experience. In fact, the first half seems to be a more theoretical discussion of the issues the author has explored during his academic studies of compassion, which could be potentially interesting. The second half is more self-helpy. Later in the session C gave me homework; I am to read the first chapter of the second half for next week, and we’ll discuss it then. More wank on mindfulness, I see, based on flicking through it.  Hurrah.  Still, at least it’s likely to be better than the crap he had me read on same before!

I was telling him about my restlessness and exemplified it by telling him how I’d written over 8,000 words on this blog the day before seeing him. “I couldn’t have done that when depressed,” I contended, “as I wouldn’t have had the motivation.  I hate to use the term ‘hypomanic’, as that has connotations of being in a good mood, and I’m not particularly. But if Dr C thinks I have bipolar elements, and she does, well then, this is consistent with that.”

He nodded, then asked me if it was indeed next week I was seeing her again?

“Tuesday,” I confirmed. “If she fucking shows up this time.”

He ignored the insult and instigated a discussion regarding the Venlafaxine. “Are you going to discuss the medication with her?” he asked.

No, C. I’m going to go there and tell her that it’s a beautiful / shite day. I’m going to ask her what I should buy my mother for her birthday. I was thinking of asking her what “season” she thinks I am best represented by in Colour-Me-fucking-Beautiful (NB. Please don’t think for a second that I use this ridiculous ‘service’.  I have provided the link only for context and have heard of it only through work colleagues.  It’s probably a good thing, therefore, that I am off).

Rather than give such a response, though, I said that I was scared of the meeting in case Dr C tried to take the Venlafaxine away (not to mention the fact that I’m actually scared of Dr C, full stop). I said that it had certainly aggravated my bipolar symptoms, and as such I felt I needed something to counteract that, but that my ‘base’ mood seemed to have improved slightly, and as such I didn’t want her to remove the anti-depressant instead of giving me something to deal with the manic shit.

He looked thoughtful for a minute, then said, “if your base mood is improved…do you think that’s as a result of the medication?”

I said, almost (unfairly) sneeringly, “why? Do you think it’s you?!”

I think he misheard me and believed that I’d said, “No, I think it’s you,” because he smiled a big wide smile, and actually seemed to blush slightly.

Blank canvas, C! Blank canvas. No blushing. Bad C!

This led to a weird discussion of our relationship and what we hoped to achieve through it. I’m not going to sit here and detail it, because I’d be making it up; I don’t remember it well at all. I do remember rambling on for quite a while about how he was the first therapist I’ve seen that ‘gets’ me and that was because he was good at employing intellect and empathy and understanding in the right balance.

At some point during this I confessed to the content of Wednesday’s post and stated that C was the ninth psychotherapist I’d seen.

He was stunned. “I thought you saw a CBT therapist!” he exclaimed.

“I did,” I replied, “but she was one of eight others. I thought you knew this.” I thought this information had been included in the questionnaire I’d completed prior to first meeting C. I’m pretty sure it was. Why else would I sit and whinge each week about the NHS letting me down for 12 years?

He quizzed me in particular on Ian, the psychoanalyst. He seemed really taken aback that such therapy is still available at all, even if on a private basis.

For what it’s worth, I don’t put much faith in pure psychoanalysis, based on what I know of it (not a great deal, admittedly) – mainly because it takes too bloody long to have any demonstrable results.  Having said that, I think there’s a lot we can learn from the approach and the teachings of Freud, and presumably so does the NHS otherwise they wouldn’t have clinical psychologists like C practicing psychodynamic techniques (given as they are ultimately derived from psychoanalysis). So his perplexity confused me a bit.

In the end we briefly discussed my upcoming holiday to Turkey. I said that whilst I was looking forward to it, I felt slight trepidation too. For one, I’ve never been there; the last two holidays I’ve been on, I have been to the places before. Secondly, I don’t speak Turkish at all (I know in tourist resorts they speak English, but I still feel irresponsible for not speaking at least some of their language); previous holidays have been in North America, where they obviously speak English, or various parts of Spain, which is OK as I speak a little Spanish (I’ve been to Germany too, but A speaks German. I’ve been to Czech, but was motivated to learn enough of that language before I went there. When I was in Portugal, I was too young too give a damn). Mainly the issue is that this is the first time I’ve been on any sort of foreign trip whilst really mental.

“So you see,” I said to C, “I feel like I’m going a little out of my comfort zone.”

“Maybe,” he agreed, “but you can also see it as an opportunity.” He paused, and then laughed. “Plus don’t forget it’s a holiday!”

“Indeed,” I smiled. I did point out that I am looking forward to it, I just wondered what would happen if I lose it whilst there.

“Aside from the fact I don’t fancy a spell in a Turkish asylum, it’s not covered for in the fucking travel insurance,” I pointed out.

He suggested that we spend most of next week’s session discussing ways to manage being mental on the holiday, a proposition to which I agreed.  We also plan to look at the chapter from Paul Gilbert’s book that I mentioned earlier.

But that’s really all I remember of it, which is frankly appalling.   If anything more comes back to me, I’ll add it – this journal is still, primarily, for my own reference after all. For the rest of you, whilst this entry has been pointless and boring, at least it isn’t 8,000 words of verbose, narcissistic nonsense!

On Tuesday I see Dr C, on Wednesday I see Lovely GP and on Thursday it is back to C.  I will try my best to report on these meetings, last-minute traveling arrangements permitting. At least an entire week of stressful madness will be rewarded with 10 days in, I hope, the Turkish sunshine.


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One Response to “In Session and Spaced Out – C: Week 23”

  1. My understanding of psychodynamic techniques is that they’ve really watered freud down and various people have added their own stuff to it. Presumably they’ve taken out the more ridiculous notions and added in notions that seemed to work. While you might be able to claim that with a century of fine tuning it should work pretty well, it’ been largely guesswork. Although I wouldn’t be surprised that with the advent of fMRI they’re started to test their hypotheses.

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