Psychoanalytic Reflections 03

My therapist is on vacation now. When he gets back, I’ll start to see him on a bi-monthly instead of weekly basis. At first he suggested that we slow down only once I get a handle on my anxiety, but when I explained that the sessions were putting me in a negative cash-flow scenario, he understood and agreed1.

  • My depression is gone. Most likely, it was a side effect of my anxiety, or generalized anxiety disorder, which is mostly gone now.
    • The root of this is from my habit of predicting negative outcomes and asking too many “what ifs”, which I’m still learning to control.
  • There’s this idea of learned helplessness that I struggle with. The bigger issue is that when I feel helpless, I get depressed as a result, about things out of my control such as the weather.
    • I love how the practical side of psychology falls in line with Taoism. In this case, I think of verse 29 of the Tao Te Ching:

      Allow your life to unfold naturally
      Know that it too is a vessel of perfection
      Just as you breathe in and out
      Sometimes you’re ahead and other times behind
      Sometimes you’re strong and other times weak
      Sometimes you’re with people and other times alone
      To the Sage all of life is a movement toward perfection

  • One issue I had a hard time understanding was my belief that attempting something is a waste of time if I don’t succeed. I suppose that it seems rather silly now that I think about it (such as avoiding getting in a relationship just for the fact that one may get hurt), but I spent an entire session on this subject alone. It’s a problem because I give up on certain things before I try, and lose important opportunities as a result.
  • I’m starting to become more aware of my automatic thought patterns. I’d automatically avoid certain situations because they would give me anxiety, or predict how other people would react based on past experiences, without even realizing it. This is wrong.
  • I was a little skeptical about the usefulness of thought records at first, but now that I’ve finished about a half-dozen, I notice a change in my thought process. Every time I get flustered, I think in my head of what I’ll write down later (simply because I don’t have time to write it in the moment) and just doing this helps a great deal.
  • My therapist is a fan of Chappelle’s Show (which is generally considered to be a low-class and crude form of humour), because it breaks social barriers by making fun of stereotypes, thereby robbing them of their significance. This makes him the coolest middle-aged white guy ever, and makes me want to smoke a spliff with him.
    • He also calls weed, “grass”, which is cute.
  1. We’re both baffled by the fact that the sessions aren’t covered by OHIP, whereas physical health problems are. []

11 comments

  1. bi-monthly as in once every 2 months? or did you mean bi-weekly :)

  2. Yeah, thanks for kicking me when I’m down. :)

  3. Check with your company’s private medical insurance. I remember being able to claim that.

    I actually like this one:
    “One issue I had a hard time understanding was my belief that attempting something is a waste of time if I don’t succeed. ”

    I started from the opposite of this philosophy and is slowly working towards this. Problem with attempting everything is that you don’t get time to practice what’s important. Eventually a choice needs to be made.

  4. Thought monitoring rather than thought-swatting-away can help, yes. Any suppression pushes back with as much force as it pushed away.

    I agree. it’s nuts what’s covered by OHIP. Counseling? Preventative dentistry? massage therapy? nope. Wait until physical crisis.

  5. @Causalien — My company policy only covers two sessions, which is basically nothing. Apparently, a lot of high tech companies offer full coverage, which would have been nice.

    Time definitely becomes significant when you reach the point of having to prioritize. Even then it shouldn’t matter though, because the attempt, the lessons learned, should still be worth failure. As Alfred Pennyworth said, “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up.”

    @Pearl — I’m not sure if I suppress any thoughts, although it’s probably called “sub-conscious” for a reason.

    And the entire Western approach to medicine seems like it’s just putting out fires (as opposed to traditional Chinese medicine, which is preventative). It probably costs the healthcare system more in the long run.

  6. re: subconscious.– good point. It’s like lucid dreaming. Why meddle and take away the brain’s unconscious finding its own solutions by conscious mind thinking it knows better. The verbal mind is such a colonist.

    and re: medical models – exactly.

  7. You sound a lot more positive this time round. The idea is trying not to label an experience as good or bad, success or failure. But then, that may numb your creativity. I guess moderation is the key.

    With the amount of tax you guys have to pay, these therapies are not covered by OHIP ? I would have thought OHIP would have covered at least a % of the cost.

  8. “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up.”

    I view it more as: ” Try it, even if it’s just to experience failure in what you do.” After a while, it morphed into: “Failure = just another bug to be solved.” I think in my current state, failure no longer exists. I don’t go into anything with the definition of “what needs to happen” for it to be a failure. After a few minutes of thought, it seems like just another black and white that we human tried to define.

  9. @Pearl — I have a difficult time restraining my conscious mind. Maybe this is why my lucid dreams are so unfortunately ephemeral.

    @Uncle Joe — I do feel a lot better than before. In my head I understand that all experience is “movement towards perfection”, but in my heart, it’s a lot more difficult to believe. As you say, it can definitely limit my creativity though. Perhaps it’s not moderation (or else I wouldn’t be seeing a therapist) but being able to control it that’s the key.

    There’s a lot of important healthcare that’s covered by OHIP, but much of it is major stuff like surgery, as well check-ups. It’s mostly the bare essentials that we pay for, so the government thinks that if you there’s nothing terribly wrong with you, then you don’t need it.

    @Causalien — I’m starting to view failure as being part of life and as necessary as success. In this way it could be paradoxically said that failure no longer exists, because it becomes a form of success. Either way, we’ve reached the same conclusion.

  10. It’s reported that Ang Lee cries on the set all the time. Otherwise he seems perfectly cheerful and calm during interviews. He seems to be one artist who can control it by the push of a button.

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