Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bumpy Road

Soon after the US Pizza, I and Anil decided to visit Rajneesh Krishna (RK), the Consumer Behavior faculty at MICA. I still felt I had some psychiatric disorder but its symptoms had become too complex for any inference to be made. The loss of individuality at US Pizza didn’t gel in with anything I had read or known. I told RK about my low mood and tried to relate it to my unrequited love for Priyanka. I don’t know why I mentioned Priyanka to him although she hadn’t figured in prominently in my thoughts which had an existential flavor. He showed interest in my thought-pattern and asked me not to regard it as pathological in nature. He told me about his experience in IIT-B when he had lost his father. In those days, he was mortally scared of crows and used to be afraid that a crow would come and bite him. When somebody told him about the strong association of crows with death in Indian culture (crows are associated with ancestral spirits and shraddhas (ceremonial month when ancestral spirits are offered funeral oblations) in Hinduism) and related his fear of crows with his refusal to accept the death of his father, he was cured of the fear. He felt I was depressed due to pent- up emotions which needed to be unveiled. He asked me to come again when Shubra Gaur, the Organizational behavior faculty would also be there. Gaur talked to me from a psychodynamic perspective and tried to gather information about my childhood and intimate relations. All that came through in that conversation was my neurotic obsession with the mountains where I had grown up and my pain at Priyanka’s rejection of my deep love for her. Gaur asked me to acknowledge fully that Priyanka never loved me. I told her I had accepted that the relation had ended. She said, “A relation has to exist to end. The truth that you must acknowledge is that you never had a relation with her.” This hurt like hell. It hurt because it was true. I had loved her and her alone yet we had no relation. Priyanka herself told me the same thing in almost the same words a few weeks later. Shubra told me I didn’t show any symptoms of bipolar or biological depression which even otherwise, couldn’t be confirmed without a bio-chemical analysis of brain. She asked me to consult a psychodynamic psychotherapist whom she knew. She also asked me if I would like to see PAT ( Professor Atul Tandon), the director of MICA. I was ok with it. I met PAT along with Gaur, RK and Anil. He asked me if I wanted to talk to him in private. He asked about the cause of my low mood and the strategy I had adopted to cope with it. Again I related it to my unrequited love for Priyanka. Priyanka had become a scapegoat for my archetypical fossils of id.
The doctor Gaur had recommended was Darshan Shah. Young and understanding, he was the best of this breed I have come across. I told him about my fear of going insane. He said it was unfounded and asked me not to leave the hostel for home but to continue the therapy with him. As a psychodynamic psychotherapist, his approach was, of course, radically different from the neuropsychiatrists I had consulted earlier. We discussed my past. I told him about my experiences at US Pizza and Desai’s clinic I also told him about a teenage incident when I had spoken to my father as some supernatural entity who had ‘occupied’ my biological body. He showed interest in it and asked me to describe the incident. It had happened in 1998 when I was studying in tenth standard. One night, I had told my father in chaste Hindi ( we always use Punjabi at home) that I was not his son but a yogabhrishta ( a fallen yogi/ spiritual seeker) who had entered the body of his son to fulfill his carnal desires. Besides I had asserted my superiority over him as an experienced yogi who was a master of the occult and the mystical with the ability to enter into the bodies of others. My father asked me if I remembered what I had told him in the night the next morning and I replied in the negative though my memory of the conversation was perfect. I had lied to avoid awkward questions for I had no idea why had I talked in that manner with him. I asked Shah if it was a psychotic episode. He said it wasn’t a psychotic episode. . He said psychotic episodes are characterized by amnesia which was clearly not the case with me. He felt it may have been disassociation. However, still the fact that I remembered it well was crucial. As I attended more of his sessions, I told him about my neurotic attachment with the mountains which he related to gigantic archetypes in my unconscious. he felt the peace I felt in the mountains or around an ocean was due to the physical reflection of my internal mountains of archetypes which such landscapes offered. He further felt I was unable to express aggression or hostility and its suppression was creating a knot in my mind. I found this insight relevant to my life-experiences.
Then I told him about my masochistic fantasies. Masochism is a term derived from the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch who authored ‘Venus In Furs’ in which he talked about being enslaved and humiliated by a woman. Some people relate physical violence along with vulgar and disgusting things with masochism. My fantasies were concerned with having to submit before an all-powerful female divinity who was endowed with awesome majesty and power. I had these fantasies form a very young age- at least from the age of five.

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