MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “shrink”

White Lies

https://www.veracode.com/sites/default/files/styles/blog_post_resize_960/public/developer-vs-hacker.jpg?itok=rJjgPnyn“I don’t understand what I’m always doing wrong”, Jack told his psychiatrist as he made himself comfortable on the couch. “Well, let’s analyse it together then”. “You see, that’s what she always wants too. To analyse everything”. “So why don’t you? What do you have to lose anyway? Isn’t that what you come here for? What difference does it make that you talk to me instead of her? Your partner in life? That I tell you I’m a professional and you pay me to talk to me? She can do it for free”. “Yes, but I’m not obliged to tell her everything and she demands all her questions to be answered all the time”. “You’re looking at it wrong. ‘Obliged’ is not a word to be used in a healthy relationship. You’re supposed to want to tell her everything, to share things with her. That’s the point of having someone to walk with you in life. That you know all about each other no matter how insignificant that thing is. To the other, that ‘insignificant’ thing may be of great value. Think about this: when you ask a question – to anyone – don’t you expect that question to be answered? Don’t you want an answer? It is the same with every person in your life no matter the relationship you have with them”.

“But these bursts of explosion, they’re unnerving. I can’t stand them anymore”, Jack puffed. The shrink smiled and doodled something on his notepad.

“Instead of angering yourself so much over these ‘explosions’ as you describe them, wouldn’t it be better if you consider what it is that causes them?”

Jack prepared to say something beginning with a “but..”, but his psychiatrist quickly interrupted to continue: “Like Newton’s Third Law of Physics states: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If these explosions are someone’s reaction, have you ever properly considered what your actions are?

Jack sunk deeper into the couch. Silent.

“Think about all the things you do that you consider so normal. Think about the things that she – or anyone else really – do and that annoy you or have caused your eruption. How would you react if it was the other way round? If it was you who acted the way she or another person acted? Would you accept such a behaviour? You can’t simply expect to play the game only by your rules and customise everything else to suit your own needs. In life, we need to pay attention to everyone else too. To put ourselves in the other’s shoes and try to imagine how we would feel if we were on that other side”.

Jack seemed perplexed. The psychiatrist was not sure he was following his trail of thought. “I’ll give you an example: we live in times when unemployment is so high, youth in their 30s still live at home. How are they supposed to make a future for themselves, a family of their own in this situation? Would you be OK if you were with someone who was still living with their parents, or was living with you for a few days/weeks/ however long and still had all their things at their parents’ house? How would that seem to you? Would you accept it?”

Jack’s face became pale. He seemed to be understanding. “And what about the things you blow off, or cancel because of jealousy or rage? How can you then demand that the other acts in a different way, simply because you think you deserve a lighter treatment for the same ‘crime’? You want all your questions to be answered instantly but also want to decide on which questions you will provide answers to, even tailoring them to your own vision of what should be the truth”.

“But that’s because I want to avoid problems and don’t want to hurt anybody”. Jack’s response caused an ironic smirk to form on the shrink’s face. “Lying to avoid pain – these ‘white lies’ that don’t mean anything as everyone thinks, are the ones that often hurt the most. Because to be honest: a lie is still a lie. In whatever form. And a white lie simply demonstrates that you are undermining the other’s intelligence and capacity to comprehend the truth. Try being honest for a change and see how different and calmer everything will be”.

Jack was beginning to understand. The psychiatrist seemed serene, determined to make him see that it is not always one side that is right. Every coin has two sides, but it is only until you turn and see the other that you truly understand the value of both sides. “You receive from the world what you give to the world. Just because you are used to things being done in a certain way doesn’t mean that this is the correct one. You’re supposed to leave your mind open to change to assimilating new things, constantly. That’s how we grow, how we mature, how we improve”.

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The load we carry

https://userscontent2.emaze.com/images/4669297c-d643-4dda-ac3f-b8c0aff979b2/67f85e5251c50b6c1e5307c671be83f1.pngTry to relax”. The voice was hoarse yet soothing. It had the tone of wisdom possessed by a mature person struck by many misfortunes in life. It was only fitting the Dr Hasbland would become a psychiatrist. He had been through so much – loss of loved persons, divorces, legal battles, evictions, foul play. He had seen a lot and experienced so much more than what his patients recounted.

Sergio was a special case. He went through extreme mood swings. The type where he could burst into anger and be tempted to light everything up in flames so as to cause as much destruction as possible, or where he would sit silently hidden from the world, pondering the vanity of it all as he could not contain the tears running from his eyes. It was a type of bipolar disorder, but only so much worse. Dr Hasbland had witnessed it first-hand in his office.

“Focus on one spot. Do you see the whirlwind? Look into that and try to free your mind. Forget everything that is bothering you and try not to think about anything for now. Relax”.

They had tried a lot of counselling and recommendations, but none of it seemed to work. It would only minimise the frequency of the mood swings, not their essence.

Hypnosis was the last resort. Dr Hasbland was certain this bipolar-ism was a consequence of a childhood trauma.

And he was right.

Because in the hypnosis, Sergio awakened a beast. One that remembered how he was mistreated as a child but blackmailed into not saying anything ever, and how that ordeal stayed with him, scarring his very psyche and causing him to become so extremely paranoid at times. He had to say it out loud, all that he had been through, so he could release his soul of the burden he was carrying for so long.

When he awoke, Sergio remembered nothing. But he felt lighter. In some way relieved. The mood swings soon disappeared and he managed to take on a different approach to life. One more positive, where he would see the brightness of things and not the bad that could come from them. It is the things we carry with us that cause the most damage in the end.

Between a couch and a wild place

The leather couch used to squeak whenever he would slide down onto it. It didn’t anymore. You could even feel the small dent in the middle caused by all those people it had accommodated over the years. He could proudly or shamefully (it depends how you saw it) proclaim that he had grown up right there on that brown leather couch. In that down town office that was as modern as could be, with white walls that were repainted every five years and modern, funky furniture that invited the waiting patients and offered the illusion that they would take their troubles away.

Relax”.

That was the first word he heard every time he sat on that couch. It was Mr. Waterman’s job, though, to say so. He needed his patients calm so that they could pour out their soul to him during the next hour and he could attempt to provide some solution, consolation or advice to their problems. And these were many and varied. But over the years he had heard a lot. Just not from one particular patient. This one had proven to be an especially difficult case.

Brandon would simply refuse to speak out, to tell the professional sitting across him what troubled his mind, what made his heart ache, where his eyes wandered when he stared at the horizon out of the window. Whatever the exhortations or appeals Mr Waterman would use, discreetly or not, Brandon did not want to speak. He simply sufficed to say that he had nothing to say. Mr Waterman even tried to entice him with milkshakes and chocolate, but that didn’t work even when he was a young child, let alone now.

After around twenty years of therapy, Brandon still had nothing to say. Yet, he was as confused and tormented inside as he had always been. A storm was still brewing inside of him. It was just silent to the outer world.

Brandon was a child that kept to himself. He became quite the introvert as a young man, although he loved to socialize and go out with friends. But when he returned home, he liked to stay in his room doing his own thing, whatever that was – reading a book, listening to music, surfing the web. And just like he disturbed no one, he himself did not like to be disturbed. His upper class parents believed he was a troubled child. They described him as “emotionally unavailable” and “awkward” and pleaded Mr Waterman to “fix him”. So Brandon grew up in the office of a shrink. Only none of them knew about it.

Mr Waterman watched Brandon grow from a quiet boy into an unsuccessful rebel, into an elegant and well-educated young man. From the few things Brandon had uttered in his office, the professional understood that the boy felt misunderstood, that no one could comprehend what he felt or thought and that is why he preferred to stay silent. So the hours were spent talking about culture, the news, and well, anything other than himself. The latest thing that made Brandon’s eyes gleam with excitement was a photo book of the most amazing places in the world that should be visited. The first-page inscription –a quote by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” – was what mostly inspired his heart to sing. But Mr Waterman knew that the storm would finally break out; he could see it the young man’s eyes, his gaze was looking further than meets the eye. It was obvious that he was in search of something out there that was not immediately visible.

And the storm arrived.

It came in the form of a hand-written letter and a tidied-up room.

I run because I no longer want to hide.
Because there is so much more out there to explore.
Because I want to move on with my life and do something substantial.
Because I feel I cannot reach my true potential if I
am locked down here, without facing any real challenges or the endless possibilities that seem to be out there.
Because I want to be somewhere where people know me for me and not because of who I know.
Because I want to be heard without needing to yell and fight.
Because I want to rediscover the joy of Fridays and looking forward to the weekend.
Because I want to live and see places and not just hear about them from other people’s past experiences.
Because I want to find a house that is mine from the start, that I decorate and organise to fit my needs.
Because it is part of growing up and independence is a powerful thing to have.
Because I don’t want to waste time anymore, waiting.
Because I want to finally find and taste at least one happy ending.
I run because I am not running. I simply want to live.

Shrink to grow

Psychiatrist - shrinkWhen you think about it, cavemen or even people living in the middle ages must have been much happier than we are now. OK, so maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. But certainly people just a few decades ago were much better off. One piece of evidence for that is that no-one was howling the “financial crisis” jargon over the heads for what feels like forever. Another, is that they didn’t seem to have the urge to run to psychologists, psychiatrists or psychoanalysts to let out their problems.

In fact it seems that as society develops, our problems become all the more complex, intense and stressful. And for that, we need to feel that someone is on our side. Understanding and offering a helping hand, at least in the form of some advice.

Perhaps, this is the reason we often resort to ‘professional help’. Because “they would know better” and offer solutions. But in reality, all they truly offer is a chance for you to release everything that is bothering you, that is tormenting your mind, that is keeping you awake at nights. They allow you to liberate all the emotions, anger and tension that you have been suppressing for so long. And they do that by simply granting you the security that they will not judge. They are there to listen and maybe tell you what they believe will help you in finding the right solution or way forth. So, in essence, they act pretty much like a Buddha would, because the answer almost always lies within you. And in the end, you are the only one who can solve your problems.

You just need to realize what makes you so frustrated, that at times it comes out as passive-aggressive, what makes you depressed, what raises your heart pressure, what is troubling your mind and most of all, why. In this search for inner peace and answers, we all wish there was someone out there who could just provide us with all the information we need to know. But unfortunately, there isn’t. And they can’t. So we still don’t know.

Whoever your psychologist is – be it a Frasier Crane character, or more like a Charlie-type in Anger Management – these people may sit through tens of sessions a day, listening to other people’s problems and in the end they themselves may need someone to vent out on. So we could at least help them in their job and try to solve these inner riddles that are causing us to crawl up in their comfy chair in the first place.

Sometimes, the answers we seek are indeed right in front of us. We just lack the courage, the strength or even the will, to truly acknowledge them.

 

N.B. The term “shrink” is a clipping of “headshrinker”, a US slang term that simply refers to the idea that psychiatrists have the ability to reduce or “shrink” one’s mind into an understandable concept. Thereby (if I may add) helping you grow in the process.

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