27 September 05
Psychotherapy with Dr. Allen (Part 1)
Psychotherapy is available again, and I’ve had three sessions with Dr. Allen. The first two sessions were assessment orientated, but during the third session Dr. A began to explore my mind. Here’s some dialogue from session three:
“What’s your definition of success?” Dr. A asked.
“It was material success, but now I know that being mentally successful is what matters.”
“You mentioned big cycles of success and failure in your life, can you describe them for me?”
“I had two big runs: one when I was a stockbroker, and one when I traded stocks online. Both times I thought I had it made. I thought that I had found the right woman. I had plenty of money, cars and gadgets. Then I self-destructed – both times. I partied more, and I lost nearly everything – my wife, my house. The peaks were so high that I felt on top of the world, and the troughs were so low that I contemplated suicide.”
“Here’s what I think, and it may or may not be true: you seem to thrive during the building up part – when you have a challenge. But when you achieve your goals, you look around, and ask yourself: what do I do now? It’s almost as if you have no purpose when your goals are achieved; so, you knock down everything that you’ve built up, and start all over again.”
“That may be true. I sow the seeds of my own destruction with the choices I make. I succeed, my behaviour changes, and before I know it everything is knocked down.”
“It seems as if you allow no happy medium between work and play. You work tirelessly to build everything up, which seems to be your main drive. Then when you’re successful, you switch to the partying and raving which brings you down.”
“You said that for the most part you lived reclusively, but on the weekends you’d go raving and be the life and soul of the party.”
“When did you start living reclusively? At what age did you withdraw from your friends?”
“As I became an older teen, I studied more and hung out less with my friends.”
“What did you study?”
“Schoolwork, homework, revision for exams, and I became obsessed with the stock market. I ordered dozens of finance books from Widnes library.”
“Why did you stop hanging out with your friends?”
“They wanted to have fun, later on some got married. I was into studying, whereas, most of my friends frowned on higher education. They celebrated when they finished high school.”
“I have another thought that may or may not be true.”
“Is it possible that your American raver friends were substitutes for those you separated from in England? It’s as if when you went raving you were going back to your original friends.”
“I hadn’t looked at it that way, but it’s possible.”
“Here’s a suggestion: instead of following periods of all-absorbing stock trading and success, with self-destuction and wild partying, perhaps you should organise your time better. What if you researched stocks until three pm, and then allocated time for your social relationships? Wouldn’t you achieve a balance, instead of letting stress build up in your system, switching to partying to deal with the stress, and losing control of your life? You seem to be a well-organised person. Why don’t you organise your life better, starting with managing your time?”
As I wrote this blog, I thought about the comment posted by Stranger in August. Stranger asked how I perceive rave culture, and urged me to reveal more about myself. There are various reasons why I don’t write more about myself, which I would like to put to my readers.
Firstly, the blog was started to expose jail conditions, and to describe jail life. To suddenly start prattling on about myself – I feel – would risk boring readers. I consider myself on the outer limits of the nerd scale, and disinteresting in comparison to colourful characters such as Frankie, Slingblade, Two Tonys and Xena.
I enjoy describing events objectively, as opposed to pushing subjective opinions – especially about myself. I have written attitudinal blogs from time to time because I do discover things that I get emotional about (such as atrocities committed by the Arpaio regime), and I let my opinions flow at the risk of compromising the original format.
I don’t think I could do a good job writing impartially about myself. I don’t fully understand myself, and I am a biased observer.
Finally,by addressing readers questions from time to time, I get to write about reader- requested areas of my life, as opposed to self-selecting areas that may bore readers.
Perhaps psychotherapy dialogues have enabled me to write some unbiased blogs about myself because a professional is asking the questions and doing the probing. Blogging extracts from these therapy sessions seems like a novel way to disclose more about me.
I want to know more about me to become a better person, but I’m unsure how many readers are interested in this area.
Your comments on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
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