28 Nov 2009


Well, the first few weeks (weeks? has it been longer? Massive delirium) of my self-analysis have been fraught with mishaps and misdiagnosis.

At first, it seemed my ego had formed a pathological identification of itself with a lost-loved object, later I seemed to have returned to a stage of anal-narcissism, for a little while I was concerned that I was cathecting purely onto imaginary unconscious objects (thus treating my own body as the object of the beloved) and most scarily of all I seemed to have ceased object-cathexis altogether and be floating in a state of schizophrenic bliss, converting latent thoughts to 'real objects'.

I ruled a father complex out at once because Daddy was such a dear, and besides he died when I was only three on the River Thames at Marlowe. Aunt Lily may of course have brought me up all wrong, but with Showalter I'm inclined to disregard Freud's thoughts on the narcissism and neurosis of homosexuality as just plain behind the times. Surely homosexual thoughts can't be evidence that I fancy myself? I nearly married Ann and she was nothing like me: much less attractive and rather stupid to boot.

I wish I could diagnose myself as an hysteric - feminists go crazy for the early divas of female hysteria, and Helene Cixous thought they were heroes, valiantly and quite reasonably responding to patriarchy's oppression. There's some wonderful stuff about Obsessional Neurotics in Freud and their strong reactions to the repression of ambivalent thoughts about loved ones (all the boyfriends I've secretly hated) but it doesn't fit - I'm too messy to have an OCD. It's a shame, as other hysterias are mostly caused by confused object-cathexis as a result of a faulty Oedipal repression (after the infant realises they're not going to have their wicked way with the mother/father, they quickly put it out of their mind at once and form an ideal image of the parents (Super-Ego) to act as a conscience against any other silly incestuous thoughts). Pathologies can apparently be caused by incomplete repression - Freud describes animal phobias in this way (eg. Wolf Man) as well as hysteric ticks or convulsions, which are the unconscious' way of expressing the chafing repression, which the conscious mind resists. I have been known sometimes to lash out at strangers or swear suddenly, but I'm not sure this qualifies as le grande hysterie. But, I'm disinclined to believe I got the Oedipal stuff wrong: it's so elementary. It would be embarrassing.

All that's left is psychosis, which is supposed to be brought about by the foreclosure of a primordial signifier, the Name-of-the-Father: a nice and complicated theoretical type condition, which also rejects universal patriarchal signifiers, a massive plus and very much up my street. Also, there's a withdrawal of libidinal energy from the outside world, which fits as my love life is dead at the moment. The delusional formulation (libido turned inward to ego and fantasy objects) makes an awful lot of sense as I can be a little self-involved, and Emmeline (my cat) tells me I live in a dream-world, which I always thought is absolutely essential for a great writer, like Tolstoy. I have cause to reflect on the period in which I wrote Me, Tim and my Quim (which was once to be made into a major Hollywood film, before the recession hit etc) and in all honesty I can say I must have been suffering from some pretty severe delusions: in the novel, I have a passionate and highly literary love affair with my psycho-sexual counsellor, while in reality I did not have any kind of affair with my psycho-sexual counsellor, though not for want of trying.

Unfortunately, psychosis is a rather indistinct condition, basically quite a lot like neurosis, and its existence has been contested. I don't want to be neurotic, as it reeks of desperation, and if it comes to that I'll just diagnose myself as perfectly sane and perhaps a little under-stretched intellectually in my current employment. That's the beauty of being a Lady Psychologist, readers!


10 Nov 2009

Self-Medication, Dr Freud

SO I've been a little patchy recently in le blog as I've been having a psychotic episode. Or two. Or twenty seven. Probably since I've last web-logged there have been as many episodes of Hollyoaks as I've had psychic traumas, and that's including the Sunday round up and taking each portion of it as a stand alone episode, so probably about six in all I guess. And I don't even watch Hollyoaks.

Recently, you see, I've been writing my memoirs for publication on the divine Women's Parliamentary Radio, entitled A Year Off the Ward, which is an account of my admirable mental health in the last twelve months or so, and how through positive thinking, creative sublimation and vigorous self-medication I have managed to avoid a) suicide, b) self harm (sort of), c) stalking (again, sort of), d) violence, aggression towards the young, petty theft and arson (all except arson have been a little patchy I admit). Most importantly, I have avoided being sectioned since June 2007 and, like a repeat offender recently released from prison, the fact that I haven't been sent straight back within the month certainly calls for a celebration of the diazepam-and-white-wine-spritzer kind.

However, writing my memoirs seems to have plunged me into a relapse. Now I know what you're thinking lady readers, this should have sent me running to my blog, or encouraged me to compose a series of Mental Health Tweets, which would probably have me lambasted like the poor dear who wrote very sensibly about her miscarriage (did you see it? if not she said:

I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because
there's a fucked-up three-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.

Wonderful says Posie! I couldn't have put it better myself.) God knows what the modern middle class neurotic would do were it not for the ready opportunities to monetise one's disturbances. However, I thought that, with the book coming out, I'd keep my material 'fresh' as it were, and try to sublimate furiously through a series of monoprints of female saints castrating dragons figured as menstrual hallucinations (coming soon).

That having failed, I turned to my trusty Freud, the beloathed Father, to do a little self-therapy. I have, you see, run a little slow on the trust fund this season and, with no Christmas shopping done to speak of, need to prioritise my outgoings in order to buy those Jo Malone candles for Emmeline, and Aunt Lily's yearly kilo of Laduree fig macaroons. A therapist, therefore is out of the question, and as feminist critic Sally R. Munt rightly termed such bourgeois femmes as myself 'consumers of therapy', who pay £40 a week so that someone can tell us our thoughts are valid, I am happy to sacrifice this luxury for the greater good.

So, having briskly skimmed through Mourning and Melancholia, Totem etc & Freud's entire case notes on Hysteria (supplemented by readings in Elaine Showalter, the darling, so that I don't get too carried away). I am now to proceed with psycho-analysing myself. Keep updated for next installment! Emmeline is going to hypnotise me now.