Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for January 6th, 2012

Arising Out Of The Coma

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 6, 2012

   Michael, forty-two, has seen me for two years. We talk about his internal world. Sometimes I remark that his thinking is concrete. Lately, he has shown deep insights into his behavior. “You are coming out of a coma,” I remark, suggesting that his unconscious mind is finally waking up to the underpinnings of his feelings and his behavior. “I feel that” he tells me. Now, when I look around at my wife and my kids, I feel like I have a better grasp of our dynamics. I feel like I understand the triggers to their outrage and their upset. I also feel like I can tell what makes them happy. Before, I felt clueless as to why people were feeling anything-good or bad.” Michael relates this to me with a certain wistfulness about his past closed-off experience to himself and to his family. Now he feels more “in touch” but it comes with deep regret for his past detachment. “It is hard to go forward, thinking about what you missed in the past. It is hard to mourn the loss of not being able to move backwards,” I say, trying to empathize with his pain about his previous defensiveness. “I just can’t take it,” he tells me with deep sorrow. “Sometimes I want to go back to my coma,” he says, making me understand why he would say that. “Comas do have their advantages,” I say, understanding that feeling one’s internal world can be wrenching. “You are funny,” he says, remarking about my daring to idealize a frozen mental state. “Maybe, not so funny, but in touch with your sadness,” I say, bringing our conversation back to his pain. “OK, you are funny and in touch,” he grants me.

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