Psychoanalytic Reflections 01

It’s a full seven days between sessions, and at this point, my pschologist is just starting to know me. In between, I can never stop reflecting. I’ve always believed that I know myself well, but these sessions are probing ideas and memories I haven’t thought of in a while, and opening up completely new areas of reflection.

And while I could write for days about these thoughts and epiphanies, I simply don’t have the time, so I figured I’d briefly touch on them in point form.

  • I need to respect my psychologist in order to accept help from him. i.e. If he was a Freudian and I was a Jungian, I wouldn’t be able to agree with any of his methods.
  • I get very anxious when I’m in his office. This is because I don’t like to admit to myself that something’s wrong with me, but when I’m in there, it’s a very tangible reminder that I have mental problems.
  • I’m very conflicted on several issues.
    • I don’t want to lose my emotions because I need to suffer to create. Yet the emotions are bad enough that I don’t want to have them anymore (or have them in moderation at least).
    • I want to love and be in a relationship, and at the same time I cling to being single because I’m scared of being hurt (in addition to the fact that the freedom is intoxicating). I do this by pushing others away from me or cutting them off.
      • This stems from two significant childhood memories, where I felt betrayed in friendship, as well as my relationship with my parents.
    • I want to be settled and have some stability (in terms of schedule, relationships, finances etc.), but the struggle to be settled is what makes me grow and be stronger.
    • Many of these issues can only be resolved from decisions I should make. (i.e. No one else can make the decision for me)
    • Turning to Taoism, which is very paradoxical in itself, has only helped so much.
  • Without my creativity, or my desire to express myself, I’m nothing.
  • I don’t want to “blame” my parents for confidence problems or perfectionist tendencies, but I’m slowly starting to find out that they’ve affected me even more than I thought before.
  • As a hedonist, my greatest fear is losing my joie de vivre. If this happened (and it has once), I would consider killing myself. This is because the joys of life balance out all the bad and makes it worth living.
  • I’m dependent on other people for happiness. I don’t see my friends often enough for me to be satisfied, and it’s a simple fact of life. They all have significant others, and I’m the only one left single. I don’t blame them for not spending enough time with me, but it makes me very sad.


  1. Regarding suffering = creativity, I say BULLSHIT. I mean completely. Yes I have written some wonderful poetry that way, but my best artwork has not come from that AT ALL. My best artwork has always fallen out of the small, highly repressed and covered over place wherein I PLAY joyfully like a child. It’s very hard for me to play with the abandon of a kid, largely because I was raised to be a small adult, but it’s great when it happens. I have to force myself into it constantly. Just go, just go! Don’t think so much. Then afterward, look subjectively at the results, edit and adjust a tad, and most often something significant occurs. I had a fine professor once who told me that I was thinking far too much for the number of pieces I was producing, and it made a huge change in my success level.

    Joie de vivre is actually a sort of metro-train. Do not worry, another will be along in a bit. Honestly, I mean that. It’s been proven to me many times.

    As for being the odd-person-out among familied friends, I have great issues with this particularly now, later in life, since I am in much the same situation you are. I wish you courage and quiet and I’ll think about it too. Look forward to hearing what your shrink suggests and whether it helps you; no one I’ve spoken to ever did.

  2. You’ve said it. I’ve always felt that you don’t want to lose your emotions because you think you need to suffer to create. I feel that you dwell on your sufferings and savour them, that’s why you cry more often than most. Whether you do it consciously or subconsciously, I don’t know. Many great artists do it, and they end up doing drugs or going insane.

    I don’t know anything about artistic creation. I guess the important thing is to make sure one is totally conscious of the fact that the suffering is only a part of the process of creation, so one is in complete control of what’s going on.

    The beauty of Taoism is it gives a true reflection of life which is one big paradox in itself, and appreciating and enjoying the paradox of life will bring peace of mind.

  3. “Many of these issues can only be resolved from decisions I should make. (i.e. No one else can make the decision for me)”

    This one echoed most strongly with me. I also noticed that I have struggled with these questions at one time or another. Do you really need a psychologist to bring these into focus?

    For me, I don’t have a solution for any of these. I just escape to another thought when I realized that the same thought repeated.

  4. @Xibee — It’s safe to say that everyone is different, and what applies to you doesn’t apply to me. My best stuff has come from the throes of anguish. Not to say that there’s no inspiration during ecstacy as well, but it’s not the same. As Ralph Fiennes asked in The End Of The Affair, “Pain is easy to write. In pain, we’re all drably individual. But what can one write about happiness?”.

    Good point about the joie de vivre. As soon as I get bored of something, more often than not, there’s something else to take it’s place. I never realized this before.

    @Uncle Joe — It’s hard for me to say, since a lot of this may be subconscious, but I don’t cry because I want to, I cry because I’m sad. I want to be sad and I don’t want to be sad at the same time.

    Creativeness for me is actually somewhat out of control. When I’m in the creative zone, the words write themselves, spontaneously. I prefer it this way. It’s like having a mastery of a dance or a martial art: don’t think, just do.

    Your idea about the beauty of Taoism being a reflection of the paradox of life is exactly right. I’m learning that there are techniques that can be used to enjoy and appreciate the paradox, instead of just trying to convince yourself to be happy, which doesn’t work. These techniques serve to enhance the idea of Taoism, by shedding problem triggers and behaviours.

    @Causalien — No, I don’t need a psychologist to bring these ideas into focus. These are thoughts I’ve had on my own, coming from the questions he asks.

    Psychologists are like a medical doctors. You don’t need to see a medical doctor to know that you have a pain in your stomach or a cyst on your back. But you do need one to diagnose which specific ailment you have by asking you about the frequency/severity of the pain, or doing tests for cancer, etc., and figuring out how to cure it. The first step is the diagnosis, which is where I am right now.

  5. Sounds like you’re getting a useful orientation to some rooms in your head. Getting a handle on what you’re reacting to and why is always handy for acknowledging and letting go. That doesn’t mean it goes neccesarily but is less central. It’s easy to fear that emotional distance as being a disconnect with self. It is a diconnect with one part of self to reconnect with other parts, exchanging the inner scream for the inner whisper. It’s like adapting to a different amount of light in the room. At first you see nothing until the eyes adapt.

    I suppose if one wants to hold on to suffering and tie it to identity, tether it to creativity, it’s good to acknowledge that as a step. There’s a reason for that desire, to figure out, what one gains from it. If may be a little cognitive excuse or the monkey-brain is justifying hopping around and needs a different response to get the same needs met in a way that the whole person can benefit. Sort of the old bag of having many strategies.

  6. I have volumes to write about the things I’m learning with my Counselor.

    But I’d probably need to just one day talk to you about it. I’m glad you are seeing these things and learning about them. I think it helps to talk to a professional who can understand these things about you and bring them out so that you learn to understand them for yourself.

    I’m still waiting for your thoughts on the first thing my Counselor taught me.

    ‘Til then – I’m just sending you my positive energies. I meditated a flame yesterday, focusing my energies on it. I made it stand still. Then I just meditated its different layers, and I felt some element of peace. I wish this same peace to you. **sending you my good energy reserves**

  7. Parents came up a lot in my sessions, and my therapist said that for most people, parents is a common subject. I didn’t want to place any blame either, since that doesn’t really solve anything, but it’s amazing how much you realize that they have affected you.

    Maybe it’s time to find new single friends :) hard to meet people when all your friends are coupled up. I usually hang out with friends who are single, they’re more fun ;)

  8. i become severely anxious when my level of socialization with others has stepped up. it’s hard to not to want to recede back. i find that only time fixes the issue, and one must guarantee that they have enough time for solitude in order to balance it out. but stopping to see friends–like i have done in the past–only makes me feel worse. not to mention guilty.

    out of curiosity jeff, what kind of therapist are you seeing? is it cognitive-behavioural? (not that it really matters in the end–studies show that people benefit from therapy no matter the type).

  9. @Pearl — Less central is the right way to put it. I don’t feel like progress has been made in terms of self-discovery because this is mostly stuff I’ve been aware of in the back of my head for some time. I already know what I gain from suffering (i.e. creativity), but I don’t know if I want to keep it this way.

    @mk — We seem to share this common bond of our experiences. Talking to a professional does help a tremendous deal. Otherwise, it’s difficult to tell if one is being unfairly biased in issues such as one’s parents, or if one is justified in finding out that they’re the root of some problems.

    @Sophia — Interesting, you’re still on good terms with your parents, aren’t you? Have you ever told them?

    Unfortunately, I don’t make friends easily and as I get older, it’s getting to that age where everyone is getting married.

    @tina — Yes, it’s very hard not to recede back. It’s getting worse for me actually, and I avoid social contact (concerts, parties, etc though not small gatherings with friends). Not seeing friends makes me feel worse as well, but i isn’t a choice for me.

    I’m not sure specifically what kind of therapy, but I do believe it’s cognitive-behavioral, based on the two workbooks he gave me. I’m curious as well since there are so many specializations in this field, but I keep forgetting to ask him.

  10. We get along, but mostly because I don’t want to cause any unnecessary drama. I never told them I went to therapy, and I don’t think they ever knew how depressed I was since their main priorities were that I was fed and educated. Making friends is harder since you go to work and see the same people everyday. I’m sure your exhibit will let you meet a lot of new people too :) Usually extra curricular stuff is a great way to meet different people.

  11. Woah, the fact that your parents didn’t know you went to therapy is pretty shocking, but I understand why. I would never tell my parents anything either, because they wouldn’t understand as well. And it’s almost like it’s worse if you open yourself up in this way to them, because it would be so much worse when they show that they don’t care, as was the case of my dad, or overreact, as was the case of my mom.

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