I am writing this on Thursday afternoon, 10.29,2020, the day before my last analytical session on Friday morning. My husband Wendell offers the word transition when looking at my tear-stained face: “It’s a transition,” he assures me.

It helps a little bit.

Yes, I am undergoing transition. My memoir, Fear, Folly & Freud: A Psychotherapist in Psychoanalysis, the project I’ve been working on for a couple of years, is now for sale, both as a paperback, a hardback, and on Kindle or Nook.

Today the thought of tomorrow is staggering. But on one hand, there is a memory that floated softly in into view as I prepared to call the analyst on Wednesday, a memory that I hadn’t thought of for fifty-seven years:

Mom and her mother, my grandmother, are busy unpacking my belongings in my dorm room at Morningside College. They are fussing that the room isn’t very nice while I’m thinking that it looks fine. My attention is focused on a strong sense of freedom that floats into my awareness. It’s the sense of freedom I’m going to feel once they leave me on campus. It will be wonderful to be alone.


It’s that type of strong freedom feeling I experience when I dial the analyst for our last Wednesday session. Eventually, I will recognize that my unconscious is assuring me that I am ready to stop these analytical sessions, the sessions I wrote about in my memoir.

At the same time I’m feeling this sense of freedom, another feeling sweeps over me and insists that the termination idea was all a mistake, that I am nowhere near ready to stop analytical sessions.

Freud coined the term ambivalence – feeling two opposing emotions about one thing – and I realize that I am feeling ambivalence about stopping analysis. I want to stop and I don’t want to stop.

After the Wednesday sesssion is over, I check my email and find the following message:

Dear Nicola,

“I hope you are well since we last spoke. I just wanted to follow up with you to let you know that your review for FEAR, FOLLY & FREUD was selected by our Indie Editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews November 1 Issue. Congratulations! Your review will appear as one of the 35 reviews in the Indie section of the magazine which is sent out to over 5,000 industry professionals (librarians, publishers, agents, etc.) Less than 10% of our Indie reviews are chosen for this, so it’s a great honor.

All the very best and congratulations,

Monique, Director of Advertising & Promotions, KIRKUS MEDIA LLC”

I’m thrilled with this news! No ambivalence here! What a bonus! Maybe this honor will help solidify a shift that’s beginning to happen in how I think about myself. I am a writer. Tomorrow I will be a writer that is no longer in psychoanalysis. I am in transition.


How do you manage ambivalence? Do you recognize when you feel it? Leave a comment or email me.

amazon.com/author/nicolamendenhall

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2 Responses

    • Diane – thanks for the congrats! And for the wise advice about doors opening and closing! I am excited too for all that will come!

      Take care of yourself and stay in touch!

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