Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shrink, Please!

I’ve been hooked on HBO’s ‘In Treatment’ since it debuted last year. In case you haven’t had the pleasure, the show revolves around a therapist (shrink!) and the patients he treats. There are five episodes each week, each one devoted to a different patient, so you get to know a cross-section of people. I’ve always been interested in dissecting people’s personalities and trying to figure out why they do the things they do. In Treatment allows me to do exactly that from the comfort of my couch, and without all the baggage of having these personalities be those of people I actually interact with.

It’s hard to watch In Treatment, though, and not think about your own strange quirks and idiosyncrasies. For example, I am absolutely horrible about keeping in touch with people. You know when someone moves away, or leaves a job – someone you’re close to – and you both say things like, ‘we’ll keep in touch!’ I want to believe it so bad when I say it, but, sadly, I know that I there's a good chance I'll fail at this promise. It’s not that I want to fail. In fact, I desperately hope that I’ll beat my previous odds and actually succeed for once. Yet time and time again, a person fades from my sight (although I swear not from my mind), and I struggle to ‘stay in touch.’ I’ll spend days, weeks! thinking I should call or even write an email. And then I’ll put it off for later. Before I know it, it’s been an embarrassingly long amount of time, and then I feel so bad about how much time has passed that I’ll retreat not-that-gently into that good night.

I bet Paul (the In Treatment therapist) could explore the whys of this.

My husband, thankfully, has not a shred of this problem. He’ll stay in touch with people from 20 years ago. Just today he asked me if I wanted to have dinner with some friends of ours who moved out of our apartment building last year. He forwarded me an email exchange he had had with them and, nosy as I am, I scrolled to the bottom of the email chain. I saw that he had contacted them a few weeks ago when he started his new job. He wrote them a short, pleasant note simply passing along his new contact information.

Dear readers, this would have been impossible for me to do! Sure, I would think about our former neighbors, genuinely wonder how they’re doing in their new digs. I’d recall that we were supposed to have dinner one night many moons ago, but weren’t all able to get together. And then I would wistfully think that that window of opportunity had passed. I’d be too afraid to email them out of the blue now. What if they thought they were rid of me, only to see I had resurfaced? What if they thought too much time had passed, that we no longer had anything in common? Again, I bet Paul could provide some input on my psyche here.

So what about you? Please tell me you have your own strange idiosyncrasy too. And if not, any tips for dealing with mine?


LA Raabe said...

i just told Kurt tonight, I need to find a shrink. maybe Paul has some openings in his schedule.

whether girl said...

i have the same problem you do. and i too wish i was more like Mike. so no real advice, but i've been meaning to check out "in treatment" and now that you've recommended it, it's going on my DVR list.