I felt better because of his words, because he supports me and encourages me to speak, instead of keeping me drugged and tied to the bed. I still have before my eyes that terrible apparatus with wires, I can still feel the touch of cold electrodes on the temples and the waxy taste of the wad in the mouth.
But when have I taken any decision recently, except when photographing, which I haven’t done in years? Was it all those years ago when I decided to study photography, and all that happened to me afterwards was the consequence of someone else’s decisions? I can barely remember the desire to photograph and the sense of control, freedom and confidence I had in myself and in my decisions. When did all this disappear and why? How could I have allowed myself to end up in the hospital? This is what I would like to write about.
* * *
That was all that was written in the found notebook. Somehow I got hit by those forgotten words written over a decade ago, and especially the sentence: “I can do it.” It sounded as if I was convincing myself of it. But the intention obviously failed. I was bothered by the blank pages that followed. Why haven’t I continued writing? What was I afraid of? What is it that hindered me?
In front of my eyes, I again saw the face of my psychiatrist, the shop window, my reflection in the glass. I especially remember that short, but clear surge of hope after my first visit. When I left Jacques’ house, I lifted my head to the cloudless light-blue sky. I remembered the title of Georges Bataille book Blue of Noon, not so much because of its contents and that he, supposedly, wrote it about me, as much as because of the title itself. Did he have in mind this kind of blue? The wind ran its fingers through my loose hair, I took a deep breath, and I let myself go, as if I were a sailboat. I drifted for a while, enjoying the feeling of ease and serenity. After spending weeks in a more or less unconscious state, drifting between light and dark, as if somebody threw me into a deep well, where I was doomed to wait for the end, it was on that day that I believed for the first time that I wasn’t lost, that I was not completely abandoned.
I read the first sentence once again – Yesterday I left Jacques’ in such a good mood!. Only a few pages later the serenity and optimism were replaced by a long silence and – blank pages. At the time I still didn’t know, and nobody had told me what I later read about the consequences of electroshocks: that euphoria follows after the unpleasant and painful therapy. My feelings in those days were a consequence of a chemical reaction in the brain!
My initial admiration of Jacques, as well as the later gloomy mood and endless tiredness prevented me from taking the pen in my hand. Perhaps my inability to concentrate was a consequence of the therapy? The same as the occasional memory loss? Jacques told me that a patient’s memory may sometimes fail, but usually returns. I’m afraid that at that time little was still known of the effects of electroshocks and that I was simply a guinea big for this fad…
How much did psychotherapy help me? Did it last too short before I could really recover?
Now my hands – the same hands that Picasso painted so many times, still with smooth skin, still with long polished nail – hold this notebook. The notebook is big, its edges are slightly frayed, as if I carried it around with me everywhere and turned it from one hand into the other, changing my mind. I was most amazed how thick it was. Did I really intend to fill it up? These few words written long ago are a pathetic testimony to how helpless I felt. But I’ll write now what I didn’t have the strength or ability to write then. Jacques, who in the meantime became the famous Dr. Lacan and is no longer my doctor, just an old acquaintance, was nevertheless wrong about one thing. I think that I am only now able to really make decisions, long after I finished, or to be more precise, stopped the therapy with him.
Yes, it took me longer than I thought after that our first talk of ours.
Actually, even now, after so many years, I recall some of the topics and questions we discussed. Only now is the door slowly opening for me, through which I might finally see my life from a different angle, from an emotional and temporal distance. I’ll try to write down the memories that surge in this same notebook. And I know I still have the purple ink lying around somewhere!
Translation into English:: Zorica Teofilova