Thursday, 29 March 2012


I was a mess when I got to Deirdre's consulting room yesterday. A summer cold, even more dentistry and not eating or sleeping well for days hadn't helped. I felt fragile and transparent, like I could buckle in on myself.

Snooping on Sarah had been a good thing, somehow, but there had been the fallout of Virgil being upset with me for doing it. Obviously I had told him. It's not the kind of thing I could keep to myself. I had been both defiant and defensive, refusing to apologise but acknowledging the obsessive thoughts. He said it was creepy, weird and obsessive. I told him that I had done nothing underhand to access the profile. I had simply looked on Sarah's Twitter, seen that she was a devotee of __ and searched for that as a key word on the dating site on which she and Virgil had met. Sarah's profile popped up straightaway. Job done.

My looking was a result of a burning but unpremeditated curiosity. There was no malicious intent. I just wanted to see how Sarah presented herself. If she checks her page visitors she'll see I stopped by. There was nothing to dislike. She sounds fun, clever, interesting, decent... I'm sure I'd like her as a person. She is now single though. I'm not that surprised. The relationship Virgil had told me about had not sounded very committed. I try to take this in my stride. It shouldn't matter.

On the downside, having spied, I now couldn't stop thinking about Sarah. Images of her kept popping up in my mind. It's not healthy that I should waste so much time and energy on someone I have never met. I want to stop thinking about her all the time and deal with my own stuff. This is a distraction from thinking about more important things.  

Absolutely - yes it does, interjects Deirdre (I'm in a therapy session, remember?). When you think of Sarah and have all these bad thoughts, where is she? I say I don't know and Deirdre gestures to my field of vision. Where do you see her? I say, Oh, top left. Deirdre says, And where would you like her to be? Bottom right! I say. I want her behind me, right back on my right side. At the moment top left is really dominating. I just can't get away from it.

What do you see? asks Deirdre. I say the first thing that comes into my head. It isn't good to analyse these things too closely - best to just go with it. It's like a dark mass. There's a dirty, green, mouldy canvas bag, like a postal sack, but I can't see what's in it. There's noxious poison gas vapours seeping out and turning the air around it dark.

Any idea what's inside? asks Deirdre. No, I really don't know, I say, and then, Actually, there's a severed head in it. That's crazy. Why would I need a severed head to be there? Deirdre laughs and says something like: Well, if you need a severed head in your toolkit it must be for something pretty important. Do you know who it is? And I say, Well, I can't see because the face is turned up and I can just see the red bit where the neck has been severed but I think... actually I think it's my dad. 

Then there is a massive explosion of tears and Deirdre says, Oh yes, that's right. I say, It must be from when he's well, before he got sick because his hair is longish and like a badger's with all different streaks of brown and grey. After chemotherapy it grew back differently - grey and curly.

Where would you like the head to be? asks Deirdre and I say, I'll bring it to me and put it on my lap. There's my dead dad's severed head on my lap. I'm looking into his face. What do you want to say to it? she asks, and I say, I'd like some help and advice please! I think my whole dad materializes at this point because I have a strong impression of the liver-coloured cashmere jumper and green corduroy trousers that he used to wear. He's standing next to me. I put my arms round his waist and hang on tight.

We talked about what advice my dad might give me and when I next looked the image of the toxic gas and scummy linen bag had faded and was now transparent. I replaced it with a cornucopia spilling golden light and bright pink rosebuds, laughing about the tackiness of this image of abundance and good thoughts.

I really like these visualisations. They hit a deep spot in me. The other one we did yesterday was to help cure my obsessive thoughts about Sarah. I picture Sarah and allow her image to settle in my mind's eye. Then I zip her up in a comfy cocoon with lovely golden light in it and put the cocoon behind me to my right side. If I need to I throw it quite hard but it can work just to push it back there. I replace her image with one of myself looking happy, being outgoing, sociable and fun, putting my best foot forward. I say 'best foot forward' to myself and let the golden light and pink rosebuds of the cornucopia fill the view. 

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