Mind games

73man does not mind admitting that he’s no stranger to the comfy couch of the noble art of psychoanalysis. You may have noticed that I have placed a picture of S Freud on this front page and that he holds that penis substitute of choice: the cigar.

Some of my best moments of clarity have come from lying on a professional’s couch and getting a warm feeling rising up through my spine as some elemental truth emerges to raise almighty hell with my conscious mind for at least 10 minutes before my head is wrecked again. I don’t want to make it sound too difficult a process (try it some time) but it can be. Facing up to the inadequacies of my character as well as strengths of my own life is a painful and often tortuous process. This is made all the more difficult by insisting on seeing the therapist as an enemy to be defended against on occasion.

Spending that much time on self-examination has taught me a mental discipline and a forethought that I believed I could never achieve. (Let’s face it: if there was not some self-awareness by the second year, you need a new shrink.) But the point remains a valid one: I have found therapy to be almost a religious experience (not being a pew frequenter that’s an odd one) with rapture, joy and sadness. I have to have a faith in myself and the therapist, to engage with connections between parts of my own life that previously seemed so distant.

Starting this blog, for example, comes only at a time when I have gained sufficient detachment from a lingering sense of self-consciousness that was a major part of my mental health. The question of “why write?” came up the first time I tried this under a different pen name. At this stage, I have found that I write because I want to, not because I am writing for other people to read it. If there is one thing the time on the couch has taught me it is that self-expression is not a skill Irish people are well endowed with. This blog is not oriented to you, the reader; rather it is an expression of the subtlety, the meaningfulness and the significance of a renewed belief in the worth of others.

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