Transcript of 19th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Anna Green, Thursday, November 7th, 1996 at 4 pm.

Ms. Green: Hello Doctor. How was your week? How are you feeling?
Dr. Balis: Hello Anna. Those are my lines. How was your week? How are you feeling?
Ms. Green: My week was pretty lousy.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Ms. Green: Bill got himself a new girl.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Does that bother you?
Ms. Green: I've always fantasized about how it would feel. I tried to prepare myself emotionally for that--sort of pretending like it had already happened so I could feel just how much it would hurt. This way when it happened for real I would be all ready for it. But I didn't think that it would be so bad.
Dr. Balis: So you would imagine Bill with some other woman and...
Ms. Green: I just wanted to try it out, so to speak. See how it would feel. I imagined him making love to a very beautiful woman and doing all the things that we did together--like the way he would hold me or the position we liked the most. I know it sounds sick.
Dr. Balis: No...
Ms. Green: I do this a lot.
Dr. Balis: Do what?
Ms. Green: Imagine the future so I can get used to it before it happens. This way it's as if I've lived through a particular unpleasant moment already and it's easier for me to live through it when it really happens. Do you understand?
Dr. Balis: Yes I think I do. A lot of people try to visualize particular events in the future. Do you only visualize bad things?
Ms. Green: Mostly. If it's a good thing, I don't mind being surprised. It's only the bad and unpleasant events for which I like to prepare.
Dr. Balis: What are some of those bad events?
Ms. Green: When I was still in school, I used to imagine how it would feel to fail a test, you know? How devastated I would be. How dumb I would feel. How much my parents would be disappointed in me. Stuff like that.
Dr. Balis: Can you give me more examples?
Ms. Green: I used to imagine how it would feel to swallow a pill, for example. I'm not good at taking pills--they always get stuck in my throat. So before taking one I would remember all my experiences of taking pills previously. Sometimes these memories are so clear and complete that I even throw up before taking the pill.
Dr. Balis: Than why do you do it?
Ms. Green: An imaginary pill is still better than a real one.
Dr. Balis: Do you take the pill after having such an unpleasant visualization?
Ms. Green: Of course. I hate being sick. I just remember how bad it was the last time I was sick and there is no hesitation.
Dr. Balis: So do you visualize the sickness as well?
Ms. Green: Yes. But it's not like I relive it or anything. It's more like having lots of images of particular instances and for the most part it's remembering the feeling of being sick. I'm not sure I can really explain it well. The images and feelings come in a flood all at once--there is no time element to them.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Green: Would you like to hear more examples?
Dr. Balis: Yes I would.
Ms. Green: I imagined how it would be taking a driving test for months before it actually happened. Actually I guess this is similar to imagining school tests with just a touch more activity. Let me see. Before my interview at SII, I've spent two solid weeks dreaming about nothing else.
Dr. Balis: So some of these visualizations happen in your dreams?
Ms. Green: They are on-going--they happen during the day and the night. And they almost completely go away after the event has happened.
Dr. Balis: Sometimes they persist even afterwards?
Ms. Green: Sort of like a flashback twitch or something--really quick and with a shudder. This mostly happens for really unpleasant things. Never with stuff like taking pills.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Green: But what I started to tell you about today was Bill and his new love Ethel. Can I go on?
Dr. Balis: Of course.
Ms. Green: Well she works for SII too. I remember how Suzie's husband used to go all white when he saw her in the hallways flirting with other men after their divorce. I always tried to put myself in his place. When I did, I could almost feel my body's posture change and I would get this panicky feeling in my gut. Then I would snap out of it and feel really sorry for him.
Dr. Balis: Did you ever imagine yourself in Suzie's place?
Ms. Green: No never.
Dr. Balis: Why not?
Ms. Green: I don't know. It's just not me.
Dr. Balis: Remember when you had a date with David, the handsome programmer?
Ms. Green: Yeah, our local Don Juan. What about him?
Dr. Balis: You talked about how you wanted Bill to see the two of you together.
Ms. Green: That was a very positive fantasy. I liked it a lot.
Dr. Balis: Was this positive fantasy similar in quality to the negative visualizations of the future that you do?
Ms. Green: No. It's really different.
Dr. Balis: In what way?
Ms. Green: It didn't have the persistence of the negative ones, for one thing. And's just different.
Dr. Balis: It wasn't as intense? Not as full of images and feelings?
Ms. Green: Maybe. The negative events I can almost play out as a story in my head. Almost like a film.
Dr. Balis: Like your dreams?
Ms. Green: Yes. Some of my dreams are like that. I told you about them.
Dr. Balis: The Paris catacombs and the alien patrol ships.
Ms. Green: That's right. But what I was trying to say about Bill is that it is very hard for me to see him with Ethel. Last week I caught them making out in the programmers' lounge, just like we used to do. They walk around holding hands and kissing around corners. She goes over to his cubicle and sits on his lap. They talk to each other on the phone all day. Bill and I did all that. And now he is doing it with someone else. It's like all the pain that I felt right after our break up is coming back in this giant wave. I almost feel like I can drown in it.
Dr. Balis: Is the pain as intense as when you first came to see me?
Ms. Green: It's duller. More like an echo of the real pain. But I've been feeling really emotionally fragile lately so it's still difficult to deal with it. And none of my negative imagery seemed to help.
Dr. Balis: Does it ever help?
Ms. Green: I think so. It helps for some things.
Dr. Balis: I see. Do you think that Bill is trying to flaunt his new relationship in front of you?
Ms. Green: I don't know. I think he probably just doesn't give a shit. He never really seemed to care how I felt anyway. At least he stopped caring after I agreed to be his girlfriend.
Dr. Balis: Is Ethel Bill's girlfriend now?
Ms. Green: I hear that he is working on it. But she is playing hard to get. John told me that he saw the two of them in this bar and while Bill was going to the bathroom, Ethel picked up another guy and was hanging all over him when Bill came back. John told me that he thought that Bill was really crushed when he saw it and just left right after that without saying a word to Ethel.
Dr. Balis: Ethel doesn't sound very nice.
Ms. Green: No, she's a bitch. Everyone knows that.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think Bill is going out with her?
Ms. Green: He is a glutton for punishment? No I just think he likes the chase. He gets them and then quickly abandons them. That's his pattern. I sometimes think that if I just never really said yes to him, he would still be hanging around me like a sick puppy.
Dr. Balis: Is that what you would like?
Ms. Green: No. That's why I said yes. I was interested in a real relationship. Not some kind of perverted love games. In any case, it looks like he is in for it now. I even heard that she has herpes.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: She gets around. Who knows? Bill might end up with more than he bargained for.
Dr. Balis: How did you hear that Ethel has herpes?
Ms. Green: SII might be a big company, but when everyone dates everyone else...well you know, there are no secrets.
Dr. Balis: Are you hoping for Bill to get herpes?
Ms. Green: Maybe a little.
Dr. Balis: Would you date him if you knew he had...
Ms. Green: No way! I would have been completely disinterested in him if I knew he had VD.
Dr. Balis: So if he catches it now, you would forever lose all interest in him?
Ms. Green: Yes, I suppose so. I never thought of it that way. Now that's some really powerful positive imagery. Thank you Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Well yes...shall we make the appointment for next week?
Ms. Green: Sure. Next Thursday at 4 pm?
Dr. Balis: Yes. November 14th at 4 pm. See you then, Anna.
Ms. Green: Goodbye Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye. Have a good week.
Ms. Green: You too.
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