Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, Thursday

I had a great session with Max yesterday. He was telling me about his Thanksgiving. It was the first one is seven years that he wasn't drunk. He cooked, he was sociable. He don't get loud, bossy and obnoxious. He didn't drive everyone out of the house. People even called up and told him what a great time they had and how good it was to see him.

He was very grateful.

But he wasn't. I pushed him on that. He did say he resented his brother who came and brought his own beer and drank it. He didn't like how his brother rambled around the house, being loud, bossy and obnoxious. I could tell that Max was feeling deprived.

We worked on that, I thought.

Today Max's wife called. I called him back. He said they moved him off a project at work and didn't tell him it was coming. He quit his job, went home and got drunk.

Who is in charge here? How much is rational? Not with addictions.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where did he go?

A large part of therapy is building a relationship with the client. It makes everything work. It is important that people feel I am there when they need me.

Often, when they no longer need me they are gone. That's fine, but it sometimes feels a but strange. I mean... I thought this was a relationship.

But really, it is only a professional relationship. I give out support, guidance, insight, and help you explore new options, and you give me money ( or let your insurance do it).

But I want to know the rest of the story.

Do you like your new job? Did you get the new house re-financed? Is the baby healthy? Is the kid better behaved? Are you coping with your step-father. With your wife? With your memories?

People call back, two years later, when something else is going on.

I should call them, as a follow-up. But there is no time, especially this time of year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a call

Sitting, schlumped over, mumbling, barely audible one word responses. Not going to school, cutting classes, smoking dope, acting like they don't care, no confidence, ruining any shot at an immediate future.

Now, they bring them to me. Now that they are sixteen or seventeen. Their father's either see them once a month or degrade them constantly. Their mothers work to provide and try to add structure and guidance. In return the mother's get the anger and the passive aggression. The boys are angry because the family is gone, the money is tight, everyone is stressed and little is fun.

So, we start over. First we twist off the head. (Pop) Then we inject a little humor, a little irreverence, just for surprise. Two doses of understanding and sympathy, but make sure it isn't overdone. Then slowly, slowly, poor in some higher expectations, allow a little slippage but keep pushing along.

The process takes about two to four years.

I got a call this week from Florida. He was a kid like this fifteen years ago. Basically a seventeen year-old drunk. He left a message saying he was doing very well. He had been happily married for two years (his second try) but he now understood what it was all about.

That was nice. It's good when that happens.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bad to Worse

This is one of those posts that is over-condensed, but it would take about 107 pages to say all of it:

As I said in my last post, Carol's boyfriend died in her arms. Before that her life had been terrible. She had a schizophrenic father, one of her brother's lied, which sent her other brother to jail. Her marriage was awful, her kids have terrible problems and she is almost out of money. Now her boyfriend is dead.

Rick has had so many terrible things happen to him, from being raped as a kid, to having his stable wife of 22 years begin to visit her neighbor and end up a coke addict. That led to his daughter being placed in a foster home where she got molested. That is only about 30% of what he has endured.

Jennette's husband stopped working and would't come out of the basement. She tried everything for years, and finally ended up having an affair. She decided to leave for her new boyfriend but he died on his motorcycle. She left anyway and two years later met a nice guy. She came back to see me because he has cancer.

I could list fifty more examples without taking a breath.

What is my point?

When things go badly, they're likely to get worse. It is very difficult to reverse a downward spiral. And when you are sick or tired, or broke and stressed, that makes more bad things happen.

When things get really bad, just go in the house lock the door and stay there for a month. Then start all over.

That's the short version.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

But, then bad...

But then bad things happen and there is nothing to do but put them up here on a blog so that the world can see how much it sucks sometimes.

I've been working with this woman, Carol we will call her, for several years, mostly about her kids. I have mentioned her before but I don't remember what I called her then. She had a husband who left her for another man, and that didn't help her while she was trying to raise her sons. One of the boys is now in the army. I mentioned him before too. One is too anxious to attend school regularly.

While struggling with the boys and financial problems she became involved with another man. He liked her a lot but he couldn't stand the boys. Whenever he came over he would scream at them and they would scream back. That would end up with the boys braking things, like doors, walls or the stove. So, that guy finally left.

Then last spring she met another guy. She didn't want to get involved so she pushed him away. But he was persistent and he was good to her, and to the boys. He just kept hanging around. Slowly she began to accept him.

He was kind and supportive. He drank a little too much, and he sometimes didn't make much money, but when he didn't work he cleaned the house and fixed the holes in the walls. He was crazy about her and made her laugh.

Yesterday Carol was getting up to go to work. He saw her come out of the shower and got so thrilled to be with her that he made her late to work by luring her back to bed. While they were in the throws of expressing their affection he suddenly lifted up his head. He said he had a real pain near his temple. Then, she said, his eyes rolled back and he slumped over and died.

He was fifty-four years old.

Now what?

What did I do to deserve this? she asked on the phone.

These are questions I can't answer.

Life just sucks sometimes.

It will take a while to put even a few pieces back together.

Monday, November 12, 2007

diminishd blogging

Yep, It's been a while. For a couple of reasons.

First, I've been off doing other things. I have begun to figure out how, or if, I can slightly change my career and make use of my many years of experience is a slightly different way. To do that I've set out to visit with other therapists. I have had to organize my thought for that, and that has kept me away from organizing my thoughts for this.

The second point is related to that. Blogging requires a certain kind of mindset that I don't always have. this kind of technology produces quick, clever thought bites, or almost free-association, or stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Often, as you may have seen sometimes, that gets me in trouble. I begin to see things in too much detail, or want to explain the seven contributing causes. Then when I begin I find that the seven causes each have five qualifiers. By then the post is too long and nobody wants to read it.

The third thing is that there is too much information. I get magazines, newspapers, journals, emails, books, and I like to go on line and read all of you blogs to see how your lives are going and what you're all thinking. I also want to see my wife and kids and both my friends. Can't do it all, and begin a new project.

So I stopped doing everything and watched the Red Sox and spaced out for a while.

Now I back, maybe. I'll see.
I kind of miss it, but I also feel I want to put more thought and structure into some of the stuff I write and that doesn't always lend itself to a blog.

But I hope you're all well and will take a real interest in finding a way for this country to get really good health care and less in be involved in less destruction of all kinds. Those would both make my job a lo easier.