In Treatment, Richard Long & Fear of Real Emotion

It’s reasonably early morning. And once again anxiety has me up and about. Well, about is a bit of a stretch, but up, at the very least.

Been spending a lot of time writing in my journal this past week. It seems the best way to control this rising anxiety, this fear of all the emotions that are bouncing around inside of me. That and distracting.

I know I wrote in a post not long ago about trying to stay with the emotions, to allow them to break through my defences. And I was. But now, suddenly, it feels too much. So I distract. But, since a big part of me wants to feel, I do it through watching In Treatment, this American version of an Israeli show which rarely fails to get me to respond emotionally. It follows a therapist and his clients through the weeks, and also the therapist’s own therapy/supervision/marriage counselling sessions. The last part is, well, a bit unclear, really. As the therapist/supervisor/friend/colleague Gina frequently says:“Some lines have been blurred”. Understatement of the century! Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.

Those who know me and my family background will probably understand why this show really gets to me, why it’s the show of choice for conjuring up a controlled emotional response. Anyway, maybe the reason for my choosing this particular show over other shows is of lesser importance than the fact that I choose to watch a show at all. Instead of allowing my real feelings room to roam I distract, so that I can – not switch off entirely – but can experience emotions once removed, if that makes sense. It reminds me of going to see the Richard Long exhibition at the Tate last year. How I felt that looking at photographs – beautiful as they were – were still merely watered down versions of these amazing works of arts, which he had created on a large scale in nature. In that particular case, it felt like it was lacking in flavour, left me wanting something stronger – but in the case of In Treatment, well, I think it provides me with just about the amount of emotion I can handle right now.

That said, I do hope – and also believe – that sometime soon, I’ll feel able to return to experiencing the real feelings in the moment, rather than half-way-but-not-quite retreating to something which feels safer.

I stand firm in the belief that true emotion is what brings about change. But, for now – maybe this way of feeling is an adequate apéritif? A taster of what is to come.

Enjoy your day.

xx

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