Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 4/18/97

Saturday, April 12, 1997

Sunday, April 13, 1997

Monday, April 14, 1997

9 am. Fourth Session with Jerico Freeman. I have a problem with Jerry. I have no idea how far to trust what he's telling me. Now I see all sorts of signs of lying, but they could easily be my projection upon him--I'm expecting him to be lying to me. He told a completely unbelievable revenge fantasy about joining with his mother to murder his vicious father in an act of self defense. I believed Jerry when he told me that his father was a son-of-a-bitch, though. There was something about the way that Jerry talked about the canings and the poor treatment of his mother that just rang true. Apparently, his father worked in the penal system, as a guard perhaps? He walked with a cane--a particular bamboo cane with a dragon's head, towards which Jerry has a strong negative association--and used it to beat Jerry and his mother. Jerry certainly does have an extremely negative attitude towards those in authority that an abusive father would help explain. But Jerry is also evasive during our sessions. Anytime I wander into an area which feels unfamiliar to Jerry, he reacts with suspicion. I have the strong feeling that there is much that he is hiding from me.

I received an e-mail from Peter Hossfeld today. Peter responds point by point to my last e-mail, but my attempts there were all in vain. Peter will not come back to therapy, and I'm convinced it is because he is scared of Serena. Peter wants me to somehow work in concert with Serena. He begs me not to tear down what Serena and he have been working towards. And that means that he doesn't want to hear anything negative about her. Somehow she has convinced him that he was such a wretched figure in his past lives that he doesn't deserve anything better than slavery in this one. He also doesn't want me to express my concern about his physical well-being, although he is now suffering from blinding headaches in addition to the increased instability of his epileptic seizures. As Peter puts it, Serena has asked him to pay the ultimate price--romantic love--for her services. Peter is unable to love Serena, or even fool himself into thinking that he is in love with her. Even during sex, Peter is forced to simulate orgasm, although Peter also believes that she knows he is faking both his emotions and his emissions. I'm putting off writing a response to Peter, because I'm not sure what to tell him. How can I be true to what I know Peter needs at the same time as I try to participate in this unhealthy farce?

Tuesday, April 15, 1997

12 pm. Seventh Session with Eliza Raven. At the time of her appointment, Eliza rushed into my office sobbing and jumped onto my lap. Before I knew it, she had a nose-bleed all over my shirt. I felt like the Doctor from some slasher movie during most of the session--I tried to ignore the fact that I was covered in gore. And I thought that as a therapist I had escaped the risks that my surgeon and dentist friends face with AIDs. Anyway, I finally got her calmed down and into a chair. She was very apologetic and explained that Luke had recently broken up with her. Apparently, Luke had been trying to understand Eliza's experimentation with the astral plane. Eliza told Luke about her sexual fantasy made manifest that she previously told me about--a sexual encounter with a stranger on the astral plane. Luke didn't take it well. He equated her fantasy adventure with a real experience, said that she was cheating on him, called her a nymphomaniac-- apparently he has a lower sex drive than she does--packed her bags and threw her out. Now, Eliza is staying with her mother and stepfather. She said that her mom was being quite supportive of her and even called in sick for her at work. A side benefit of staying with her mom is that Eliza is getting to know her stepfather, who she had always dismissed before as a conservative, but whom she now sees has another nice, quietly domestic side. Her father had a crisis in his relationship with Calypso--he broke off their engagement and asked everyone to leave him alone. Now they have reconciled, but he is starting in therapy to work out some issues, as he put it. Apparently, Eliza's father still has strong unresolved feelings for Eliza's mother, which surfaced when he considered a commitment to Calypso. Before Eliza left today, she gave me a ticket and a backstage pass to her band's concert. I think she sings for a group called the "Dozin' Pozers." The ticket is on the 25th of April, and I'd like to go--it would be good to see Eliza outside of the confines of this office.

4 pm. Thirty-Fifth Session with Sylvia Bows. Tom was able to shield Sylvia from the article for a while, but one of the guests at the inn they were staying at in Sonoma spilled the beans. So Sylvia came back to a certain degree of infamy. At SII, the lawsuit itself is being passed around, some sorority group has started an ersatz Sylvia Bows fan club called "FUCKS"--I've forgotten what it stands for--and Sylvia's parents are reacting with horror and scorn. Not surprisingly, Sylvia has also become a role model for some in this celebrity-crazy society of ours. I won't be surprised if she's invited onto the talk-show circuit soon. But the main issue is still Tom. He is remaining emotionally closed to Sylvia. She believes that she can break the ice with sex, but Tom, I think, needs a lot more emotional intimacy before he's going to be comfortable renewing his sexual union with Sylvia. I told Sylvia straight out that I thought that Tom loved her and that he is waiting for her to open up to him emotionally, and she said she'd try to make that happen, but there is some block in Sylvia--something that is preventing her from allowing herself to become vulnerable to Tom.

Wednesday, April 16, 1997

Thursday, April 17, 1997

12 pm. Sixth Session with Christina Herald. Christina was in quite an ebullient mood during our session today. She's given glimpses of this mood before, but she is really quite endearing when she's relaxed and in a good mood. Her attitude and manner was much more conversational and friendly this time. Funny and intelligent, with a penchant for goofiness, I even detected that she was wearing make-up! I had left the office for a candy bar just before our session, and when I returned, she was on the couch with her shoes off and her feet up, blowing bubbles out of one of those red plastic bubble pipes. Atrociously imitating Sigmund Freud, she started doing psychiatry shtick. At the end of the session, she presented me with the pipe. I was pleased that Christina is feeling so comfortable in my presence. Anyway, we soon moved into her family relations, including those relatives from both her mother and father's sides. Without going into detail, Christina has a good relationship with her mother's sister Sarah, who served as a surrogate mother during part of Christina's childhood. Sarah is a computer freak and has something of a private computer museum, keeping her old models up and running. She has a poor relationship with her step-mother Joanna, whom she thinks of as an idiot. She has a cousin Gavin, Sarah's son, that she likes as well. Her mother's mother, Grandma Strauss, is apparently an old lady who spouts German invective and isn't particularly concerned about tact. Except for her paternal grandparents, her father's large Canadian family she doesn't much care for. One exception is her father's maternal grandfather, Great-Grandpa Maguire. He is from Ireland, taught Christina some Gaelic--probably mostly Gaelic curses--and together they villify other family members. Christina talked a bit more about Malcolm this week. He seems a somewhat dangerous fellow, actually. A hot-head trained in the martial arts, my guess is that he seriously assaulted Kevin several weeks ago for calling Christina from the public phone across the street from her apartment. That same night was the first, and apparently only, time when Christina and Malcolm have had sexual relations. I questioned her about safe sex, but Christina told me that she is extremely careful on that score. Apparently, she has terrified her gay brother as well into safer sexual practices. Jonny prefers taking the dominant role in his relationships, which Christina believes makes him less likely to contract AIDs, although she still insists that he take thorough precautions. Christina's relationship with Malcolm sounds quite out of the ordinary. At the end of the session, he appeared in my waiting room. Christina reacted as if she was not expecting him, and not overjoyed to see him there. Christina is tired of being treated as a simpering rescued maiden, as she put it, by the males in her life. She wants to be the hero of her own journey.

4 pm. Thirty-Eighth Session with Anna Green. I was completely unprofessional during the beginning of my session today with Anna. Her submission to being whipped has really preyed upon my mind. If I felt that she was a genuine masochist being introduced to the pleasures of submission, I'd probably cheer. But I don't. She's found this "whip-master" who is going to put her under the lash tomorrow at 9 o'clock in the confines of his personal dungeon. Anna is grateful to him for taking time out of his busy schedule to lash her. Anyway, I've clearly lost a lot of my objectivity over this issue. I've got to pull back and help Anna through whatever it is that she needs to go through right now. Anna finds herself sexually attracted to Gray and his commanding presence. It's funny. Previously, I was imagining someone with a magnetic personality and a commanding presence when I was trying to picture this expert in whipping techniques. But Anna was not. She was expecting him to be nondescript looking, and was surprised when he turned out to be more like my stereotype. Anyway, although she has Martin's permission and support in her experimentation into the pleasures of the lash, she felt it best not to go into the degree of sexual attraction she finds for Gray. I wonder if Anna is feeling a little guilty for experiencing this degree of eroticism with someone other than Martin. Just before she left, Anna showed me another one of Martin's drawings. This one is an art deco whip-wielding female character with robot parts, somewhat reminiscent of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis."

Friday, April 18, 1997

9:15 am. Telephone Conversation with Cassandra Evans. Cassie called back! Taking me completely by surprise, she called out of the blue, interested in renewing her therapy sessions. I hadn't heard from Cassie since November of last year when she suffered a serious decline in her health and moved in with her grandmother. Apparently, she has recovered somewhat. She is even trying to get back to work part time. She has ended her relationship with Brian and has taken up with a new man named David, who is a psychology student presumably doing research at a CFIDS support group where they met. Cassie is still very unwilling to be dependent upon others, and when she is forced to be, she reacts emotionally. That was her reaction when she was telling me about David's willingness to take her to therapy sessions. But I was unwilling to set our sessions at 8:30 at night to accommodate David's schedule. I asked Cassie to try to work something else out, and I'm willing to resume our sessions by telephone, if need be.

10 am. Second Session with Decker Jenkins. Although obviously I need more time to develop a fuller picture, Mr. Jenkins presents symptomology consistent with active phase Criterion A2 Schizophrenia of Undifferentiated Type. Simian, the friend which he had told me about during his last session, turns out to be a persistent auditory hallucination which keeps up a running commentary on this thoughts and actions. In my presence, Decker mentioned the possibility of suicide as a means of controlling the voice. Although I am extremely concerned, in my best judgement I do not believe that Decker means to imminently commit suicide, although I will conduct a suicide assessment in our next session together. For now, I thought it most important to try to get Decker on an immediate somatic course of treatment. I want to aggressively treat his psychotic symptoms, so I prescribed risperidone, 6 mg. daily. I've had good luck with the benzisoxazoles--they are potent with a relatively few extrapyramidal side effects. Even though the risk of tardive dyskinesia is relatively low with risperidone, I'm prescribing a prophylactic vitamin E therapy as well (1200 IU daily). Of course all of it is irrelevant if he doesn't take the medication. It seems that Decker really wants treatment, but Simian may not allow Decker to take the medication. If I can't convince Decker to take the medication, then I will have to consider getting a court order to have him committed until he stabilizes. Untreated, Decker has a poor prognosis indeed. Some observations during the session: Decker is quick to express emotion. When that happens, his entire body tenses and he often swears. Every time he swears, he freezes, looks directly at me (which is the only real eye contact I have with Decker during the session) and seemingly is fearful that I might physically punish him. Decker still sits on his hands during the session, forcefully preventing any hand gestures. However, he does use his feet to write imaginary designs or letters on the floor. Here, he is quite detailed. I noticed him crossing t's and dotting i's, although I couldn't read what he was writing. When he told me that he had his face ripped open with a belt by Karen, I noticed that he had a permanent scar under his right eye. Whenever he talked about women, I also noticed that he gets an expression of disgust on his face.

4 pm. Sixth Session with Thomas Darden. Thomas arrived early to our session. He had taken the day off work, but wasn't really sick--just hung-over. It seems that he'd been spending his time thinking about his lost love. Sharon was a sexually precocious 16 year old high school student when they met in 1994. Thomas was, at that time, 22, and somewhat socially awkward. They began a very intense relationship which Thomas now says that he knew was doomed to fall apart when she went to college. Sure enough, even though her college was within easy driving distance from her old house, within a week she wanted to break up. Thomas tried to let her know that he was still interested in having her back in his life, but the always difficult transition from lover to friend failed. Thomas took her love letters, highlighted certain portions, and scrawled "nasty comments" in the margins. She immediately stopped having any contact with him, calling him a psycho. Once he even went out and stood beneath her window for a couple of hours. Now he worries if he was stalking her, a somewhat moot point considering the distance in both miles and years between Thomas and Sharon now. Soon after, Thomas moved to San Francisco. But he still hasn't gotten over his lost love. I gave him advice which I'm afraid he'll dismiss as trivial nonsense, but I told him to get out more and try to put the past behind him.

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