Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 7/25/97

Saturday, July 19, 1997

Sunday, July 20, 1997

Monday, July 21, 1997

Tuesday, July 22, 1997

12 pm. Seventeenth Session with Eliza Raven. Eliza announced that she's changing jobs. She's quitting SII and going to work at a metaphysics bookstore. Eliza complained about an inability to concentrate and to focus. She also said that her family's solicitousness in taking care of her is making her feel somewhat helpless. In describing her own mental state, Eliza said that she feels sad all the time--a combination of feeling like she has let her family down coupled with an overwhelming sense of guilt together with depression, resentment, and rage. In addition, Eliza described that she's having difficulty sleeping. Apparently, she falls asleep without difficulty but wakes up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and has difficulty falling back asleep. Eliza became quite distressed near the end of the session and said that she felt like she was being punished for something and doesn't know what she has done to deserve it. But Eliza reported good compliance with my instructions respecting the Zoloft that I prescribed and I see a difference in her from our sessions of just a few weeks ago. I'm hopeful that with Eliza's changed job, she'll have turned the corner on her depression.

1 pm. Third Session with Kester Langford. Kester appeared quite agitated at the beginning of our session. When I probed, he told me that he had been evicted from his room and was preparing to move back to the streets unless he found another room somewhere. But even with that unhappy prospect looming over him, Kester seemed unable to muster sufficient energy to even post notices at coffeehouses seeking living accommodations as is his normal practice. Although I haven't decided that medication is definitely the best route, I asked Kester if he would be amenable to medication to treat his depression. After some initial hesitation, Kester seemed to warm to the idea. I'm afraid that Kester is looking for the medication to serve as a magic solution to all of his problems. We talked a bit about Kester's family. His parents both died in the early 1990s, leaving Kester only with an older brother with whom he hasn't spoken in ten years. At the end of the session, Kester indicated that he had an embarrassing sexual problem that he wanted to discuss. But he was so shy about bringing up the issue that I pushed it over into our next session.

4 pm. Forty-Eighth Session with Sylvia Bows. We spent most of our session talking about my problems with my Dad and his stroke. Sylvia was very caring--it touched me that she seemed so genuinely concerned about the health of my father and how it affected me. She told me how she felt when she found out her mother had a heart condition--young and old at the same time. Young, because she felt like a little lost girl. Old, because she felt like she was losing the person who was above her in the generations--if her mother died, Sylvia would somehow take her place and lose her youth. Sylvia also told me more about Tom's mother. Apparently, she had aspirations for Tom to join New York high society. She wished that Tom would marry a New York socialite, but Tom chose Sylvia instead. Sylvia described her relationship with Tom's mother, prior to the July 4th barbecue, as merely civil. Sylvia noted a certain progression in her life. She used to go to many weddings. Then, she predominantly went to baby showers. Now, she fears, the majority will turn to funerals.

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

12 pm. Ninth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex discovered why he has been dropped as a friend and a lover by Benny. It turns out that Benny is a confirmed pedophile and Alex is just too old for him now. Benny is apparently in police custody following their discovery of his molestation of a 12 year old boy. Alex had staked out Benny's house. When no one came in for several days, Alex, who knew the location of a spare key, entered the house. In Benny's bedroom, Alex discovered video tapes, surreptitiously shot, which depicted Benny having sex with numerous young boys including Alex. Although Alex described a feeling of being unclean and tainted--he spent considerable time in the shower scrubbing at his skin--Alex still can't admit to himself on some level that Benny used him. He says that he feels tainted and dirty and he is clearly angry, but he still says that he loves Benny and that Benny took care of him. Alex feels guilty because he derived sexual pleasure from Benny's actions, even if they occurred when he was very young. I tried to explain to Alex that, as humans, we are designed to feel sexual pleasure upon certain stimulus, but that initiating sexual activity with a very young boy was still an act which harmed the victim emotionally and mentally, even if the victim experienced sexual pleasure. Although I urged Alex to turn the tapes over to the authorities, Alex strongly resisted. So I told Alex that he should at least put the tapes back where he found them. I think it likely that the police will eventually get around to searching Benny's residence and will find the tapes. Alex doesn't want anyone seeing the tapes of himself and Benny together, and I certainly understand how he could feel that way. But the other tapes should be adequate to convict Benny. Alex complained of insomnia and he had clearly not slept in several days. So I decided to prescribe quazepam on an as-needed basis, 7.5 mg at bedtime, 15 tabs total. The consent form which Alex's mother signed allowed me to prescribe drugs for Alex's benefit, so I wrote the prescription directly to Alex. He told me that he was hesitant about taking the drugs, but that he'd have the prescription filled.

4 pm. Twelfth Session with Katherine Lippard. Well, I told Katherine to try to get a social life, and she has complied with a bang. Apparently, she has fallen in love with Jake Winter, the first guy she's dated--a mercurial character who seems alternatively the dour intellectual and the light-hearted free spirit. Katherine is having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that she's in love, hardly wanting to admit it to herself. I guess being in love really is a substantial loss of control. She went hang gliding without incident, but she was so elated over the experience that she danced around at the rocky landing site and fell on her ass--bruised but not broken. She consummated her sexual relationship with Jake and she described that in glowing terms. Apparently, she always thought of sex as some kind of recreation and describes herself as never having been previously in love. She was enthralled with the enjoyment of sex as a communicative experience between two people in love. Unfortunately, they didn't practice safe sex. I urged her to at least both get tested. And Katherine is going to use Depo-Provera as a contraceptive. Katherine is dreading talking about her father more with me, although I'm sure she realizes the importance of the subject to her emotional well-being. She promised we'd talk about him during our next session.

Thursday, July 24, 1997

4 pm. Forty-Ninth Session with Anna Green. Anna apparently felt the lack of our session last week, which I canceled. She questioned me about it and I detected a note of jealousy at the thought that I might have a personal life--she quickly reversed herself when I explained that my father is ill. Anna is also displaying jealousy towards Martin's newfound friendship with Kathy. While Kathy was initially unwilling even to be introduced to Martin, he sought her out at the adult bookstore and was able to convert her into a friend. Anna feels excluded from their friendship, however. Kathy and Martin spend a lot of time together without Anna, partly because Anna hasn't made up with Kathy yet. Anna doesn't want to be bullied into making up and doesn't much appreciate Martin's diplomatic mission to save the friendship, if that's what it is. While Anna originally wanted Kathy and Martin to be friends, she wanted them to be like the spokes of a wheel with her at the center. She wasn't much interested in them being friends independent of her. We talked about her relationship with Martin. Anna likes that Martin and she have many things in common--a compatibility in their tastes in movies, music, books, and food. But it's Martin's sexual orientation and desires that strain the relationship. Apparently, although they sleep in the same bed, they are not engaging in any sexual activity. Anna did say that they had decided to put off sex until they were sure of the foundation underpinning their relationship. But she was a bit disturbed to find further evidence of Martin's strong foot fetish--he licks her toes when she comes out of the shower, and she caught him masturbating on the floor of her closet with her shoes over him. While Anna knows about Martin's predilections, she purposefully forgets about them as if hoping that they will just go away. When evidence that they are not is thrust forcibly upon her, she reacts with surprise all over again. Anna refuses to allow me to say anything against Martin. She really wants to try and make the relationship work and she recognizes my antipathy towards him in relation to her. And what I found particularly disturbing at the end of the session was that Anna was making a special effort to make her relationship work with Martin because she views her previous relationships as failures. When this relationship fails, as it must, she will think that the failure of the relationship is part of a pattern of failures and will blame herself for it.

Friday, July 25, 1997

9:45 am. I received a fax from the Anonymous Faxer today. Where before I would have worried about an absence of weeks between faxes, my new relationship with the Anonymous Faxer is such that I'm surprised every time I do receive a fax. Actually, the images are usually somewhat disturbing, so that whereas before, I would often be relieved just to be getting the communication, now I find myself disturbed by the implications of the images that I'm receiving. This image depicts a naked man, clearly unconscious or perhaps dead, draped backwards over unseen hands and being lifted from some black pool of liquid. As he leaves the surface of the water, he disturbs it--creating only a few murky ripples. But the body itself is completely dry. Is the unconscious or lifeless body being delivered away from some unpleasant fate? Or is this a final act of compassion--removing the drowned body of a man consumed under some abyss? The last time that I talked to the Anonymous Faxer, he wanted to undergo a sex change operation. I would guess that he has decided not to do it, or that he has some obstacle to doing it. In the image, he's still a man. There's no female imagery at all. And the source of deliverance from the abyss is unknown. Who or what is influencing his life in such a very dramatic way is unclear. And is he dry because he has been left untouched by the forces symbolized by the black pool?

4 pm. Fifteenth Session with Thomas Darden. Thomas started the session clearly agitated. His comments quickly took a personal turn as he revealed that the reason for his agitation was that he was unhappy that I had prescribed Librium for his condition. I would describe Thomas as being overtly caustic. He started to vilify me for prescribing drugs as a quick fix when he said that I really didn't know anything about him except for what comes up during our sessions together. He even said that he thought that all psychiatrists were scam artists. Obviously, I pulled back from the emotion of what he was saying and simply reminded Tom that therapy was mostly about his helping himself and that he always had the option to either discontinue therapy or seek help from another provider. Finally, he apologized and told me that he had discontinued taking the Librium as of about three weeks ago. Since Librium is a long-acting drug, it's quite possible that Thomas' agitation was caused by some withdrawal symptoms which are typically delayed in onset. Thomas made it quite clear that he was not interested in trying other somatic treatments. Mostly because of the urgings of his co-workers and Sharon, Thomas got himself a kitten. He's afraid, since he doesn't have many feelings for the kitten one way or the other, that he might have robbed the kitten of the benefit of a loving home. I told Thomas that I thought it likely that he would grow attached to the kitten over time. While he was talking about not loving the kitten and taking the kitten away from other opportunities, I got the impression that he was talking metaphorically about human relationships--either wasting someone's time on him or ending up hating the object of his desire. In some ways, it seemed like he was talking about his relationship with Sharon. Regarding Sharon, Thomas said that they were now pen-pals and e-mailing each other about once a week. Sharon, apparently, has solved her wedding jitters and the erotic heat has been sapped from their communications. I urged Thomas to continue his exposure to social settings and I suggested that perhaps he might want to join a writing club that meets in the bookstore that Thomas frequents. He said that he would think about it.

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