Two of Me?
I look down at the catalogue card on my desk. I look at the first subject heading. It says: “City planning – Zoning.” I see the word “City” and I see the word “planning” but I see them as “City – planning – Zoning,” something I’ve never seen before. I go over to Tony.
“Tony, is this a new subject heading? I’ve never seen the two together before.”
Dr. Lencek is standing by, listening and he says, “Ah, indirect communication.”
I hold the words in my mind. “Indirect communication.” What does he mean?
Tony answers gently, “Ellen, that’s not a new subject heading— we’ve used it before.”
I look down at the card. Of course, it isn’t a new heading. Now the words look normal. “City planning – Zoning.” My face burns hot and red. How stupid! I’ve used the heading for years. I slink back to my desk in embarrassment.
“It will get easier,” Dr. Lencek says.
“INDIRECT COMMUNICATION.” DR. LENCEK SAID THAT AFTER YOU SAID YOU HAD NEVER SEEN THE TWO TOGETHER BEFORE. YOU MEANT THE TWO PERSONALITIES INSIDE YOU. YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM BEFORE. YOU WERE DESCRIBING YOUR MENTAL STATE IN INDIRECT COMMUNICATION. THAT’S WHAT DR. LENCEK MEANT. THAT’S WHY DR. LENCEK IS ALWAYS TELLING YOU TO FREEZE ONE PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME AND KEEP IT IN THE MEMORY. “HOLD IT IN YOUR MIND,” HE ALWAYS SAYS. HE IS TRYING TO GET YOU TO BE ONE MIND— ONE PERSON. YOU’RE SPLIT IN TWO.
I feel weaker than ever now, though I am sitting. I look over at Dr. Lencek who is standing nearby Tony’s desk working. I want to hug him. All the times I was so nasty to him when he was trying to communicate with me . . .
IT’S THE PLAN. IT’S THE PLAN YOU OVERHEARD DANIELLE DISCUSSING WITH CAROLINE. YOU OVERHEARD DANIELLE SAY HOW SURPRISED SHE WAS THAT THE PERSONNEL HEAD WOULD ALLOW THEM TO GO THROUGH WITH THE PLAN. DANIELLE HAD THOUGHT THE HEAD WOULD HAVE SAID NO. THEY WERE PLANNING TO SHOW YOU HAD TWO PERSONALITIES.
But why would they bother helping me in this way? Why would they bother helping me at all after all my moodiness and fits of anger?
I am shaking now. I try to get up from my desk to look up the call number for the book. Dr. Lencek is standing by. Tony and Danielle are standing to the side watching me as I try to get up. I try to put one foot in front of the other. It is as if I have forgotten how to walk. My legs and feet don’t move the right way. I look up at Danielle. She probably overheard most of the conversation between Tony and me from this morning. She knows what is wrong with me. This is why she has kept away. She is watching me with an expression so dramatic that it is easy for me to see worry and compassion. There are tears in her eyes. For once I can feel the love. I want to run into her arms and cry. But I cannot walk. It is as if I am a big baby and when I finally do manage to walk slowly past them to the back of the room, I am unable to respond when Eva passes by and says hello. It is taking all my power and concentration just to walk to get where I am going. I suddenly am so exposed. Like a baby walking down the aisle. But, no, it is like I am being wheeled down the aisle. Something is moving me down the aisle and it is not my feet. I am in a big, dark, round cave. And in one corner of the cave is a small opening where the light shines in.
From Chapter 11 of my memoir on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eye-locks-Other-Fearsome-Things-ebook/dp/B007TOOF56/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345051643&sr=1-1&keywords=eye-locks Also available on Barnes & Noble Nook, iBooks and Smashwords.
I admire your ability to recall such difficult episodes. Most of mine are lost to time.
March 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Not recall. I was alone so I kept copious word -for-word diaries and wrote some episodes on the spot. A form of therapy. But thanks.
March 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM
I read and listen, and try to feel how it must be in this ‘other’ brain.
March 19, 2013 at 2:46 PM
Truly grateful for your interest– a writer couldn’t ask for more from a reader. Thank you.
March 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM
That was sadly beautiful. I wanted to cry for you and just hug you at the same time. I am trying to feel the mind of another with Aspergers and Bi Polar. My dearest friend has that. He can’t deal with reading long letters or emails. He says he has the attention span of a squirrel. I want to be the friend that will fit in as naturally with his life as possible. I want to be there for him and be a positive light. Someon he never needs to feel uncomfortable around. I have seen some positive changes and it makes me feel thankful.
I wish the same for you.
March 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM
It is beautiful that you love your friend so much you want to understand him. Positive changes do occur. It’s slow but they do occur. It might be hard on you because you might have to do handstands to make him feel comfortable. Or harder, hold back sometimes. But the positive rewards are great. My husband always says less is more. He secretly loves the emotional stuff but many times can’t take it. Sometimes I give him affection though I know he is uncomfortable– not too much– and I tell him it is good for him. It takes years. You have to be very tuned in to him but I think you are. And you have to know when to back off. Not so easy. I think your reaction is beautiful to my piece. But this is nothing to cry over. It was a major breakthrough that changed my life. And I did get to thank the doctor whom I worked with in the library before he died, many times I thanked him. He saved me. My psychiatrist helped but having an “almost” psychiatrist who apparently studied with Jung in the workplace willing to help me really saved me. I was almost fired. He spoke on my behalf though I know not what he said. Anyhow thank you for commenting.
March 19, 2013 at 5:27 PM
As a reader, this is incredible writing and it engages me in an instant each time I read any post of yours.
Ellen, please tell me in context with “Indirect Communication” don’t we all experience it?
I find the Doctor’s reply remarkable.
The last para is mighty intense. I read it 3 times.
And you end it so beautifully.
March 19, 2013 at 6:18 PM
Thanks, Arjun, your opinion means a lot to me. You are absolutely right– we all experience “indirect communication.” It is kind of amazing. I will tell you another example of it. My coworker, Tony, whom I loved like a brother, said to me one day when I came over to ask him a work question, “Oh, I am so happy you came over to see me!” I said back to him, “Well you won’t be when you hear what I have to say.” Seems like an innocent remark. But Tony said it was amazing how this indirect communication worked. I knew instantly what he meant. That my parents whom I had not yet told I was gay would not be happy when I told them the news. People may say this is BS. That it just meant what I said. But Tony was gay and we had talked about things and he knew my parents didn’t know. And it was definitely on my mind. An all very complicated answer to your question. Next time, listen to what people say, or what you say, and lots of times it will be your subconscious talking. And the subconscious says true things. But the doctor was a fellow employee, a cataloguer, higher level than I was, had trained with Jung so he knew all about this. His comment about indirect communication was crucial. I thanked him many times and years later after I was married I wrote him and thanked him. He was the one who really saved my life and my job (I almost got fired). He never became a full doctor of psychiatry because he had to leave Czechoslovakia because of the war.
March 19, 2013 at 8:28 PM