There's a new comment in one of my earlier blogs (In Search of...Ms. Analyst) called "From Rupture to Repair", and that's exactly what's on my mind right now.
Sometimes I'm ambivalent about my analysis - I don't have the time, I don't know why I'm going, I don't know when it will ever work -- but not tonight. On this Monday night, four days separated from my last Thursday session, I'm ready to get back on the couch (I'm lying down again) and get to work with Ms. Analyst.
The reason for my renewed enthusiasm isn't that life feels grand and I'm all giddy to share it. It's that so much feels broken inside, and I know I have to repair it.
This, of course, is a good thing. I'm realizing that the longer I'm in analysis (coming up on 4 years), the harder I'm trying to break things: Bad habits, negative cycles, and presenting problems are all in my sights - on target to get busted apart and banished. Never to return.
But as so many of us in therapy know, our demons are highly capable of making a comeback the first time we beat them down. And the second. And the third. At least that's been my experience.
Long, torturous cycles of discovery, taking months, would finally bring on breakthroughs. I felt repaired, and I would tell Ms. Analyst, with certainty, that THIS TIME I had finally turned the corner. The lifelong rupture was finally defeated. After our many sessions and my diligent work converting them into results outside of the pod I was now victorious, for real, and I was sure I would stay that way.
"I see," she would observe, "that this time feels different." And so it did. And then I would start musing about some other minor malady, perhaps even privately planning my eventual disembarkment from the pod.
Until those Bad Boys came back. The repair? Ruptured. Again.
Last week, after months of hard labor, I broke down one of my demons once more. Wrestled it into submission and put it in a mental chokehold. But this time really is different, because instead of thrusting my arms triumphantly into the air, I know to beware.
The problem has been neutralized, but I am not in a state of repair. I am in a state of rupture, and I will choose to stay there.
Why? Because Ms. Analyst believes - and I think I finally get it - that I must fully understand my darkest elements if I'm ever going to break free of their influence. The idea right now is not to learn how to go to a happy place, but to remain enveloped in the threatening conditions so we can see what's really going on.
"Embrace the hopelessness," she urges, when I tell her that I'm hurting. "Embrace the chaos and destruction. Drop anchor and drill down."
It took me so long to understand what she meant by that. Wasn't I in therapy so I could feel good? And wasn't I telling her how I felt at the moment, which was baaaaaad? Wasn't I effectively free associating?
But now I think I get it. I've modified my behavior, and earlier on that was enough to make me feel better. But now I don't want to feel better. Not yet, odd as it sounds. We have a lot to learn from the chaos, and maybe tomorrow I'll embrace it and unleash it in the session room, rather than just playing keepaway.
How do you regress and rebound as your cycles come around? What does it take for you to turn the corner, and keep on going? Making things break - and then letting them stay that way - sounds like a strange strategy. But I think taking this new tack shows why it pays to stay in therapy. I'm still learning, through trial and error, how to be an analysand.
-- Mr. Analysand