Written in 2010: “First Visit”
Patient: Is this what it has come to? I can’t believe I’m here talking to you. This cannot be possible. But, I’m here! Do I need this? I must.
I must need to talk. But, I’m happy. Aren’t I? Maybe I’m just tired. I know I’m frustrated.
Dr. B: This is O.K. You are O.K. Sometimes people who want answers are seeking an understanding. Not answers. Often those experiencing anxiety and eventually depression are the ones asking the hard questions.
Patient: The sane ones! LOL. There aren’t answers? You can’t make me better?
Dr. B: No, there aren’t “answers”…but, there are lots of questions. Life is full of questions. We don’t know the answers.
Patient: I’ve Tried. And, I can’t sleep.
Dr. B: Just live. Realize that answers are really grains of sand.
Patient: Grains of sand.
Dr. B: Sands of life. Thoughts are reality just the same.
Patient: So, I’m not crazy. Sometimes I feel really crazy. Unbalanced. I want more for everyone.
Dr. B: Your intent was good, admirable, next to impossible.
Patient: Mission Impossible
Patient: But, do I REALLy need a Psychologist? Isn’t that a bit extreme. Life has never been that complicated for me. I thought I was doing really well. I thought I had most of the answers.
Dr. B: All the answers?
Patient: Yes. I have been so happy all of my life~ not stupidly happy but, really content. I love my family, my children and my husband is really special.
Dr. B: You are lucky. Very fortunate to have a loving family and husband.
Patient: I know. thank goodness. He really is good to me, he really is. He gets it. It’s complex and he never has to try. He just does.
Dr. B: Your experience has exhausted you. Your experience with other kids and families has exhausted you.
Patient: Yes, it has. I was so frustrated with the education system, it was so broken. There are way too many kids that have so many problems and I felt so alone with their issues.
Dr. B: What is your sleep like.
Patient: My sleep is really difficult and I have ringing in my ears. Unsettled panic sometimes. Uncertainty about the future. But not my future really. I care about my kids (students). I want them happy. And not just my own children. I worry about my students. Their lives are often so fraught with pain. Anguish. Abandonment. Hunger and chaos in their family.
Sometimes Love. Often love. But misplaced somehow.
Dr. B always has a sense of humour. He has made patients laugh so much over the past decade. He made patients realize that all of their darkness was a real experience that deserved his attention. He brought this P into the light and into the sometimes humorous world of Psychology. She talked in detail about every single student that she felt concern for and when she looks back now, it doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelming. That first visit seems like a lifetime ago because it is. She cannot believe that she needed to dissect and discuss every single little thing that happened in her teaching career….but, she did. And, he listened.
Certainly, there are always other concerns. Relationships within a sibling group and a Mum. The challenging and changing relationship with grown children. Dr. B helped her organize her thoughts and create sound boundaries. Most of the time it works.
At the center of much of this work is the quest to understand Individualism. “Individuating”………
“Individuation refers to the process through which a person achieves a sense of individuality separate from the identities of others and begins to consciously exist as a human in the world. When difficulty arises in the process of developing and understanding one’s true self, a therapist or other mental health professional may be able to offer guidance, encouragement, and support.”
“Relationships with both parents and siblings may have an impact on individuation, and the seeds of later challenges may be planted at any stage of the developmental process. “
I am sharing this information, to help others, particularly parents, avoid the pitfalls of inadvertently hampering their child’s need to individuate. Suggesting that the “Terrible twos” don’t exist, and ignoring or diminishing the emotions of a child in the rebellious teen years; may not be the best strategy to ensure that children are able to cope in this ever challenging world.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion):
We all may continue to Individuate for our entire lives.
There is no time frame for this development to occur. In fact, if we embrace (as much as Possible) the changes that happen to us and critically think about relationships within our families; thinking before we speak and looking after the Finer Details (see my Blog Post January 18, 2017); we can at least say we tried.
More ideas will follow. I am finally in a place where I want to share my experience.
Please respond at the bottom of the page if you feel an urge. I would appreciate your feedback.