AUGUST

AUGUST

August is a strange month: there is the sun, the beautiful weather and then suddenly a storm with hail that lowers the temperature by several degrees makes you think you are in winter. Psychiatrists would call it bipolar. Yes, in fact, they think that bipolar disorder is due to a biological clock that from time to time changes and makes good weather or bad weather or depression or excitement. I don’t believe at all that this is the case, I think that the only real disease of the so-called bipolar is depression and excitement is nothing but the negation of depression that triggers when the Ego is no longer able to withstand the depression itself.

So we can say that during the depressive phase the patient feels better and is definitely more curable than when they are in the phase of excitement, when they are euphoric and say they are fine. I think that so much confusion in the psychiatric field would be eliminated if we were to bear in mind that mental illness is a specifically human characteristic and that there is a way of understanding its reasons and dynamics while we seem to be oriented towards thinking that it is suddenly something incomprehensible, non-human. I already hear some jokers remind that today there are psychologists of dogs and cats and that therefore mental illness is not exclusive to humans. Trying to make a serious topic something that is not serious, we can then say that animals have a conscious mind that therefore must be educated as unfortunately do many psychotherapists who educate patients. But if animals have a conscious minds, then we can say that the specific human characteristic is the unconscious, irrational mind. But then they tell you that in the irrational there is the animal! Beautiful confusion these gentlemen have in their head! 

We must say that psychiatry and psychotherapy are recent sciences and still have a long way to go, but it is a pity because in reality a valid theory capable of understanding the healthy and sick movements of the unconscious thought exists. Let’s wait, it will be a matter of time but it is difficult to think that many schools of psychotherapy that say the opposite of each other, can survive the test of time. 

But August is also strange because many people stop working, go on vacation and the cities

empty. It is often said that big cities are very enjoyable in this period because there are few people around, traffic is reduced, there are parking lots, But it always comes to mind that even the homeless who seek solitude actually always put themselves in very busy places, who knows why!

In August the kids find their first loves and experience the first disappointments and it is also the period when the sadness of a just made separation is felt more heavily. Those who do my job know that holidays are for many people the hardest to deal with. Maybe because there is the idea that “the others have fun”, as if having fun was a kind of duty. Unlike other times of the year, August is a must have.

The school is over, as well as university studies and work, there is no longer the daily commitment and perhaps the word freedom pops up, always sought but too often confused with the high, chaos.

I remember many years ago a beautiful girl came to me who had lived in a family home, with nuns. She had never withstanded them and when she was 18 she chose to go and live on her own. The first thing she said to me was that she had been dreaming for years about that moment when she was going to leave that place which she never liked but now that she was free to do whatever she wanted and finally she didn’t have to answer to anyone, she was actually locked in her room all day and couldn’t get out.

Freedom is really difficult to define, we need other words to understand it.

Try to think for example of the claim of freedom of no vax: I want to be free not to get vaccinated! Sure, it’s all right, but then someone else has to pay for it. So then they said that your freedom ends where others’ freedom begins. But this is a definition I don’t like very much because, as usual, it refers to a rule, a repression. Instead a great psychiatrist said: “freedom is being a human being”! I really like this one, but it forces us to ask ourselves what it means to be human beings. Don’t worry, I’m not going to deal with such a topic with this heat and when you musthave fun! But maybe we can try a little something. When we say that school, university, work in this period are not there, and in any case there are no holidays, we must think of the other word that is “separation”. Which is not at all synonymous with annulment, that is, total cancellation of what was there before because this is the mechanism that leads to the idea of high, of mess. 

We should start to think of separation as a moment of personal realization that comes from the elaboration, with imagination, of the previous relationship. This story that if a relationship ends it means that it has failed, is absurd and false. We live through continuous separations that enrich our identity. Yes, we should also talk about identity, in a period in which on the one hand we talk about liquid identity and on the other there are those who define their identity by saying that they are a mother, a Christian, an Italian…! My God what a jumble, sooner or later we will have to deal with these issues because, with the elections coming up, there is the risk that someone wants us to believe that human identity is this while these are just silliness, nonetheless very violent, fired “in freedom” by those who believe that the human being is unchangeable and always equal to oneself. So that god, country and family, and it’s all good!

But I forgot, in addition to school and work, even psychotherapy sessions are suspended in this period! All the more reason to try to make sense of the word separation, which does not involve the conscious, exact memory of all the things that the psychotherapist said, I mean, is not to have the photo of the psychotherapist on the bedside table, but it cannot be the annulment of the relationship that had been lived. Then perhaps imagination must emerge, but perhaps precisely the creativity that in the separation from the lived relationship brings out something new, something that was not there before. The seriously mentally ill, the schizophrenic, seeks freedom by staying out of the relationship and canceling the relationship that has been, while the sane person realizes their freedom after the relationship, for having satisfied the desire. 

As when two lovers while making love are very close and absolutely dependent on each other, and then, during the orgasm, each of them narcissistically realizes themselves, their own identity and, with indifference but not with unaffection, their own freedom!

Marco Michelini

Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the traslation of this article

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AUGUST
Credits by: Marcelo Chagas
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