I woke up thinking about Anna Freud. Well, to be honest, she was not my first thought. Initially, my feeling was that of mild panic: “It’s Thursday and I haven’t started my post for this week.”

I felt a tiny bit hysterical. I usually begin a post on Monday or at the very latest, Tuesday so I have time to work on it the rest of the week.

Luckily, my unconscious brought to mind a novel about Anna Freud I recently devoured. The title? Hysterical. It was a good read if you don’t mind occasional irreverence about Sigmund Freud. Here is a sentence attributed to Anna that I underlined:

“Abreaction was a term that Papa had coined for the psychic healing that comes from allowing a flood of once-repressed feelings to flow.”

Abreaction apparently is a word out of favor today in the psychoanalytic world as in my decade of psychoanalytic treatment and study of Freud and his creation psychoanalysis, I scarcely heard it. I have, however, experienced the healing that came from allowing my feelings to flow.

Those of you who have read Fear, Folly & Freud know how hard I fought against contacting my feelings. I began treatment in order to learn how to do things differently but when the analyst pushed me to feel my feelings, I didn’t want to because it was too uncomfortable. Ironically, I would feel almost hysterical after a session of holding in feelings.

Hysterical can be defined as being uncontrollably emotional or agitated. And interestingly enough, hysterical can be defined as very funny or hilarious. Reading my memoir, I sometimes can see the humor in my resistance.

Watch yourself and see what you think of first thing in the morning and notice if you feel either type of hysteria as we move into the weirdest Holiday season most of us can remember. Then please share by replying to this email or visiting the blog section on my website: NickyMendenhall.com

Thanks for reading and commenting. We need each other to get through the rest of 2020!


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