Transcript of 25th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, December 4, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Chris!
Ms. Herald: Yeah, last time I checked, anyway. What's up, Doc?
Dr. Balis: Without big feet and rabbit ears, that voice just doesn't come across as it should.
Ms. Herald: Everyone's a critic. Miss me?
Dr. Balis: Always. Is everything going well? You looked awfully tired the last time you were in here.
Ms. Herald: I was. Between helping plan Dad's retirement party--which got postponed--and preparing finals for my students, and the fact that I managed to get hooked into this volunteer program--we help people get their equivalency diplomas--my life is getting active again. It's nice, but I had gotten used to a more low-keyed pace. It's taking awhile to get back into the swing of things again.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you're enjoying it, but just remember not to take on too much. You've managed to control your panic disorder admirably in the time you've been coming here, and I would hate to see you start slipping back into that again because your life got to be too hectic.
Ms. Herald: "Slipping back into?" You make it sound as though I'm on drugs or something.
Dr. Balis: Don't laugh, I'm serious.
Ms. Herald: Don't worry, I'm not going to start drowning my sorrows in the coffee house again. I'm a nice, sedate, little tea-drinking old maid schoolteacher now.
Dr. Balis: I hardly think you're an old maid...
Ms. Herald: Yeah, a hundred years ago, I would have been up in some attic writing poetry that didn't rhyme and having a deeply emotional relationship with my cat. The only thing separating me from that right now is that I don't live in an attic.
Dr. Balis: I thought you were dating a promising man.
Ms. Herald: Oh, yeah. Well, I haven't heard from him in a few days. He called at the beginning of the week, and I was kind of frazzled. I had Sarah screaming in my ear that the party store was out of silver streamers and what in God's name were we going to do. And Jonny was wailing on my shoulder because he and Greg had their first real fight--happy Thanksgiving to all! About the only one really happy right now is Dad. He doesn't have to go in the office anymore, he thinks his successor at SII is worthy. He can sit and puff on his pipe and plan his wedding. Bear in mind that what Dad considers planning his wedding involves staring reflectively out the window and daydreaming about how wonderful it will be. He's acting like Prince Charming rather than Herald the Horrible. It's like something out of an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Dr. Balis: He's happy.
Ms. Herald: Yeah. And I really wouldn't have it any other way.
Dr. Balis: Somehow, I didn't think so. How's the party shaping up?
Ms. Herald: It's a complete circus, like one might expect.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Herald: Too many guests, too much to do, too much to organize.
Dr. Balis: In other words, you don't want to discuss it.
Ms. Herald: I'm okay right now, and it will put me in a bad mood. How's the cat?
Dr. Balis: Fine, fine. She's decided that she likes to sleep practically on my head, but she's fine. It's working out well. The veterinarian is great, by the way.
Ms. Herald: What did I tell you? He looks like Santa Claus.
Dr. Balis: Yes, you're right.'re getting me off the subject.
Ms. Herald: Sorry--stream of consciousness conversation. There really isn't a lot more to say. I'm up to my old tricks again, so to speak, and I'm getting stressed over stupid shit. I need to calm down and try and relax. I can handle it all.
Dr. Balis: You're not back on caffeine, are you?
Ms. Herald: No, Doc. I told you earlier I'm not. I promise. Thou shall not bullshit thy therapist, remember? It's one of the commandments, I think. I never paid attention in Sunday school. When Joanne went on her religious kick, I was too busy trying to kiss the minister's son. He went to jail when he was nineteen--possession of cocaine or something. Typical preacher's kid--total badass.
Dr. Balis: How long did you date?
Ms. Herald: About six months or so, just after I came back from Washington.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Were you involved with the drugs yourself?
Ms. Herald: No, I wasn't.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Herald: You don't believe me?
Dr. Balis: No, I believe you. You've never lied before.
Ms. Herald: At least not to you. There's no payoff.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Herald: It's one of Gavin's little maxims. Always tell the truth, unless it's going to get you into trouble, then lie.
Dr. Balis: Ah.
Ms. Herald: Speaking of Gavin...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Herald: I'm going to be an aunt.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Herald: Yup. Gavin was an idiot and got his pretty little vegan coed from UCSC pregnant. She wants to name the kid Apricot Nectar or something weird like that. I think she's eaten a bit too much carob. Just being around her makes me want to go pick up a steak and grill it nice and rare before eating it with my bare hands. Rebellion has its advantages.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Herald: Yeah...well, I have to move. I'm picking up artichokes for some weird whore's ovary that Sarah has planned for the party. "Hire a caterer" is what I say. Sheesh.
Dr. Balis: "Whore's ovary?" Oh, you mean...
Ms. Herald: Yup, hors d'oeuvres. Don't pitch a screamer.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Take care of yourself, Chris. Maintain your peace of mind, if you can.
Ms. Herald: Serenity now.
Dr. Balis: Not that way. I saw that episode of Seinfeld, too.
Ms. Herald: Yes, sir. I'll bring you some artichoke next time.
Dr. Balis: You're not going to listen, are you?
Ms. Herald: Huh?
Dr. Balis: You're going to get all wound up over this party and have panic attacks. Then, you'll play it all down when you come in here next week--"It wasn't that bad at all!"
Ms. Herald: Pretty much...yeah.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Herald: Don't you know? No one can do anything as well as I can. I am omnipotent.
Dr. Balis: It isn't funny, Chris.
Ms. Herald: Notice, Doc, that I'm not laughing. I'm sorry, it's not your fault. It's just hard for a girl to change after so long, you know? I would wash my hands of the whole project, but Sarah needs me. I have Christmas break to relax. I'll be fine. Okay?
Dr. Balis: Okay. I just don't want to see all the progress you've made go down the tubes.
Ms. Herald: It won't. Why are you looking at me like that?
Dr. Balis: Oh, it's nothing. Really. Go get your artichokes. I'll see you next week.
Ms. Herald: Goodbye, Doc.
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Button to Christina Herald's Patient File Christina Herald's Patient File

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