Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 9/06/96

Saturday, August 31, 1996

Sunday, September 1, 1996

Monday, September 2, 1996

Labor Day Holiday

Tuesday, September 3, 1996
10 am. Seventh Session with Joseph Mazurka. Joseph Mazurka is becoming increasingly agitated, out of control, and difficult to deal with. He is very angry with Carol for throwing him out of the house, and he is having elaborate revenge fantasies about her. He in no way accepts any responsibility for the circumstances which have led him to be sleeping in the fleabag hotel, as he puts it. He is mentioning suicide, but only in passing, threatening to take some of his co-workers and/or his wife with him when he decides to commit suicide. Then he backs off entirely and says that he is just blowing off steam. Later on, though, Joseph says that he is worried about what might happen if he is pressed too far--implying a violent outburst. Joseph's aggressive tendencies are further aggravated by the fact that he likes to shoot guns as a hobby and has a number in his possession. He counts reloading bullets (making new shells out of old ones) among his paltry list of hobbies. Joseph revealed that he doesn't have any real friends . Also disturbing, although he has stopped taking the steroids, he has also discontinued taking the Prozac. At my urging, he is considering restarting his medication.

11:30 am. Introductory Session with Phylis Birch. Phylis Birch is a 31 year old computer graphic artist from SII. Stunning in appearance, she was somewhat reticent to describe what had brought her to my office. After describing a perfect work and home life, I finally called her on it, somewhat abruptly perhaps. She is concerned that her husband Jack believes that she is having an affair. She isn't. Instead, she is spinning a web of lies to create time for herself to pursue her hobby--hanging out in dive bars, and occasionally strip clubs. She isn't sure what draws her to these establishments, but I sense that the danger inherent in dressing down to hide her obvious physical attributes and lurking through the seamier side of human nature as an impostor appeals to her. She has been married to Jack (she called him Frank once at the end of the session) for about 4 years now. They've discussed having children--he seems ready but she prefers to wait. My impression is that it is beginning to be a point of conflict between them, but hasn't developed overtly yet. Phylis (she spells it with one "l") admits to carrying out an elaborate series of lies to her husband. She put it in a funny way. She said that her story wasn't always "supported by fact." She seemed a little taken aback that I would call her "stories" lies. I got the impression she was proud of her abilities to cover up her activities, although she now complains that her life has been unduly complex as a result of trying to keep her lies straight. She can't admit to her husband that she is seeing a psychiatrist, for example, unless she could make up a plausible complaint for which she would need to seek help. She also doesn't seem particularly interested in giving up her unusual hobby. Instead, she wants help in keeping her life straight while continuing her seedy adventures.

1 pm. Sixth Session with Cassandra Evans. Cassie was sick again during the session, and very sad and depressed. Physically, she is having joint, muscle, and skin pain in addition to exhaustion, sleeping problems, chills and hot flashes. Emotionally, she reports crying hysterically. She is panicked about possible reprisals at work because of her illness and absences, together with the fact that she is seeing a psychiatrist. When I questioned her about it, she said that she could deal with the fact that she has a chronic ailment if only it was properly diagnosed. A school friend once told her that maybe she was suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome and, after looking it up, Cassie was outraged. I told her about factitious disorder and how I was convinced she was not looking for attention in this manner. Dr. Halsey hasn't given her a report yet, but she has an appointment tomorrow. With regard to Brian, she had a fight with him which he cured by bringing over roses, pizza, and a video. Cassie thinks she may be in love with Brian, and yet she is considering ending the relationship because it might not be worth the trouble. Cassie described a romance dream with a stranger with smoldering blue-gray eyes, and she is wondering if Brian is the right man for her. I believe that Cassie is suffering from serious depression brought on by general medical conditions. From my experience with pain management centers, I believe that Cassie should be taking anti-depressants. She may find a substantial improvement both in depression and outlook but also a reduction in the severity of her pain. Discuss with Dr. Halsey about appropriate anti-depressant therapy and suggest it to Cassie at our next session.

4 pm. Ninth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia started with the now unremarkable news that she had another affair--this time with a guy named Victor. They spent the weekend together at some getaway. She's planning on speaking with Richard tomorrow about her non-exclusivity. Then Sylvia let loose her bomb shell. She's pregnant. Of course! Suddenly it all made sense--the revenge against the husband who would leave her barren, the desire to become promiscuous (and only with intelligent men), the wish for a little more time when I would have pulled her off the Zoloft, her evasiveness about reconciling with her husband. Sylvia's sure handed deliberation left me stunned! This was a calculated and methodical revenge. Sylvia told me that she had consulted a lawyer who informed her that a child conceived during a marriage is conclusively presumed to be that of the husband, regardless of the genetics of the matter. So Tom will have child support to pay in addition to the property settlement and alimony. Sylvia said that she is planning on bleeding him dry in the divorce. When Sylvia told me that she was pregnant, I realized that I hadn't told her about the possible effects of Zoloft on pregnancy. What a terrible mistake! I looked back in my notes and I mentioned it there, but not to Sylvia. It just never occurred to me! We talked about it and Sylvia, who is irregular in her menstrual cycle and has no idea how long it has been since ovulation, is going to check with her obstetrician to determine how long she has been pregnant. If Zoloft did cause a birth defect, my guess is that the zygote would be non-viable and she would suffer a miscarriage. I don't believe that Zoloft could have a substantial effect in the first few weeks (especially prior to differentiation) on a baby delivered to term. But I plan to talk to her obstetrician. Sylvia deliberately wants to keep the actual paternity ambiguous, but since she has been averaging three affairs a week, I don't think this is a problem! Sylvia still needs an antidepressant since I discontinued Zoloft so I will work with the obstetrician to determine a new alternative.

Wednesday, September 4, 1996
I received another anonymous fax this morning, right on schedule. The one depicts three naked mannequin angels (with wings from an assortment of butterflies) flying around a seated naked male mannequin figure, his head held in one hand, his other hand down with fingers outstretched. One of the male figure's legs looks like it sports a fingernail where the knee should be. All three of the angel figures have a hand or finger pointing at the male figure. Again, the graphic quality is extremely high. There can be no doubt that the mannequin figures were created in the computer. They have that high gloss look of 3D computer graphics. While it is easy to read personal symbolism into the piece, I still believe that I am one of many recipients of the Faxer's missives.

Thursday, September 5, 1996
2 pm. Sixth Session with Helen Gregory. Helen was very concerned about the possibility of surveillance of my office. I was able to ameliorate her concerns on that score and she relaxed, but just a bit. Although my agenda was to try to get her to accept the fact that she needed medication, she was having none of it. That's not quite right, actually. She just brushed my comments aside. Her concerns now are more pressing, and involve a giant paranoid delusion about a conspiracy. She tried to start her story at the beginning, but it was far too complex. However, Helen remembers an incident when she was about two and at her grandmother's farm. (When speaking of old memories, Helen reverts to the third person). Sometime during the afternoon, Helen saw little men with owl heads and gray faces, presumably the Visitors. Suddenly it was nighttime. The time had disappeared and Helen was alone and afraid. She screamed and her mother came and got her. Later on, her mother confirmed that there had been a missing piece of her time sense that day as well. On the 4th of July (1995?), at least in the year prior to beginning employment at SII (Need to order her personnel records from SII--an oversight on my part), she overheard something from the Visitors that she believes she was not meant to hear. It was only two words, "Silicon Impressions." So, she sought work with the company to discover the secret of the conspiracy. Now, she feels that she has cracked a code that SII uses to encrypt conspiratorial documents into Ancient Gaelic. The documents reveal that the conspiracy is bigger than she thought and threatens the entire US Government. Specifically, the conspiracy involves survivalists, militias, domestic terrorists, perhaps the CIA and, most significantly for Helen, perhaps Calvin himself. She found a mention of Calvin's name in the files. Although she wouldn't finish her thought, she is concerned Calvin is trying to alter her son somehow, for conspiratorial advantage. Helen was quite agitated and left abruptly from the session.

4 pm. Tenth Session with Anna Green. Anna began by insisting that I address her as Anna. She professed that she was completely over Tony and then proceeded to tell me about her elaborate fantasies of ruined romance and a marriage gone bad through the birth of twins. She later admitted that maybe she was just a little bitter. Anna feels powerful now that she had sex with David. She believes that he looks at her and remembers her sexual prowess each time they meet in the company. She also discussed how she justified certain items in Bill's personality when she was in the relationship and how she now looks upon them. Apparently, Bill was proud of having taken the virginities of six women. I discovered that, although not official, Anna and Bill lived together for a time. Bill's girlfriends were used to taking care of Bill by doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Anna now believes that she was in love with a person who really didn't exist--an imaginary person that she created by attributing characteristics to Bill that he didn't actually possess. I suggested a new article to the Anna Green Bill of Rights--"People can like and respect Anna Green even if she doesn't have sex with them." Anna said that she didn't want to use sex like that and she would consider the amendment.

5:30 pm. Got a look at Helen's Doodle. Helen left me a drawing this session. It's hard to call it a doodle, because it is so exact. But it shows a mean little man with an enormous nose riding on the back of what looks like a beetle. The man gives the impression of a figure from some perverse children's book, with long pointed shoes, spectacles, a tail coat splayed out along the back of the beetle, a hat, and a nose so long that it must be propped up at the midway point with a forked stick. He might be some kind of aging Pinocchio, turned human but suffering the consequences of a lifetime of deceit. While it is possible that the beetle is enormous, I get the impression, rather, that the man is beetle sized. The man has a mean and determined expression. He is definitely on a mission of some sort. Without the fanciful costume and extremities, the man might be a CIA agent. Could this be her view of her former "colleagues?" Little men scurrying about who are small and mean and cut an image worthy of ridicule or contempt.

Friday, September 6, 1996
10 am. Telephone Conversation with Hal Mainor. Hal is frantic that his wife has figured out that he had an affair. He has no evidence that she has actually discovered anything, but he is working himself up to an substantial level of anxiety and paranoia. Hal has not told his wife that he is coming into therapy and he is terrified that she might discover this secret. He has requested that I never call or otherwise communicate with him at home and that I be circumspect in dealing with his office. He won't come in to our Monday session, and will let me know when he is ready to return. I am concerned about Hal. His level of anxiety seems disproportionate to any reasonable external stimulus.

1 pm. Telephone Conversation with Rene Wolff-Bernstein. Rene told me that Sylvia is in the hospital. Apparently, she went to Dr. Malleson, her obstetrician, who confirmed that Zoloft was not likely to be responsible for birth defects. He performed a routine in-office, ultrasound examination and got an abnormal result. Sylvia might be having twins, but the zygotes are different sizes. Sylvia has been off any anti-depressants since Tuesday, and she reacted poorly to the news that there might be difficulties in her pregnancy. Apparently her pulse rate elevated abnormally and she fainted. She was admitted to the high risk pregnancy ward at UCSF Medical Center under the psychiatric care of the resident, a Dr. Rutenberg perhaps, who has administered some form of tranquilizer. Rene is with her. I told Rene that I would be right over.

I went up to the hospital and saw Sylvia. She is resting comfortably after an injection of Valium administered by Dr. Wutenberg, the psychiatric resident. I found her tired and relatively unresponsive. She doesn't understand how she ended up in the hospital and she is angry that she can't find out more about her condition. Rene is with her and has taken charge, acting as Sylvia's defacto healthcare gatekeeper. I think it is essential that Sylvia gets back on an antidepressant. I'm pretty sure that the serotonin reuptake inhibitors are too new to have gone through pregnancy testing, so I need to do some research to find a tricyclic appropriate for pregnancy. Unfortunately, the tricyclics tend to be slow in onset.

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