Heal your fall

With Ptoma. A shrink in free fall, launched this fall, and Phora. On my practice as a shrink (2019), Nicolas Lévesque, psychologist, psychiatrist, essayist and publisher, delivers fragments of stories drawn from his office while respecting the confidentiality of those who fall there (ptoma) to be worn (phora), like so many small windows open on what worries and breaks humans.

With the arrival of a second pandemic Christmas and the Omicron variant which invited itself to the party, The duty wanted to hear it on what is floating in the air.

“The shrinks are overwhelmed in general, but before and after the holidays, it’s something,” he announces straight away. What concerns their patients? Anticipation of reunion? And once the dust has settled, the need to pick up the broken pots and put the pieces back together?

“The holiday season is a time of intimacy. You return to your family, to your childhood, to the role you had before entering adulthood. And who says family says shrink. Some people are nervous at the idea of ​​seeing her again, so they come to see me in December to prepare for it, in January to debrief. There is also the idea of ​​the annual review. People feel the need to take stock, evaluate their choices and set new goals. “

The pandemic has helped clean up our relationships. Suddenly, we had a lot of time to wonder which ones we really wanted to maintain.

“True human proximity has triumphed over many obstacles and that fascinates me. On the other hand, those who had established less deep connections with others suffer from it. The pandemic has acted as an eye-opener. The couples and strong friendships held up. As for the most fragile, the pandemic has cracked them while also acting as a catalyst. “

The writer psychologist has seen a lot of breakups over the past year and a half. “They are more difficult than before: we can no longer flee in a kind of shattered sociality, and rents have increased. I find it hard for my patients who need to separate. You hang a smile in front of the children and you make the tree knowing that you are going to go away. It is rough. »

Recovered time

From the first pages of Ptoma, Nicolas Lévesque explains that the desire to write was imposed on him as an immune defense. “I did not write this book in a hurry, neither quickly nor by giving myself a precise framework. It is an eco-responsible book by its rhythm. He does not participate in our crazy world. […] I wanted to resist the speed, any form of pressure, ”he writes.

What emerges, in general, on reading his discussions with patients, is the need for them to reconnect with time spent outside of productivity requirements. This time which pressurizes us is not beneficial for us.

“The relationship to the world and to productivity that we have established only benefits those who get richer,” he notes. Many suffer from the imperatives of speed, overproduction and overactivity to which we are subjected. For several years, I have made the correlation between the exploitation of our human and natural resources.

“We get as much oil as we can from every human being. Holidays are fine, but we also have to ask ourselves the question in a more general way about the rhythm and the meaning of it all. We tell ourselves that we will foot the bill later, physically, emotionally and economically. But this way of life is not sustainable in the long term. “

Nicolas Lévesque is however optimistic: “Each time a human being is well, it has repercussions on others. I believe in a new model of human being who is freer, more humble and who embodies change. “

Repair the living

Among those who are not doing well and whose mental health has been severely damaged over the past year are young people. Already shaken by the decline caused by the adoption of health measures, they had to deal this fall with an increase in violence, threats and the presence of weapons in their schools, a place where psychological safety should be taken for granted. . How to take care of them? How can we help them get better?

“Despite their need to detach themselves from us, they still need to be reassured. Today’s society puts a lot of pressure on the private sphere. Parents have more responsibility than ever before to protect the emotional security of their children, observes the one who is also the father of two teenagers. Our young people need to feel that even though the world is going badly, they can continue to play. Before, it was mainly a question of ensuring their physical safety: do you eat three meals a day, does your father have a job? Now we are elsewhere: OK, your parents have a job, but are they anxious? Are they telling you that the world is okay? You cannot play when you are afraid, worried and vigilant. Part of the childhood and adolescence of our young people is robbed by anxiety. I have been practicing my profession for twenty years and I see it a lot more than before. “

Sitting in this boat taking on the water, can we still afford to party, celebrate Christmas and toast the coming New Year?

“The pandemic is not war, we are not in a dictatorship. We live in a Quebec that is doing as well as it is badly. We have the right to have the heart to the party, even if we are deprived of many things, worried about the environment, the performing arts, the rise in the price of rents… We have the right to have mixed and contradictory emotions. The reality is complex, sometimes violent, we cannot ignore the current issues. And human life is fragile. We had held it for a bit acquired, but at this moment, we are sensitive and attentive to this fragility. This is perhaps one of the best observations we can make. “

The wishes of Nicolas Lévesque

Ptoma A shrink in free fall

Nicolas Lévesque, Varia, Montreal, 2021, 186 pages

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