Transcript of 4th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, December 5, 1997 at 10:00 am.

Ms. Lough: Hello, Doctor Balis. Sorry I'm late again.
Dr. Balis: That's all right. How are you?
Ms. Lough: I guess I didn't really want to come here. It feels like a chore.
Dr. Balis: You're beginning to dread your therapy sessions?
Ms. Lough: I just can't stand the thought of facing anyone. I want to hide in my room and sleep all day. I called in sick again today. Hope you don't tell on me.
Dr. Balis: Are you feeling depressed?
Ms. Lough: Yeah. Depressed. Defeated. Drained. And really fat. I ate an entire apple pie yesterday. At first, when I got thrown out of my apartment, I couldn't eat. Now, I can't stop eating.
Dr. Balis: How is your living situation? You said you found some people you can stay with?
Ms. Lough: They've been great. Charlotte and Robin--her husband--they really went out of their way to be nice to me. They made dinner on Thanksgiving and took me to the movies. We saw "L.A. Confidential." I slept through the whole thing. I've been feeling really tired lately. It's like sleeping is the only escape I have.
Dr. Balis: Were you able to talk to an attorney about the charges your landlord made?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I did that on Tuesday. I almost didn't keep the appointment. I didn't want to do anything that would remind me of what happened. I thought maybe if I just side-stepped it all, it would go away. You know, it makes me think of those girls that were in the news--those young girls who denied that they were pregnant and then concealed their pregnancies and killed their babies. I remember the article I read about them, and I identified with them. I understood completely how they could disassociate themselves from reality because they couldn't stand the thought of facing the truth. You can get so caught up in your own denial and pretend it all happened to someone else. Does that make sense?
Dr. Balis: Yes it does.
Ms. Lough: The lawyer I spoke to said that I should go file a Notice of Wrongful Eviction. He said the child abuse allegations sounded like manipulation. A police report wasn't filed, and they didn't press any charges. I was so afraid I'd be locked up for something I didn't do. But he said that it sounded as if they didn't have enough evidence to press charges and that children that young make unreliable witnesses. This all sounds so terrible. It sounds like I'm guilty.
Dr. Balis: It's quite an upsetting experience.
Ms. Lough: I was afraid that there might be a trial, and my sexual history would come up. I heard that the courts can subpoena your gynecological records, not to mention my recent incarceration in the nut house.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: It's funny that my sexual history would come up again. I thought it was all part of my past. After I got out of the loony bin last year, I had no sex drive at all. At first, I thought it was the medication I was on--for a while I was prescribed lithium. But when I stopped taking it, I still had no libido, which was strange because it had been a major part of my life before that. I used to be almost obsessed with it. Now, I don't even care. I wonder if this is what a neutered cat feels like.
Dr. Balis: This situation with your landlord--has it brought up memories of your past sexual experiences?
Ms. Lough: Well, mostly regrets. I don't have a lot of pleasant memories. I went through this period a few years ago--kind of an experimental phase--when I took a lot of drugs and was...ah, promiscuous, you could say. I got involved with some of the alternative lifestyles San Francisco is known for. That's how I met Charlotte.
Dr. Balis: Were you involved with Charlotte?
Ms. Lough: Oh, no. Nothing like that. This is kind of awkward. I mean, I'm not gay. I'm not a lesbian. I used to think maybe I was. When I went through this experimental phase, I was...uh, exploring that part of myself. But I didn't sleep with Charlotte. I met her through a mutual friend, which is kind of a long story.
Dr. Balis: Does living with Charlotte again bring back memories of this "experimental phase" as you call it?
Ms. Lough: Well, yes, but I don't exactly live with her. Charlotte and her husband have been separated for about a year. She said she wanted her freedom--she was exploring her sexuality. Charlotte is also going through menopause. They weren't getting along that well, so Charlotte moved into an apartment. She and Robin still see each other on weekends, and they take vacations together and stuff.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: I can empathize with what Charlotte's going through. It makes me uncomfortable, though. I'm kind of worried for her, though I know she can take care of herself.
Dr. Balis: Are you concerned for her safety?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, that too. Mostly, I'm worried she'll feel the way I felt when I went through all that. I remember being really depressed and constantly doing meth, or coke, or smoking weed to numb my feelings. I was raw. It was the time in my life when I felt the most vulnerable. And it was my own fault, you know. I didn't know what I was getting into. Charlotte is much more people-savvy; she knows how to protect herself.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: It seems like sex is some horrible evil thing--a deep dark secret, you know? In those bad horror movies, like "The Fly," the moral is that there are some things man wasn't meant to know. Maybe that's what sex is to me. I think about that a lot. But I'm not horny anymore, and I have no interest, and no one would want to fuck me anyway. It's like the last five years of my life have been some kind of...I don't know, a morality tale or something. Girl does drugs, has sex, goes crazy, ends up in mental hospital. Am I making any sense? I feel like I'm babbling on and on like an idiot.
Dr. Balis: You're very lucid, Sharon. Your ambivalence about your sexual needs is something many women feel.
Ms. Lough: Kind of puritanical, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: Well, yes, in some ways it is.
Ms. Lough: Are we done yet?
Dr. Balis: We still have some time left.
Ms. Lough: Because I'm really tired. I need a nap, maybe a snack, too.
Dr. Balis: Well, you can go if you like. But this is an important issue, and I'd like to discuss it again.
Ms. Lough: Now, I wish I hadn't brought it up.
Dr. Balis: I'd like you to feel open about discussing uncomfortable subjects here.
Ms. Lough: Oh, yeah. I have something for you. It', it's a poem. It's really bad.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, Sharon. I look forward to reading it.
Ms. Lough: You're not going to make nasty little marks with a red pen and then hand it back to me, are you?
Dr. Balis: No, I try not to grade my patient's work.
Ms. Lough: Okay. I'll see you next week.
Dr. Balis: All right, Sharon. Goodbye.

Dorothy Parker Said It Best

If only I had
the strength to suck off a gun barrel
or the wisdom
to take comfort in syringes
rather than packets of powder.

In my quest for serenity I opened
my veins in a warm bath,
(A return to the womb, I rhapsodized,
would be so romantic)
to prove I wasn't merely being coy.
But unprepared for the pain,
my efforts were clumsy
and my arms are covered
with angry recriminations.

Failure begets acceptance
for the complacent,
so I, like too many before me,
chose the coward's way
(which is just as effective
in the long run).

By the flickering glow of
the cathode ray I sit
and wait.

Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sharon Lough's Transcripts Transcripts of Sharon Lough's Communications
Button to Sharon Lough's Patient File Sharon Lough's Patient File

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