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Tag Archive for ‘Depression’

Fork U: Choice, cheesecake, adulthood and the importance of anxiety

Fork-in-the-RoadThe day I enrolled in Fork U was a bad day. I was in a bad mood, a really bad mood. I might, to you, seem like a nice-enough person who is incapable of channeling Beelzebub or any other lower-level deities that might or might not inhabit Dante’s Inferno, however, on this day that I speak of I was a flat out bitch. Why, you ask?  Well, it was a combination of PMS, Christmas stress, exhaustion, disappointment about having to cancel a trip to Hawaii and infertility grief that all came together and made me an irritable and unhappy person who should have had a sign around her neck, “Stay 500-feet away from this woman unless you want to get your head bit off.” Sadly, I didn’t have such a sign on and my good friend made the mistake of going to lunch with me. As I picked at my Cheesecake Factory salmon, I tried to smile and hide my acrimonious attitude and ornery and somewhat hormonal inner-life from my friend, only I couldn’t. I was, you see, a two-year old trapped in the body of a 40-something. And the two-year old me was in the midst of the kind of tantrum that would draw a crowd, that is if I actually threw myself to the ground and started kicking and screaming the way I wanted to do.

Even as I tried to maintain the persona of an adult, all I could think of was how pissed off I was and  how unfair life was. And when I wasn’t thinking that then an intrusive thought would enter my mind, it was the subtitle of a book that kept interfering with my inner-tantrum. The unwanted and unwelcome thought was, “How to finally, really grow up.” “Grrrrr…”, Beelzebub growled at that line. Once we paid the check and I tipped the waitress inspire of how annoyingly chipper and chirpy she was ( remember, I was in quite the state), I asked my friend if she minded if we stopped at Barnes and Noble.

I was sure they wouldn’t have the book, after all who would want to read a book about  how to grow up? I certainly didn’t. And yet there I was in the self-help section looking for a book that I didn’t want to read. On that day especially, the last thing I wanted to do was to grow up and be responsible for my life. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and have a temper tantrum and for someone else to be the adult for me for a while. I was tired of being an adult. I was tired of responsibility. I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone else, and certainly NOT for myself.  And yet, with mixed emotions, I picked up the book and walked to the cashier.

Strangely, I was embarrassed to buy the book, Finding the Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow Up. You see, I knew that I looked like an adult. I even, on that day, likely looked like a professional adult who knew how to dress themselves and present like they knew what they were doing. Yet, on that day, it all felt like an enormous ruse. Only I didn’t want the cashier to know that I was in fact faking it. I would have only been a little more embarrassed if I had been buying a book about sex. I distracted the cashier from looking at the title by engaging her in chit-chat, and happily it worked. I don’t think she had any idea that I was buying a book on how to grow up. And, if she did, I would have told her that I was buying it for my brother (and there is no way for her to know that I don’t actually have a brother).

Let me explain something here, I didn’t at the time know why I was buying the book. I wasn’t feeling especially immature, I was feeling bitchy. And under the  surface of the bitchy I was feeling like collapsing and even, strangely, feeling like I might want to collapse into a depression. I know that sounds strange, but there is a familiar comfort zone to depression for me. When I am in a depression I don’t feel that I have to be responsible or have a persona or do anything I don’t want to do. I could climb into bed and surrender to the feelings and not have to do anything about them. And, on that day, that is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to go home and I didn’t know where home was, it certainly wasn’t where I lived and it more certainly was not the house that my mother lives in as that is not my home.

When I got home from the bookstore I crawled into bed with James Hollis. I attempted to surrender to my sadness as I read his wise words, “When the desire to “go home” prevails, we will choose not to choose, rest easy in the saddle, remain amid the familiar and comfortable, even when its stultifying and soul-denying. Each morning the twin gremlins of fear and lethargy sit at the foot of our bed and smirk. Fear of further departure, fear of the unknown, fear of the challenge of largeness intimidates us back into our conventional rituals, conventional thinking, and familiar surroundings. To be recurrently intimidated by the task of life is a form of spiritual annihilation. On the other front, lethargy seduces us with sibilant whispers: kick back, chill out, numb out, take it easy for a while…sometimes for a long while, sometimes for a lifetime, sometimes a spiritual oblivion. Yet the way forward threatens death—at the very least, the death of what has been familiar, the death of whomever we have been.” All that was well and good but as I read it I found that I didn’t want to read it and my thoughts began to wonder back to the Cheesecake Factory and wonder why I didn’t get dessert. But something in me required me to read on:

“The daily confrontation with these gremlins of fear and lethargy oblige us to choose between anxiety and depression, for each is aroused by the dilemma of daily choice. Anxiety will be our companion if we risk.., and depression our companion if we do not.” Okay, this was starting to make sense. I was not wanting to make choices, I was surrendering to what was and seeing myself as a victim of circumstances. There had been such much change and choice in the last two-years that I was wanting to crawl back into what had been even though there was absolutely nothing good about feeling dependent and helpless. However, something about the longing to be dependent and helpless was familiar and comfortable and sort of childlike, like I was wanting to regress.

It was the following line that caused me to fully enroll and invest in Fork-in-the-road University, ” Not to consciously chose a path guarantees that our psyche will choose for us, and depression or illness of one form or another will result. Yet to move into unfamiliar territory activates anxiety as our constant comrade. Clearly, psychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity in is for the toleration of anxiety and ambiguity. The capacity to accept this troubled state, abide it, and commit to life, is the moral measure of our maturity.”

That last paragraph is why I needed the book. When I came to a fork in the road I didn’t always take it. Old territory, and even depression, were more comfortable than the unknown and the ambiguity that came with choosing uncertainty. Only not really. Hollis continues, “In every decisive moment of personal life, faced with such a choices, choose anxiety and ambiguity, for they are developmental, always, while depression is regressive. Anxiety is an elixir, and depression is a sedative. The former keeps us on edge of our life, and the latter in the sleep of childhood.” Reading that last line I couldn’t’ stay in bed another minute; I felt a bolt of energy that usually only comes after drinking a triple espresso. I felt like I had been given an emotional GPS, when choosing if there is fear then I need to move forward, and not backwards, and experience the fear as a challenge. Something about Hollis’ emphatic instruction allowed me to embrace the anxiety as a normal sign of development.

It is normal, Hollis’ words, assured me that at  crossroad moments to feel a regressive pull to home, depression, helplessness and despair. Yet, he advises me and you and anyone who struggles with facing the fork in the road to take the action that makes us anxious. Let me repeat Hollis again:  ”In every decisive moment of personal life, faced with such a choices, choose anxiety and ambiguity, for they are developmental, always, while depression is regressive. Anxiety is an elixir, and depression is a sedative. The former keeps us on edge of our life, and the latter in the sleep of childhood.”

Once a friend was trying to teach me to drive a stick shift car and I was terrified. I was almost hyperventilating as she instructed me on the feel of the clutch. I panicked. I breathlessly told her, “I CANNOT DO THIS!!!”. My friend looked at me totally puzzled and she said to me calmly, “Your mother never taught you that bad things pass and that scary feelings don’t last.” She didn’t pose it as a question, she saw it in my behavior—-and she was right. My mother did not teach me that. I learned that anxiety was something to avoid and that if I felt something now that I would always feel it and that I should avoid any action that might activate anxiety.

My friend, a gifted psychotherapist, gave me in that moment a huge gift, even though she didn’t manage to teach me to drive a stick. I learned from her that I had missed an important life lesson, anxiety passes. You may have learned that from your mother or your therapist, but I didn’t know it until my friend taught me that. And until I read Hollis I didn’t learn to expect anxiety at any fork in the road that I might face. Now, thanks to Hollis, I have learned to expect it and thanks to my friend, I can remind myself that  even if it doesn’t feel like it now— and even if I am totally scared as I make the choice that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” 

24-hour psychic flu

I feel this strange mix of feeling so much better than I did and yet a little embarrassed by how quickly I recovered. There is some company I heard about on the news that has a policy that if you are sick just one day that they won’t give you a sick day pay . It is their belief that you have to be sick at least two days to be really sick. I wasn’t aware until today that I held such a policy for myself. Usually when the black dog of depression find its way onto my lap I am stuck with it at least for a week or two. I can never recall feeling the kind of darkness I felt on Tuesday and having it gone by Wednesday. One takes a trip to the Underworld it is not usually for just an overnighter. It is much like going to Europe, if one is going to make that kind of big trip one usually stays for a while. However this time I made the big trip to hang out with Hades and I was back before I had even acclimated to the terrific time change and I wasn’t there long enough to partake in a single pomegranate.

There are reasons I recovered so quickly: Talking to lovely friends who totally got how I was feeling; taking action that made me feel like I am not a victim; comments on my blog that showed me I have lovely friends who care about me; easy access to Igor. However, I have had these things in the past and they didn’t allow me to recover so quickly. What is different? I guess that there isn’t an  easy answer. The truth is that I  have changed. In the nearly two years I have been working with Igor I have changed. Maybe you have noticed. People seem to. When I was in Chicago friends saw it. They said things like, “You seem so different—so grounded and so different” and they meant it in a good way and not in a “California has turned you into a different person and we don’t like this one.” Rather they seemed to think that I was different in a good way. And I know it is true. I can feel the difference and today, with how quickly the heartbreak, disappointment and despair was shrugged off, I can really feel the difference.

When I saw Igor yesterday I talked about the precedent to my pain. I unpacked it the reason the pain was so profound and the more I did the more I felt a sense of relief. And, dear friends, to illustrate my relief, I did not cry one tear in Igor’s office. I did laugh. I did find him to be effective and I didn’t for a second think about telling him that I was quitting. And by the time the session was over it was clear that I didn’t need another one today. Oh, and I did tell him about a dream I had had the night before. Now I will tell you:

In the dream I am at the psychoanalytic institute where I will be attending the Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program. It is a big building.  It was easily four stories tall, only it was only a one story building; it had a very high ceiling and felt new and spacious and all together lovely. The building somehow reminded me of what a modern building in Israel might look like. It was made entirely of sandstone brick, kind of one that was used to make the Getty. As I waited for the class to begin I realized that this wasn’t just an institute but also a university. It was too big to just be an institute. Next thing I knew, as is the way in dreams, someone was telling me it was time for my supervision appointment.

I went into a small and dark office and in that office was my old Jungian analyst with the bad teeth. I sat across from him and knew that I couldn’t say anything about how strange it was to see him for supervision.  I just sat down( and my body was leaning far to the right in a very dramatic way) and I started reporting a case to him. As I did it I was aware of how nervous and unnatural I was sounding but I decided I needed to just stick with the case. I told him about my client and he gave me no feedback. Next thing I knew( see this happens all the time in dreams) our session was over and I was getting up to leave and he said, “okay, see you next week”).

Then I went out into a hall and there was a woman who was wearing extremely, almost costumey, Bohemian clothing and she was asking a group of people to name where the source of the dialogue that she was quoting. As soon as I heard it I knew the dialogue was from Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galictica or one of those bad science fiction shows that He-weasel watches. Instead of saying that I said, “Battlefield Earth”. As soon as I said it one of the people in the crowd corrected me and told me that it wasn’t Battlefield Earth. The Bohemian woman kept talking and led us away from the building through a grassy courtyard and into a small classroom. As soon as we got into classroom I realized that class had begun. I panicked as I had left my stuff in the big building and I had no paper and I was unprepared. I would have to go back to the big building and get my stuff and if I did I would be late and in trouble.  And that is where the dream ended.

So as I have told you in the past, Igor is not so great with dreams. He is great in many areas but with dreams he is a suckasaurus. However with this dream he didn’t suck.
“You are in a beautiful place that feels spacious and expansive and it feels good to be there. You go into a dark place when you turn to someone you don’t have resonance with. And when you follow this Bohemian woman away from the building, who is talking silliness, that is when you experience yourself as  ”unprepared and in trouble”. It is not the deepest or most detailed dream analysis I have ever heard but it worked. As soon as I heard his interpretation I felt better. It was true, I have been in a good space–an expansive space and through an interaction with someone that I don’t have resonance with I went into a dark place.  The dream took me out of the room with my old Jungian with bad teeth and away from the Bohemian woman talking about nonsense and out of the underworld and the black dog of depression jumped off of my lap and ran off to wherever he lives when he is not with me. I left my Wednesday with Igor feeling that I was back in the light—back in the beautiful space I had been in before the darkness overtook me. I was back home.

All the President’s A-Z

I knew since Friday that Aunt Flo and Shark Week should be arriving any moment, only it didn’t. I usually only have one day of extreme irritability, hunger and emotionality and the next day the curse arrives to explain why I cried at the Cheerios commercial. Not this time. This time I have had extreme irritability, hunger and emotionality for five days. That is a long time to feel irritable, hungry and teary.

And to make matters worse when one has tried and failed to get pregnant for over a decade one does not appreciate getting one’s period a week late. Such a person, especially during the special PMS time of the month which creates greater emotional lability, doesn’t have the emotional where with all to fight off delusional fantasies that a late period might mean in fact mean a miracle pregnancy.

When I woke yesterday morning I was satanically grumpy, horns began to sprout from my head and I found a pitchfork on my bedside table. I was the kind of grumpy that made the me of the day before, that placed my cart in the way of kids who were wearing “wheelies” and using the fruits and veg section at Costco as their own personal skating rink and when they gave me a dirty look for stopping their hi-jinks I responded by saying, “This is not a skating rink”, seem down right warm and fuzzy.

So as to amplify my mood I learned that there was another theft of my stuff here at my high priced security building. I had ordered the Cole Haan Penny Loafer from Neiman Marcus when they had a one day 40% off sale. I placed the order and forget to get the estimated date of delivery. I was in no hurry to get them so it sort of slipped my mind, until yesterday. Well, I called Neimans and it turns out the shoes had been delivered at 11:00 in the a.m. on October 26th. They were left on my door and stolen. The third time I have had stuff stolen from my door. And, just recently He-weasel and I found in the stairwell a Vera Bradley bag that someone had stolen and then opened the box and didn’t like the bag and they left it in the stairwell. Grrrrr! Have I mentioned lately how much I hate this place?????? I bet this kind of crime never happens in Boston( please, don’t disabuse me of my fantasy).

My first thought was to pack a bag and Lily and I would go to the airport and get a flight to Chicago and I would call He-weasel when I was checked into a dog friendly hotel and tell him that Lily and I would be here at the Lake Forest Inn waiting for him and that under no circumstances would I ever go back to L.A. again, ever. I instead watched “All the President’s Men.”

I am not sure how it started or why it is but “All the President’s Men” is one of my favorite movies for self-soothing. When I feel so bad I look like one of Harlow’s monkeys there is something about Woodward and Bernstein taking down President Nixon that buoys my spirits and makes me forget about whatever it is that drove me to watch the film to begin with. It works better than any Cary Grant film or even any of my favorite French inspired romantic comedies and I think because it is so devoid of emotions and the film doesn’t require much of me emotionally. I learned of A.T.P.M’s anti-stressing qualities many years ago and started incorporating it into family holidays as a ritual part of the day—some people over-drink and overeat to deal with holiday familial stress, I root for the resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

Lily and I lounged in repose silently on the sofa and watched Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford trying to get unwilling witnesses to spill the beans. At the end of the film
I was still feeling a bit rough so I turned on Frost/Nixon. He-weasel came home to find it on and said, “Nixon again? Bad day, huh?”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzZJamfE48Q]

I would also like to share with you a song that a dear bloggy friend of mine, K.T. ,wrote just for me in order to cheer me up and it did just that. I am delighted to share her cheer up song with you.

Cheer up cheer up cheer up.
(I think I learned that song from Sesame Street)
So, here are my ABC’s to make your day better
(I resort to ABC’s to sort feelings)
A= You are awesome!
B- Your blog is bitchin’
C- I love it when you are catty
D- Damn doorstop thieves
E- Enough of my stupid crap already
F- Feelings. Whoa whoa whoa feelings
G- Gremlins. Little fuckers freak me out
H- How the hell do we ever think some things are good ideas?
I- Insane people might have it all figured out.
J- Just don’t listen to me. Half the crap I say is half assed.
K- Kleptomaniacs do it cheaper.
L- Little did you know…
M- Much love to you
N- Never take advice from me. Unless it makes sense.
O- Opulence. I like it, don’t you?
P- Puppies. Gotta love puppy breath.
Q- Quelle?
R- Rascals. For real. The first R word that came to mind…
S- Shopping. Nuff said.
T- Tits Magee. Maybe I will change my name to THAT someday. To be considered…
U- Underwear. Someday I will buy La Perla or Agent Provacateur.
V- Very big kudos if you read this far
W- Weasles. xoxoxoxo
X- XRated. Everyone needs a little xrating in their lives, right?
Y- Ya-hoooo-oooo.
Z- Zebras. Pretty cool looking animal, ya think?

The Valencia me

My short-lived Boston dreams are over. I just learned that the position He-weasel applied for has been filled. The Valencia me is feeling very sad, disappointed and otherwise grumpy. This was so perfect. This was what I wanted. I was sure this was going to be the one. We were finally going to get out of Valencia.

Prior to learning the bad Boston news, I had already been feeling a little mood indigo. For the last two weekends I have been in all day test prep classes that kept me away from my He-weasel. His work schedule, as of late, has been such that he is gone before I get up in the morning and he is in bed almost a half hour after he gets home, so weekends are the only time I get to see him. But thanks to Marriage and Family Therapy test prep classes I haven’t seen him even on weekends and instead have spent it learning ways to approach an exam that is so maddening, confusing and anxiety producing that I am feeling sure that the exam was created to serve as a deterrent from California having too many psychotherapists.

To make things worse I have a raging case of PMS, Chicago homesickness, claustrophobia induced by our postage stamp sized apartment and the reemergence of the 16 year old me that has a propensity for eye rolling, audible huffs and puffs, and extremely dramatic body language. The return of the 16 year old me was constellated by having the most irritating and least bright would-be therapist in the state of California sit next to me at the test prep class(even though I put my stuff all over the chair and the desk next to me and went as far as putting my feet on the chair so as to make it PERFECTLY clear that I wanted to be left alone. Yet, my dim and obtuse classmate made a bee line straight for me and seemed attracted to my non-verbal demands to be neighborless. My silent rage at his presence seemed to only fuel his desire to chat with me while the teacher lectured which only made me angrier and so the cycle continued ).

This guy was so annoying that I had other students in the class invite me to come to sit next to them just so I could be a little further away from him as he clearly had a colossal case of cooties. A fellow classmate and I, in attempt to prepare for the exam, felt compelled to diagnose this guy. We concluded that he had “Annoying personality disorder”( You won’t find this diagnosis in the DSM-IV and yet there is no question that such a personality type exists). My annoying classmate also FREQUENTLY disproved the well loved academy theory that there are no stupid questions. Stupid questions were asked at frequent and regular intervals. And, annoying guy, if you are reading this, it is my professional, if unlicensed, opinion that if after completing a Masters degree in counseling psychology and 3000 clinical hours if you don’t know the difference between major depression and dysthymia you ought to consider another career. Perhaps toll booth operator?

Between the Boston news, the PMS, He-weasel deprivation, and my clueless classmate I am feeling really rotten. I no longer feel hope or expectation. I am no longer waiting for the phone call that will change our life and announce our Boston move. I am back in disappointment, grief, and some mild hopelessness. The Valencia me is not in the mood to study or workout or do anything in the least bit constructive or productive. Today there will be chocolate, naps, bad TV, J Crew online shopping and a temper tantrum or two in which I will grieve the Boston me that might have been.

Roots of neurosis

Today I am getting my roots done again, something I have to do every three weeks because of my genetic inheritance that has given me prematurely gray hair and a vanity that prohibits me from going natural. Let me tell you I h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-hate getting my hair done like I hate going to the dentist. I don’t like sitting around for hours wasting time unless I am at home on my couch. I especially hate going when I am feeling less than fantastic about my life or myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my stylist and she is as sweet as pie but as colour is applied to my premature gray hair today my colourist will ask me, “So, what have you been up too lately?”

“Um, I have been napping and watching the Real Housewives of Orange County and have come to have very strong feelings about Vicky. Vicky is a crap mother and crazy and poor-poor Don. I spend a lot of time on my computer and I have been wondering if I ought to quit writing and take up a career as a jackhammer operator.”

“Uh-huh”, 24 year old gorgeous stylist says as she thinks thoughts about how sad and old I am and how she hopes that when she is my age she looks better than I do and how she will have a shop of her own and maybe her own line of hair products.

“So, what else has been going on?” She asks hopefully as she brushes on more bleach.

“Yeah, uh——-hmmm…” I consider telling her that I have been in a coma for two weeks and I haven’t been doing anything. I decide that will lead to her asking me more questions I can’t answer about how I fell into a coma and what hospital I was in and how am I feeling now.

“….well, yeah, my proposal was rejected by an agent. That was a lot of fun.” I said her with the kind of energetic sing-song that usually is saved for talking about unexpected romantic getaways to Barbados.

At this point she is no longer listening and is fooled by my tone of voice, “That’s great. Did you have fun?”

“Yes, loads of fun.”

At that point I will feel sad and like a failure and I will fantasize that every other person in the salon has a job that they are wildly successful at and that none of them take Vitamin W and that all of them have healthy dogs and wonderful relationships with their mothers. My depression will deepen as my roots go from white to red.

I will flip through magazines that make me want stuff. 15 minutes under the dryer with In-style and I will decide I need all new makeup, skincare and an entire new wardrobe and a handbag that costs $10,0000 and then I will realize that I have no where to wear my new makeup and wardrobe except to walk Lily, sessions with Igor and dinner with He-weasel.

The shampoo bowl is the low point of my trip to the salon. By the time it is time to have the colour washed out I no longer have the endurance or inner strength to maintain my persona of self-confident, strong and together gal. I close my eyes as my hair is shampooed and conditioned as I try to tell myself things that are good about me: ” I am happily married. I, uh, I…I have Lily. I have a blog with lovely readers. I, uh, I…I need that $10,000 handbag and new clothes and new makeup and a new life.

The blow drying is the best as there is no expectation that I talk. The buzz of the dryer quiets my mind. No thoughts. No, that isn’t true. My thought is ‘watch what she does; pay attention.’ And then I wonder if I have run out of money in the meter. I wonder if Lily is okay at home alone. What are we going to eat for dinner? I don’t want to go out. I am sick of the restaurants around us. And then I look up and it is dried and done and I haven’t paid attention again.
I look at my hair and it looks fantastic and I feel great and confident. As I flip my well coiffed do as if in a shampoo commercial I wonder why I didn’t come in sooner.

Hedonia

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So, I went to see Igor yesterday, as I do. And, I sat there feeling strangely uncomfortable with what I had to tell him. See the thing is that I was not feeling altogether like total crap. I warned him that I had an unusual feeling. I told him that I thought I was joyful. I said it in such labored tones that I made him laugh. I immediately jumped to clarify:

“No, I am not joyful. That may be overstating it a bit.” He tried to understand the distinction I was about to make and adjusted his pose in his chair making himself ever more ready for the nuanced distinction of my emotional experience.
“Maybe I am happy.” I said sounding mildly anxious and a bit confused; I somehow worked into the sentence a tonal question mark when what I seemed to be saying was a statement of fact rather than an inquiry seeking affirmation or negation.
As soon as I said happy and it was just sitting in the room reverberating I started to panic, “No, that isn’t it.” The word happy felt too much, too far and just a bit disorienting. “actually,” I clarified, “I am feeling mildly hedonic.”
Igor’s laughter grew into a bellow. I laughed along with him as I got the joke.

We spent the next 15 minutes talking about how I managed to go almost an entire week feeling “hedonic”. I explained that I had been bombarded with good things and that unlike other times when I could usually figure out how the good thing was really a bad thing and how it would likely be taken away from me there hadn’t been time to do that—the good things just kept coming at me.

“It was just one good thing after the other and so even though I really tried I just couldn’t get myself depressed, there were just too many good things,” I explained.

” I am sure you did. I am very sure that you tried.”Igor laughed with an acknowledging tone as I watched him imagine all of my mental gymnastics to get back into my homeostasis.

I went onto explain when that didn’t worked I called a member of my family who I could always count on to make me feel like crap about any good thing in my life. Usually I can count on this person to take me from happiness to despondency in a five minute phone call. Only it didn’t work. So in a desperate attempt I called an old friend who has a bit of the Eeyore to her and a good dose of envy and she did do several chorus of “lucky you” and “poor me” only this time it didn’t make me feel depressed and my hedonia remained even after our chat. I felt temporary invincible.

So after we established my hedonic state Igor asked about the things that made me not altogether unhappy:
1. The Westie and how happy I am that we are getting her—and how lovely Fifi and Alicia were in helping us get our furry child.

2. Having lovely times with lovely friends. Wendy’s lovely dinner party, lunch with Leah, and the museum with Enc .

3. The lovely note of encouragement I got from Carolyn See.

4. That phase one of my book proposal is close to being done.

5. That is feels like things may be changing for the better.

6. Chris Orcutt’s fabulous post of on preparing for success and how it inspired me.

7. That it’s cold. It is 45 in Valencia. Or, as brilliant Karen quoted the TV weather report “It is so cold in Valencia that residents are reportedly wearing hats.”

8. The final one on my list was shocking, at least to me, and I didn’t think of it until well after I left Igor’s. I was walking around Beverly Hills with all the chic and well-heeled shoppers and there was a kind of fun and kinetic holiday energy on the streets and I found myself enjoying walking and window shopping and I looked at the sky and it was blue, the air was cold, the mountains were gorgeous and I thought to myself something I may have never thought before, “it is a beautiful day in L.A. and I am glad I’m here, I think”.

I know, that’s serious.

About Me

My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .
These blog posts are informational only and not meant to replace individual psychotherapy, counseling or medical advice. If you are in need of help, reaching out to a professional may help you decide how to proceed or how to find the care you need. For a referral, contact

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