Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 11/08/96

Saturday, November 2, 1996

Sunday, November 3, 1996

Monday, November 4, 1996

Today was ridiculous. I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs while my three patients don't show up, one after another. Mazurka I always expect to flake and, to be honest, usually I'm relieved I don't have to deal with him. But Phylis and Sarah were both a surprise, especially Phylis. And I haven't had any new patients in a long time. I wonder if the HMO is redirecting patients to another practitioner as punishment for my position on their examination of my patients' records. Hmm. I have to think about that.

Tuesday, November 5, 1996

I received another letter from Sarah Wright. This one was slipped under the door. She apologizes for missing the session yesterday and says that she is not ready to mentally confront the issues with Jeff and Robby, although paradoxically she says that she needs the time to sort things out. I don't think that Sarah quite understands the value that a therapist can have in dealing with emotional crisis--she is avoiding talking with me as a way of avoiding having to come to terms with her husband's homosexuality. She is talking about divorce and trying to figure out how to explain the situation to her kids. She promises to call in the next few days and set up an appointment.

4 pm. Seventeenth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia came in very angry at Tom over the latest twist in their legal battle. Apparently Tom has hired his own consulting obstetrician to advise on Sylvia's pregnancy and the health of the twins. Tom has served Sylvia with a legal document restricting her freedom quite significantly, even including a prohibition against orgasm during the remainder of her pregnancy. She is restricted to bed rest, forbidden to indulge in sexual relations, not allowed to drive a car, is supposed to be on a special diet, etc. I explained that these precautions might all have been prescribed by her own obstetrician soon due to her cervical problems, but Sylvia feels that they were created as a legal maneuver without reference to the health of the twins. She feels that Tom is just using this as a pretext to drive her insane or to destroy her will in the divorce action. She certainly is quite angry, although I sense that she feels, when able to look at her situation from an outside perspective, that there is a comical element. She apparently intends to immediately defy the order by going and staying at Richard's house and presumably engaging in sexual activity--a surprise given how she talked about him during her last session. I don't have any idea how Tom's lawyer believes he can enforce this decree against Sylvia, although perhaps they could utilize her disobedience in the custody fight as evidence against her ability to care for her twins after their birth.

Wednesday, November 6, 1996

I got another fax this morning, so it was just last Wednesday's that was missed. As if to make up for the interruption, this fax seems more revealing than the rest. The Anonymous Faxer is using this graphical form to reach out. But this image clearly shows a male figure mutating into a female one, echoing the themes of gender division that can be found through all the faxes. This process does not look easy or pleasant for the participant, but there is almost a sense of freedom that is conveyed by the female figure--breaking free of the restraints of the male one. My current hypothesis, in reexamining this fax and the others in the series, is that the Anonymous Faxer is or has been unhappy with their gender. I would guess that they are somewhere in the transgender spectrum--either considering a sex change, actively pursuing it, or reflecting on the result. Furthermore, I would guess that the Anonymous Faxer is male rather than female. The male is the tortured actor, the female is the radiant result. I get the feeling that the male is a caterpillar and the female is the butterfly. This patient, and I can't help but think of him as a patient, clearly needs therapeutic help to explore the serious gender issues that torment him. But the fax has no identifying marks at all. I can think of no way to reach out to this person. All I can do is mutely receive the faxes and try to understand his torment.

Thursday, November 7, 1996

4 pm. Nineteenth Session with Anna Green. Anna came in distressed that Bill has found a new love interest at SII. Before allowing Anna to talk about Bill again, however, I steered her to talk about how she copes with bad news. I just thought that it would be better for Anna to intellectualize a bit before wallowing in the emotions of loss that she felt prior to starting these sessions. So we talked about Anna's propensity to visualize difficult upcoming events in detail prior to experiencing them. She uses this as a method of familiarization, so when the dreaded event actually occurs, she feels as if she has already lived through it. But Bill and his new girlfriend finally came up again. Anna describes herself as emotionally fragile, although her upset over Bill carrying on with a new love interest seems more bruised pride than longing for a continuation of her relationship with Bill. He has become a symbol for her rather than a real person--a symbol of rejection. Anna has a distaste for Bill's new object of affection, Ethel, whom she describes as a bitch with herpes. Ethel is also a SII employee and Anna finds herself confronted periodically with glimpses of the budding romance between Ethel and Bill. Anna empathized with Suzie's ex-husband who worked at SII with his ex-wife and was visibly shaken when he saw his former wife flirting with other men at the company. Now Anna finds herself in a similar position. I pointed out that Anna had hoped that Bill would be likewise disturbed when she went out with David, but Anna refused to see the similarity.

Friday, November 8, 1996

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