How's it going? I guess I'm glad to be writing another Mr. Analysand. I have to get used to the idea again, for a second.
I haven't posted since late April, and the last few weeks I was amazed to hear from some people who wanted to know where I've been lately. Have I stopped writing Mr. Analysand? No. Have you run out of stuff to write about? No. Are you OK? Yes.
I could say I've been reeeeeaaaaaaaly busy, and that would be true, but I probably could have squeezed a chapter out amidst the chaos. And I couldn't even say I've been absent from analysis type talk - CNN.com featured me earlier this month in a cool article about Freud in 2010.
But the last couple of months have been a new time for me in psychoanalysis, one that was hard to write about. It felt strange, and for a lot of the time, I didn't understand what was going on during the session, or in my head while I was in there. And I also didn't understand what to write about as a result.
So when it came to Mr. Analysand, it's not that I didn't have anything to say. For the first time since I started writing this series, I just didn't know how to say it.
In session, it seemed like Ms. Analyst and I just kept pondering the same point. The start of each 45 minutes wasn't something I dreaded, but I certaintly stopped looking forward to it. The closest you could get to being a stalemate - without actually being a stalemate - session after excruciating session moved in 45-minute circles.
"I don't understand why I'm here," I'd say. Not in a challenging way, but because I'd really forgotten. We had probably spent the previous day figuring it out, and it made sense at the 43rd minute. But not now.
Ms. Analyst was usually extremely interested in why this was the case - again. Patiently, she would somehow lead me to a place where logically I could see why I was still in analysis. Still grinding out deep questions that seemed impossibly important to answer.
The thing -- as it turned out I didn't yet realize -- is that understanding what the problem is, and being in therapy for it, are only part of making progress. Something massive was missing. Slowly, from week to week, I began to realize this. It was not that there was an obvious but invisible answer. Instead a necessary ingredient for healing was absent.
I'll end the suspense: It was will. And it wasn't just the will to talk about change. I found the will to change. Not the whole enchilada. Just something about me.
That was a bona fide breakthrough. You know - those things we work really hard to have in therapy? It took me months, but I had one.
And now is where I'm probably supposed to say that the difference in analysis is like night and day, but I think it's more like 4 AM and the first grey streak of dawn. I've been at this long enough to know not to rush ahead. What if I ride the wave, instead of gunning the engine? I wonder what that might feel like.
What was your last game-changer? When did you last snatch victory from the jaws of the doldrums? What did you come away with? Therapy ebbs, then flows back. - Mr. Analysand.