Faulkner looking quite Freudian
Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
I am reading section one of this classic novel. It is hell. Written in first person from the perspective of Benjy, a mentally retarded boy unable to distinguish time, cause and effect, or emotion. I’m not sure if Faulkner was being actively sadistic when he created this completely confusing point-of-view character or if we as readers have become more lazy and impatient over time. I suspect it’s a combination of both.
Like Benjy, I was felt unhinged and out of sorts recently when we decided to undertake a minor home improvement. We moved everything out of the bedrooms in order to refinish the floors. Oh the chaos! Oh the boxes of things piled up everywhere! Then, while we were at it, we decided to reorganize the children’s mess bedroom.
It was like a thingy-bomb had detonated in our living room. Oh the chunky plastic piles of toys! Oh the games with missing pieces that the children were atomically attached to! Oh the five million piece Ikea dressers which required a crack team of engineers to assemble! The whole process took about two weeks, but it felt like years.
And now the floors are lovely, the rooms restored and the organization improved and it was all worth it. I go into their room at night just to hear their little snores and to gaze happily upon the uncluttered surfaces.
When people enter therapy they often go through the “falling apart” phase, where every uncomfortable feeling they have that has been pushed down or amputated for years comes roaring out with a vengeance.
“I thought I was supposed to feel better as a result of coming here!” They muse, suspecting that perhaps therapy is to mental health what bloodletting was to physical health a century ago. Our fancy professional term for this falling apart is “decompensation.”
Eventually, a sense of order returns and the improvements make the chaos worthwhile. I can only hope that Faulkner comes through in the same way.
*By the way, if you are interested in anxiety and phobias I will be doing a radio show with Joyce Anderson, an inspiring intution trainer and author of Talledega and Conrad, a lovely novel about self esteem, on September 23rd at 9am on Voice America. You can tune in at http://conversationswithyourself.com/radio and join in the conversation.
I’ll also be doing a break out section on restoring emotional equalibrium as well as paticipating on a panel presentation at the ADD Resources conference “Healing the Scattered ADHD Mind” in October. http://w3.addresources.org/?q=node/496 I’m looking forward to hearing Gabor Mate MD, the keynote speaker, present.
And finally, I’m speaking on the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders for Sierra Tucson professional development Lunch Series on October 7th. http://www.sierratucson.com/upcoming_proevents.php#428
Whew! This amount of public speaking could be considered a little…um…crazy.