Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paging Dr. Freud

The real one, not my advisor.

I had a feverish dream early this morning that I was a scientist/artist in the early Renaissance time being hounded by the Inquisition, sort of a cross between Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo. (I never said I wasn't a narcissist.)

The dream was quite elaborate; I remember writing desperate letters in beautiful handwriting, drawing pictures, and propounding theories that I wish I could remember clearly. (Ironically, Dr. Jerk is very interested in dreams and nightmares. I could single-handedly give him fodder for years of research.)

Obviously, the dream is about my problems at school. The dream ended when I/the scientist/artist decided to give in to the Inquisition, pretend he wanted to submit to their superior knowledge, and ask for guidance/instruction at a fairly elementary level. ("Who is Gd?" kind of stuff.)

As Dr. Roda, my Czech psychiatrist, would say, "Dreams are trying to tell us something." (It sounds much more portentous when delivered in a semi-thick Central European accent.)

I have to submit and be silenced. I have to pretend they know everything and I know nothing -- even though I know that isn't true. That is the only way I won't be burned at the stake.

But even if I submit, I'm still at risk of a fiery public execution.

I had another dream, a few weeks back, that I insulted Woody Allen. Readily believable, because I think the man's a pedophile and moral reprobate and cannot believe any responsible judge let him adopt young girls. (I guess Soon-Yi's getting a little long in the tooth for him.)

I didn't want to apologize, but my mother insisted I go up to his apartment, ring the doorbell, and apologize to him. I remember riding up in the elevator, getting more and more tense and apprehensive, until I got off on his floor and stood in front of his door.

And I couldn't knock on it. I got back on the elevator and told my mother I would send him a letter or an email, but I couldn't apologize in person. I was afraid he would hit me, even though I joked that I could probably take him.

Woody Allen = Dr. Jerk. I've been afraid to confront him in person, preferring to do so by email. Unfortunately, the email led to a personal meeting, which was severe and harsh. I was right to be afraid of him.

I can't envision spending the rest of my graduate studies with my head held timidly down, terrified of how the professor will attack me. My stomach is constantly clenched. I've got ferocious diarrhea (now that I'm managing the knee pain without taking prescription painkillers). This is almost unbearable.

I'm also frustrated because the testing library has decided that we must take out the IQ test in pairs. Only problem is, our class has 29 people. I emailed the class through our Yahoo group to see if anyone would partner up with me. No responses.

How am I supposed to fulfill the requirements of the program if I don't have access to the materials?

I emailed one classmate whom I confided in about my troubles. I asked her earlier if she wanted to sign the test out with me, and she was evasive. So I wrote her:

Hey -- I need to know whether you and I will be taking out the WAIS together or whether you've partnered with someone else. Since there are 29 people in our class, I think one group will need to triple up. As I mentioned, I'm scheduled to administer the test next Sunday morning and should be able to give it back to you by 2 p.m. that day. Please let me know if that works for you; I can bring it straight to your apartment as soon as I use it.

I hope that doesn't make me sound too needy. But what am I supposed to do?
had an interesting piece on the role of suffering in our lives.

The Jewish view of suffering... is that it is part of a process of self-development -- in effect a process of birth of the self. Though we would never choose intense suffering for ourselves, faith that it is part of a growth process can take away, if not the pain, at least some of its sting. Knowledge that the suffering has purpose and is leading somewhere offers me the strength to weather the crisis.

But I'm having trouble finding consolation in this when I'm paying out so much hard-earned money in tuition and medical costs, suffering physical pain and emotional anguish, and in danger of being kicked out of the program I worked so hard to get into. And I've already suffered considerably in my life, including my disorder and its profound mental and physical effects.

Is Gd telling me I'm not supposed to be a psychologist? What, then, am I supposed to do with my life and the ordeals I've survived? I'm obviously not getting married and having kids anytime soon. What else is there, if I can't make it through grad school? How am I supposed to make my contribution to tikkun olam?

And why do I have to suffer so much in the process? When does my life settle down into something that I can lead with pride and dignity?
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Reread the entry of Anonymous 1 on Nov.1. It is sound counsel. Try to see things from the prof's and others' perspectives. You have power, if only over yourself. You have the power to adapt. You are learning through your suffering -- not to so avidly seek the spotlight.

  2. Oysh. That sounds really rough. If it helps at all to think about, just know that you have friends (and loyal fans) who believe in you and have confidence that you can achieve this dream, despite all of the obstacles.