Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 07/31/98

Saturday, July 25, 1998

Sunday, July 26, 1998

Monday, July 27, 1998

1 pm. Telephone Conversation with Jesse Trent. I received a call from Jessie Trent, who I haven't seen since November of 1997. Jessie told me that Maddie delivered a baby girl and that Jessie is the genetic father. He sounded terribly relieved about that, as if he had dodged a bullet, and I can't say that I blame him. However, he and his wife do appear to be going through some stress, and Jessie wants me to take on both of them as patients. I tried to demur but he insisted. I explained that there was a conflict, that I would have to treat each of them as separate, keep what each of them said separate from the other, and that the advice I'd give would be in light of what was appropriate for each of them as individuals but not necessarily as a couple. Jessie was ready to agree to all of that. Of course, I'll have to reiterate all of that to Maddie and make sure that she understands and agrees to the ground rules. We set up an appointment for Jesse next Monday at 10 am.

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

10 am. Second Session with Herbert Michel. We covered a lot of ground in our session today, and Herbert seems to understand that he's not likely to get recreational drugs out of me. Herbert was born in Hollywood to a 16 year old rich girl whose mother had died and whose father was horrified at her pregnancy. When Herb was born, Herb's mother left Hollywood and moved to Fresno on her own. She worked as a waitress and sold drugs on the side, becoming a methamphetamine abuser. Herb was physically abused by an assortment of his mother's husbands and boyfriends. Regarding Herb's drug use, she was a permissive mother, allowing him to smoke marijuana in the house from about twelve or thirteen years of age. But Herb says that she drew the line at harder drugs, although that didn't deter Herb much. Herb admits to taking PCP, LSD, methamphetamine, and cocaine, in addition to habitually smoking marijuana. Herb says that he was a bright student who didn't apply himself in school and dropped out. He was making so much money selling drugs while working as a busboy at a chain restaurant that he didn't see the point of staying in high school. My experience with polydrug abusers is that they have a great deal of trouble in standard societal roles of any kind. He was quite candid about his current drug dealing--he said that he sold to half the "suits" at SII. He was also not amenable to having me express my opinion about his illegal activities. But I feel that he's ready for therapy. Although he seems as if he won't admit it, I think that he knows that his life is out of control. I'm not sure, though, just how much self knowledge he really possesses. Rather than seeing himself as a depressing low-life, he seems instead to think of himself as a dashing outlaw, utilizing his wits and cunning to live on the edge.

Wednesday, July 29, 1998

2 pm. Initial Session with Kelly Wiseling. I met with Ms. Wiseling, as she prefers to be called, and her "keeper"--an unpleasant woman named Ann Maxwell who came from the California Deaf and Blind Services Center. Kelly is a twenty-five year old high-spirited woman who is deaf, although not profoundly so. She works as a programmer at SII. Her communication skills are excellent. She augments whatever hearing she possesses with outstanding lipreading skills. She speaks intelligibly, although it takes a bit of effort to understand what she's saying. However, she's fluid with her speech, unreserved about her emotions, and sharp-tongued: she's quite ready to pounce on any perceived slight. Physically, Kelly is about 5' 4", slim but with an athletic build. She's tanned and looks like a runner. Her clothing was light colored and casual. She's attractive without being conventionally beautiful. She has light brown hair which she wears at shoulder length with heavy bangs. Her hair covers her ears, and although it would not be generally noticeable, I could perceive she was wearing a small flesh-colored hearing aid. Kelly exudes confidence--perhaps, even over-confidence as if she's trying to compensate for her handicap. She's clearly easily angered and aroused. I got just a glimpse of Kelly when she's not angry or suspicious, and I thought she seemed quite friendly, with a ready smile. She's very animated when she talks, using many facial expressions and gestures to annotate her speech. I'm certain that she can be both very charming and very manipulative. The nominal reason that Kelly came to see me was that she desired the ability to react unemotionally to perceived insults and snubs. I have a feeling, however, that once she sheds her keeper, she'll be more forthcoming about other issues she may have. Some of those issues may be with the deaf community as a whole, and the California Deaf and Blind Services Center in particular. They were offering her counseling services and she refused, seeking instead my help. They were clearly eager to keep her under their care and were disappointed at her decision to go outside of their control. They were offering psychiatric services by someone trained in ASL and issues surrounding the deaf. Kelly refused such services purportedly because she wishes to be independent. But I think it is easily possible that there is more to it than that. But that's just speculation, perhaps triggered by the unpleasant, possessory manner of Ms. Maxwell. Years ago, I read a very interesting look at deaf people, their unique culture, and the neurolinguistics of the deaf. The book was Oliver Sacks' "Seeing Voices," and I think I'll pick it up again to refresh myself on some of the issues with which Kelly might be confronted. Kelly told me about an abusive incident which precipitated her seeking my help. Scott Colavito, Thomas Darden's nemesis with Rachel, apparently made some sexually offensive comments to another about Kelly, out of her earshot but within sight. Kelly has the ability to read lips at a distance and she saw what he said. Scott was mimicking what he imagined Kelly, as a deaf woman, would sound like while engaged in sexual intercourse. Kelly angrily confronted Scott immediately and, instead of backing off, Scott pushed further. He later apologized when ordered to by his superior, but Kelly believed his apology was insincere. She hated herself for being reduced to tears later while sitting in the lavatory. Thomas Darden came by after the incident and offered his sympathy, which was appreciated. Tom, indicating Scott, made monkey gestures, so Kelly taught Tom and some of the other programmers the American Sign Language sign for "asshole." Now, when Scott walks by, the group of them all sign "asshole" when he's not looking.

5 pm. Fifty-Sixth Session with Alex Rozzi. I first saw Alex about May of last year. At that time, he had been working as an underage male prostitute and had been involved in a violent confrontation with a trick who hadn't paid. That man later assaulted Alex in Ralph's male strip bar. Alex's friends, Benny and Roly, took off after the man and later boasted to Alex that the man wouldn't be bothering Alex again. Well now, a year later, the police turned up at Alex's door. Apparently, the man had been murdered about a year ago, and his body was only now discovered in an abandoned building around the corner from Ralph's bar. Although Roly is now dead, Alex's first impulse was to protect Benny. Then he thought better of it and told the police the same story that he told me. It seems that the police believe Alex's version of events and are now interviewing Benny. Alex noted how remote the person that he was then is from the person that he is now. I agree. A year ago, Alex was a drug user who had terrible family problems. He was about to be expelled from school. He reacted with violence to any disagreement. And he was an underage prostitute who was dancing in strip clubs and was being regularly abused by a pedophile. His thinking was disorganized and erratic. Alex has indeed come a long way, and even though his life is still chaotic and filled with unsettling events and unstable relationships, Alex himself is more stable and better able to recognize and react appropriately to the problems that he faces. However, that stability is still fairly fragile and I'm constantly worried that Alex, if if sufficiently pushed, could revert to his prior emotional state. And there are events which could act to push Alex beyond his current emotional endurance. Ralph is dying; his presence has been a major stabilizing influence on Alex's life. In this session, Alex talked about the possibility of breaking-up with his boyfriend Luke. It struck me that Alex is trying to distance himself emotionally from Luke in preparation for that event, but I hope I'm wrong. It was a positive relationship for Alex. There is Cami who has declared her feelings for Alex but apparently successfully sublimated them so that they can have a friendship. But that form of sublimation is not likely to last. And Alex told me that Regina is now out of jail and is looking for him. She came by Ralph's house when Alex wasn't there and pounded at the door demanding to see him. This is a woman who was recently arrested for brandishing a loaded gun at a museum where Cami worked. If this happens again, I'll suggest that Alex seek a restraining order which at least will allow the police to treat a trespassing charge with a greater degree of seriousness. Alex accidentally caught Sharon and Tony on their way to a party where they were both cross-dressed. Alex first didn't recognize Tony, whom he said looked like a tall, beautiful, blonde whore. Alex has a very strong negative reaction to cross-dressing which he described as akin to the horror some people feel towards clowns. I suggested that we change the subject. Alex believes that Tony has a malleable personality and is letting Sharon manipulate and change him. Alex compares Tony's relationship with Sharon to the soul destroying relationship that Tony had as Tim's drugged sex slave.

Thursday, July 30, 1998

10 am. Third Session with Nina Alvidrez. Nina ran out on our session prior to the end because she's concerned that her boss, Mr. Utterman, will discover that she's sneaking away to therapy sessions. She was adamant that she didn't want the fact that she's seeing a psychiatrist to become known to her employer. We spoke a bit about the issues surrounding work that most distress her. Nina would like to have fewer contacts with people in her work environment. She's quite knowledgeable about the services which deliver to the home and allow her to stay inside and never go out for anything. She mentioned a few that I had never heard of, but she didn't mention "Waiters on Wheels" whose service I've used a few times. I didn't think it was a good idea to mention it to her--she doesn't seem to require much encouragement to become a shut-in. Nina told me that she liked to read books more when she was a child than participate with others in activities. But she feels removed from what she reads and doesn't feel that she can become a part of that fantasy world which seems to exist for her only in books. When I suggested that we could work on making Nina a more active participant in her own life rather than merely a passive observer, Nina took the opportunity to decide that she'd spent too much time with me this session and she bolted for the door.

Friday, July 31, 1998

10 am. Twenty-Seventh Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon spent the session describing, in graphic detail, her return to the S&M community. Both cross-dressed, Tony and she went to a dungeon party where Sharon sexually humiliated Tony in a scene. Tony was extremely grateful and Sharon says that, since then, he has been especially affectionate. I'm not certain why, but Sharon feels the need to tell me the graphic details of her sexual reawakening through S&M--I can feel that she really wants me to sit and listen. So, while I'm not certain of the therapeutic value, I'm an audience to her sexual rebirth as a dominatrix. Perhaps there's an exhibitionist streak in Sharon which public floggings and genital manipulation hasn't quite satisfied. We sparred about safe sex precautions, and Sharon seems to be taking it a bit more seriously, although not as much as I would like. She hasn't yet received the results of her recent HIV test, although she plans to get them this upcoming week. Sharon told me that the "Sick Fuck"--Alex Rozzi--came in and saw Tony and Sharon preparing for the party. Party preparations for Tony included removing all his body hair, applying lipstick, dressing in clothes normally reserved for street-walking prostitutes, and wearing a blonde wig. Sharon said that Alex was livid--he looked like he was going to physically assault them both. Tony told Sharon that Alex already has a boyfriend and possibly a girlfriend. Sharon sees his jealousy as a sign of greed--that Alex wants Tony as well.

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