Of Human Behavior

psychology.jpg

A JOKE FOR THE SHRINKS IN MY AUDIENCE:

A reporter is writing a story on the latest advances in the treatment of mental illness, so he goes to a psychiatric hospital in his town to interview the Director.

They meet, shake hands, sit down and the conversation begins. “So tell me, what kind of test do you conduct to determine whether or not a patient should be committed?”, asked the Reporter.

“Well” replied the hospital Director, “It’s a far less complex and clinical procedure than you might think!”

“Tell me more”, said the Reporter.

“It’s simple really. We just fill up a bathtub, put the patient in it, then give him a bucket, a coffee cup and a spoon and tell him to use one to empty the water!”

The Reporter shook his head. “So obviously, the majority of normal, rational thinking patients choose the bucket, right?”

“Wrong”, explained the Director. “Normal, rational thinking patients just pull the plug. Would you like a bed by the window or a private room?”

**************************************************************************

Funny, right?

Why? Because psychology is funny.

Have you ever listened to a conversation between therapists? I mean, seriously listened to them as they talk about mundane things outside of their field? As God as my witness, if they use the word “narcissist” once to describe someone, they use it a MILLION times. I think I overhead a bevy of them in Kroger’s once, use that word to describe a squash.

What the Freud??

I write comedy and commercials for several Houston radio stations when I’m not writing this blog. People have asked me, “Hey Laurie, are you funny all the time?”

No.

I’m rarely funny when I’m funny.

But I would think it’s probably hard for someone in the mental health profession to stop being in the mental health profession even in their private lives. The attitude, the knowledge, the training is pervasive, I would imagine.

I thought about becoming a psychologist briefly in High School. I conned my mother into getting me a monthly prescription to Psychology Today. It bored me. Cognitive this…and cognitive that.

Snore.

I then took three hours of psychology in college. I don’t remember much about the course other than the day we discussed libido and even that’s hazy.

Snore and lip smack.

And when a relationship blew up at the same time my TV career imploded in the late 80’s, I started seeing a an analyst on a regular basis. He was Rogerian in approach. Very patient centered. Everything I said, he followed up with his patented, “And how did that make you feel?”

I’d answer, because, Laurie Kendrick ALWAYS had an answer, but I never told him what was really bothering me. I was still such a ridiculous people pleaser back then. I actually wanted him to like me. How counter productive is that?

I left after two months.

I was in search of a Freudian because I knew for a fact “mommy” was involved, somewhere…somehow. I needed someone with clinical chops to back me up.

As it turned out, I was right. The Freudian was who and what I needed. Interesting, too. He was great at interpreting dreams and he also introduced me to the Repressed Laurie.

I loved therapy because it allowed me to talk about me. At the time, I’d just gotten back in to TV news and had spent a career interviewing others, reading what others had written and being forced to act a certain way for the sake of the almighty ratings point. I stifled every emotion I had, both on and off the air, because back then, anchors didn’t emote.

Geez, these days you see Meredith Vieira actually licking one of those new, skinny, gold Mac laptops sophomorically claiming it as at her own.

On the air.

Live.

Repression and my recognition of it became HUGE in my life. He helped with that and then I started to doubt his ability to help me. My abandonment issues always kicked in when he looked at his watch and said “That’s all the time we have for today”.

I left for some reason. Guess he got too close. Psychologically, I needed to have issues back then. I’ll make this morose comparison: like when you cut yourself and bleed. That way, you know you’re alive.

Then, during another dalliance with shrinks in the mid 90’s, I had one very forward thinking therapist who sent me to a psychic, because I felt hopeless. He said I needed “psychic therapy”. I got more out of the psychic. She told me that a man with brown hair, two daughters, and odd last name and this inexplicable need to spend a lot of time in airports would soon be coming onto my romantic horizon.

And then after seven years with the pilot, I had to go back into therapy again.

I stayed with this rather unorthodox shrink the longest. I liked him, but he had strange eyebrows that would change shape with every expression he’d make. It got to the point that I would sit there, look at him and see Rorschachian images in those ever- changing eyebrows of his.

I saw a uterus and insect heads—and that was just in his forehead.

If that wasn’t strange enough, he also had some rather odd precepts about love, sex and reasoning.

Can you say “Rollo May”?

I never cried much during my sessions with this particular therapist and I actually had much to cry about. The tears just wouldn’t flow–not in session anyway. I’m not sure why.

In fact, I’m not sure why we cry at all.

tear.jpg

But we do.

So, I checked Lauriepedia to get the skinny on crying:

Most mammals will produce tears in response to extreme pain or other stimuli, but crying as an emotional reaction is considered by many to be a uniquely human phenomenon, possibly due to humans’ advanced self-awareness.

In nearly all cultures, crying is seen as a specific act associated with emotional triggers.  Those are most often anger and grief, but crying can also be triggered by sadness, joy, fear, laughter, frustration or any other strongly-experienced emotions.

In many cultures, crying is associated with babies and children. Some cultures consider crying to be undignified,  casting aspersions on those who cry publicly, except if it is due to the death of a close friend or relative. In most cultures, it is more socially acceptable for women to cry than men, although this is rapidly changing in a more equal society.

Interesting,  because I was told quite recently that crying in any capacity is “immature and counter productive”. I was told this as I was wiped away the last vestiges of tears, imbued by the most recent Folger’s commercial.

I was hormonal.

Still, this made no sense to me. I needed to see if this was balderdash, so I contacted eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Pat Santy to learn for myself what crying is and isn’t. This is her response:

Dear Laurie,

Crying is a completely natural response to both physical pain, emotional suffering and joy and is automatic and reflexive. It also serves a physiological function even in excreting potentially harmful toxins. In order NOT to cry under those sorts of circumstances, a great deal of emotional energy must be expended. It is not in the least “immature” in that sense, any more than urinating is. It probably started out as a response to physical pain and evolved to cover emotional pain, suffering (extremely negative emotions) and joy/happiness ( extremely positive emotions).

Of course, if crying is the ONLY response one makes to an emotional situation; or if it goes on and on ad infinitum it may signal a pathological condition (i.e. clinical depression) or an attempt to avoid doing anything to change one’s circumstances. In the latter case, it can indeed become “self-indulgent” and “counterproductive”. But anyone who claims that it is only “immature, self-involved and counterproductive” is an idiot and indulging in what is called “rationalization” , which is completely immature, self-involved, and often also counterproductive.

Cheers!

Pat Santy

**********************************************************************************************************************

So, crying is OK. In fact, it’s normal. Go ahead. Dr. Santy gives you permission.

MY FINAL THOUGHT:

I think I might get back into therapy again. I feel the need. I’m feeling a little anxious…a little clouded lately. You’ll HATE my posts if I ever get mentally healthy. But I must do what I must do.

And if I get back into counseling, I just might find a nice Rogerian again. I don’t think I gave the first one much of a chance. Besides, when he asks me how things make me feel? Well, these days, I’ll have a hell of a lot more to tell him.

Speaking of….

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”.

–Kierkegaard

“It’s called “Ativan”, Soren. Might I suggest you try one!”

–Laurie Kendrick

8 comments

  1. It’s a good thing that today men have been given permission to cry in public. The first time I ever saw my husband cry(truly sob) was when he came home after 6 hours of internal affair questioning after his police partner was shot and killed in an undercover narcotic sting operation. He had been there as a backup(the partner was wired) and he could see and hear it all. When he finally got to come home, he feel in my arms and came apart. The mother kicked in and I knew what to do. We cried together….

  2. The rapist vs therapist? Yeah, I’ve noticed that….every time I paid my therapist’s bill!!

    But I’m more enthralled by your name. Warren Peese? Clever.

    I LOVE the homage to Tolstoy.

    LK

  3. My favorite therapist cartoon:

    (I can’t find it, so I’ll have to text it. Snore.)

    Carl Rogers sits facing a patient, high in a New York office overlooking Central Park.

    The patient says, “I’m feeling sad.”

    Rogers says, “You’re feeling sad.”

    “I’m thinking of killing myself.”

    “You’re thinking of killing yourself.”

    “I’m opening the window.”

    “You’re opening the window.”

    The patient jumps, and Rogers leans out the window and yells, “SPLAT!”

  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    How did that joke make you feel?

    Pretty good.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

    Now let me tell you about my mother.

    LK

  5. You go ahead and get all the therapy you want. Even if it affects the humor of your blog. Besides, I seriously doubt that any amount of therapy could completely remove your funny bone.

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