Free association

I lurk at my friends' blogs, reading their posts.
I hit the comment button, trying to type and re-type a single sentence that does not seem meaningless/trite. It is hard.
I take food pictures, but that's not what I really want to blog about. I want to blog about what is important to me. That is harder.

I think about going into psychoanalysis. With a therapist. Me being the patient. It used to be a mandatory requirement for all shrinks, you know. I go to talk to my supervisor. 'Let me ask you something before we talk.' He says. 'We think you will make a great chief resident. Would you be willing to do that?'
'It would be an honor.' I say. He then asks me what I'd come to talk about. I make some excuse and leave.

Friday afternoon. A new patient shows up. She's a year older than I am, and she's lived the life I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. I grill her, often not giving her enough time to finish her rambling stream of thought.
I have only 30 minutes, after all.
She smiles all through the interview. By the end, I want to cry. My supervisor (a different one) tells me, 'When you are moved by a patient's story, tell them. It creates a bond.' I go back and we finish the interview. We discuss meds, labs, follow-up plans, life. But I never tell her how I feel.

Soon, there will be another post about food. With pictures.

Read and post comments


About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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24 Responses to Free association

  1. Scott says:

    It's very hard to blog about the most important things.
    But I still like your food posts as well as your psych posts.
    I'm impressed that you are in your profession and still have energy to cook and post!
    (Interesting, I'm a bit surprised that some time on the couch is not a requirement for a psychiatrist. Seems it'd give so much insight.)

  2. i like your posts about life and work. i like your photos on the food posts. to be honest i don't linger on the food posts because i am THE MOST undomesticated woman in the history of mankind. i can't cook, clean, or nurture… and i appreciate a man who can do it for me =) i too struggle to write comments; i do feel that everything i write is trite and useless. i wish there was an easier way to show solidarity/agreement with a post. so… did you agree to become chief?

  3. I was once told, after coming to my former boss in tears about one student's horrible life situation, that the most important gift you can give a person is your ability to listen compassionately. Not many of us get the opportunity to tell an interested stranger about the grief in our lives; but even more rare is when you discover the stranger cares about you and values your experience as if it was the important thing they've heard all day. You gave something wonderful to your patient that day. Give yourself a hand! And I will too: *clap clap clap!*

  4. Wow, what a job you have! You really should find your own "couch" to sit on, your job really takes a lot of positive energy and strength, it would also remind me of things I have long since forgotten about. I love your food posts, but all I can think of when I see them is "YUMMMMM!" hahah!

  5. If you feel shy about revealing too much of yourself, Purplesque, why not compose your posts and make them accessible only to you initially. You can then decide if you want to open them up to friends, neighbours or just particular individuals later.
    I love your food posts too.

  6. jaklumen says:

    It seems to me that you have been going through a fair amount of turmoil– not just what you've described here, but I can tell the news from Mumbai bothered you a LOT. So all things considered, your feelings are quite reasonable– glad you shared them with us.She smiles all through the interview. By the end, I want to cry. My
    supervisor (a different one) tells me, 'When you are moved by a
    patient's story, tell them. It creates a bond.' I go back and we finish
    the interview. We discuss meds, labs, follow-up plans, life. But I
    never tell her how I feel.A certain sense of detachment is probably a good thing, but… well, you know how stuffing feelings turn out, and I hope that's not the case.

  7. Fanny says:

    sometimes an anonymous blog works better for that sort of thing.

  8. sometimes we all need more than food and pictures….

  9. Nyght says:

    I don't know how you do what you do – you must have enormous internal reserves of strength. I really admire how you listen to so gut-wrenching things all day long and are able to shift gears and cook and blog about the food!
    I say blog about anything that strikes you at the time. Sometimes all we need to do is get it out, no matter the format.
    I can't emphasize enough how much respect I have for you.

  10. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Thank you. That means a lot.

  11. Purplesque says:

    Yes..spending time in psychoanalysis is a requirement for psychoanalysts, but not psychiatrists. It was quite common for training psychiatrists to be in therapy, for insight as well as to know what it was like to be in the patient's shoes. With psychotherapy on the whole falling out of favor, the practice sort of faded out. Now with the pendulum swinging back, there seems to be a re-emerging interest in therapy for shrinks.

  12. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Sometimes I settle for a simple [this is good].Yep, I agreed to be chief. The current chief said something about me being able to say no and keeping others in line..I was thinking, 'what? who? me? are you crazy?' lol..but it will look good on the resume and hopefully teach me the skills mentioned above.

  13. Purplesque says:

    Thank you. I know that empathy is important, I'm just not sure if its enough.

  14. Purplesque says:

    YUMM is good enough for me..:)

  15. Purplesque says:

    That's a great idea, Empress. I have written a couple of posts like that, and then deleted them. I don't feel shy about revealing too much, but I don't do it well, if that makes any sense.

  16. Purplesque says:

    Lol..yes. Thats what I try to do via Vox..unstuff myself a little.Thanks for your message..I sent you a reply.

  17. Purplesque says:

    This was meant to be my anonymous blog. LOl

  18. Purplesque says:

    Yes. And pretending otherwise won't work. 🙂

  19. Purplesque says:

    Thank you for saying that, but it goes right back to what I feel. Its the people who deal with all the crap life lays out for them every day who have earned the respect they seldom get.

  20. I struggle with that too, Purplesque, which is why I mainly write about trivia – apart from some times when I feel I am about to explode!

  21. The thing we need the most is the only thing that we cannot ask for. The thing we want to do most is more often than not the last we end up doing promptly. It is a great post! I do exactly the same as you. Of course, I usually shy away from people's problems now because I finally realized that I needed to help myself too. I don't know how you do it, but I know it is really not easy, and that's putting it lightly.

  22. Purplesque says:

    Well, its good know that we aren't alone in that predicament, at least. 🙂

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