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Drawing 11: Detours 7/30/16
Living with dissociation is like all the words in the drawing. Dissociation has interfered with the Patient's ability to navigate from the Start to Finish of any given day. And then the next day. Dissociation has even prevented the Patient from meeting with the Doctor.
The Patient has been well-schooled in Dissociation. She has experienced the required prerequisite of Chronic Abusive Parenting. She has also: zoned out, panicked, lived in fantasy, felt loud, pretended to be sick, gotten numb, tingly, foggy, voicey, creepy, blurry, lost, stuck, gone. Every single day.
The Patient has been Detoured By Dissociation.
Drawing 12: Leading Edge 8/1/16
The Doctor has advanced the Patient's Leading Edge through psychoanalytic persistence.
The Patient has become less fragmented, less dissociated. She is awake. Almost. The Doctor moves with the Patient from the lower left hand corner of the drawing to the top right. They leave behind multiple sleeping and abused figures, over take dissociated figures, and approach more current depictions of the Patient.
Drawing 13: Now What? 8/5/16
The Angry Baby has washed ashore on a moonlit beach. The Angry Baby and The Patient have escaped the Patient's childhood bedroom. The Past.
The Moon and the Ocean contain the Patient's dissociation. The Patient has less symptoms.
Four figures climb up and out of the broken Angry Baby. They are Child Faye, Teenage Faye, Faye Now and Future Faye. As the figures emerge they find themselves in the Present Moment. This is new, surprising. This is good. And not good.
In The Present the Patient must deal with sad feelings due to the recognition of so much time lost to illness.
Drawing 14: No Can Do 8/7/16
The Patient is in the habit of focusing on her inabilities rather than her abilities. While she has deliberately persisted in living an accumulation of days totaling 64 years, the Patient has always been more aware of what she has not accomplished in comparison with "normal" people.
The drawing begins in the lower left corner with possibilities prevented by dissociation and agoraphobia: owning a home, visiting The City, enjoying entertainment, traveling, knowing her extended family, retiring near nature.
Also depicted are the Patient's inherited predisposition toward illness when sperm met egg, through the formation of neurons, and the expression of that illness as she developed. Illness goes on to prevent loving relationships and results in the Patient's decision to not have children.
Finally, the Patient begins to "maybe" live. She attends college, works and eventually meets the Doctor. The Patient and the Doctor discuss the various schools of psychoanalysis, science, computers, music and art within sessions, resulting in a therapeutic alliance within which her symptoms recede and mourning begins.
Drawing 15: TV Room 8/9/16
The Parents are depicted as snails traveling downward, leaving a trail of slime on every aspect of the Patient's life. The Patient is embedded within her family's descent. She must leave her Grandparents and their home, her childhood home, her school.
Equally impactful and dirty are the Patient's experiences in hospital and her obsessive sexual reenactments that take place near roaches and slugs in The TV Room.
The Patient reads The Dissociative Mind In Psychoanalysis by Elizabeth F. Howell and Sheldon Itzkowitz, Ed. (2016) Routledge. Clem Loew is quoted from Last Witnesses by Brown et. al. (2007) p. 33, "...the analyst that had the most profound effect on me asked me things like, Clem, what did you do all day...? ...it's the question that really attaches me to myself..."
The Patient was never asked what she did all day in The TV Room. And she never told, until she told the Doctor.
Drawing 16: Circa 2016 8/13/16
The Patient's face has ordinary features now. They are within normal parameters for a woman of the Patient's age and ethnicity. The Face is functional, not unpleasant. But the Face is not always real. Often the Face is numb, stiff, gone. The Face has become a Mask covering a dissociated version of the Patient and another who is even more remote. It is only lately that the Mask has opened so that the Patient can show the Doctor what is underneath. The mechanism that works the Mask is old and has been rarely used.
Drawing 17: Unnerved 8/19/16
Nerves. Nervous. Nervous System. Central Nervous System. Neurons. Neural network. The Patient is always self-checking the state of her mind, her brain, her awareness, her "condition", her nerves. The Patient was a "nervous child". The Father thought she had "some nerve". He would ask sarcastically, "Who are you to be nervous?" or "What do you have to be nervous about?" The Patient and The Mother were not allowed to be nervous. Nervous was weakness. Nervous was inconvenient.
The Patient longed to leave her bedroom, to walk out of her house into the dark blue night to stand beside the trees, outside, far away from the Father. Away from dreams of the Hospital that came every single night. But nerves prevented her from leaving. To this day the Patient is still nervous.
Drawing 18: Wrapped Attention 8/20/16
The Patient arrived at the Doctor's Office fully dissociated. She could not feel the right side of her face. The Patient felt distant from the world around her, her head "felt funny". Her surroundings looked greyed out. Something had frightened The Patient. The Patient had noticed the curve of a woman's legs. "Can't do that", Dissociation said. Full dissociation still happens. Not a pretty picture.
Drawing 19: Knowing (Two Simultaneous Depictions Of Knowing And Not Knowing) 8/25/16
What I did not know that my Mother knew. I finally know that my Mother, who witnessed my Father's verbal abuse of me, chose to make excuses for my Father rather than rescue me. I knew but I did not know. I always said that she did her best for me under the circumstances. She did not. She had a choice. She had a place to go, friends, family, a car. She didn't do her best for me. And she knew it. Part of me knew the truth. But I forgot until this week, sixty years later. I know the truth now, again.
What I did know that no one knew. I told the Doctor there was another Faye. A more confident Faye. A Faye who was a tomboy who loved The Mommies and the trees, who was athletic and smart in school. That Faye lasted until the Second Grade when Boys came in the bathroom. Until the Teacher forgot she stood a student behind the blackboard. Until the Summer between Third and Fourth Grade when the Nurse hurt Faye. Until the Third Eye Operation. Until Faye wasn't watching TV in the TV Room. Until the Hospital Operating Room came to School every day and to the Bedroom every night. Until that Faye went away. Part of me knew. But I forgot about that Faye and why she left until now, sixty years later. I know the truth now, again.
Drawing 20: Co-creation. 8/30/16
The Patient reads. She encounters concepts and terminology: empathy, subjectivity, empathic attunement, intersubjectivity. Puzzle pieces, glimmers, insight into her condition.
Evidently the Patient and the Doctor co-create an intersubjective field. Whatever you call "it" and however "it" works there are results for the Patient. For the first time in years the Patient's symptoms have lessened. She can feel the right side of her face for days at a time.
Therapeutic dialogue, including words and physical presence, is much more than concepts and terminology, it is an art, it is creative and it heals.