“Insight is the booby prize of therapy.”
Lori Gottlieb wrote this in her (to me, unreadable) book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. As a wholesale consumer of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, this insight was the booby prize of reading the book.
It’s true, though. Today, as I lay on my analyst’s couch (that’s a confession there, of sorts – I don’t know that even the most faithful readers of this blog would know without having intuited it that I’ve been in psychoanalysis much of my adult life, just like – or really, I hope, nothing like – Woody Allen), I had a bit of a… realization. Or really, my analyst said something to me for the 425th time, and I heard it for the first time. Or not quite that, because, when I tell you the epiphany, if you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll be like, “Um, yeah, I knew that, N.”
That’s the thing about epiphanies in therapy: often, they land with a sort of soft, gentle, thud, because the true epiphany isn’t the epiphany itself, but the fact that, upon articulating something that feels like an epiphany, I have to confront the reality that I knew it all along, but somehow was invested in not knowing that I knew it.
My epiphany: much of what I do – writing here, stretching/working out with all these women, my monogamish-ness, my fear of fucking, my love for oral – all of it – is a defense against my fear of the loss I associate with death.