"Can I help?" Kim said in the local coffee shop on Lupus Street at about 9.10 a.m. this morning, responding humanly to my brief account - outpouring - of the low I have been in for some days - a low a long way down, four days, five, horizontal on my bed, doing nothing, just lying there - in fear of my imminent planned move to France (Toulouse area). I am up now today, at least, coffee outside, Kim's company.
We have known one another in a hello, coffee-shop, way a year now maybe even two. Recently, we had our first proper conversation, about Kim's work, my plans to move to France, this and that. So this morning she asked about how my French plans were going, to be met by my black flow, met by her concern.
What would help, I dared to explain, was if she would allow me to take a photo of her and use it to illustrate something short for my blog, that had been forming in my head. I would send her the link. Kim kindly agreed. Writing helped, I said, and having a nice photo to go with the paragraphs can help to write them.
Kim told me how remarkably her 86 year-old mother's life has been changed for the better, after years of isolation and difficulty living, by her moving from up north (I didn't catch where exactly) first, temporarily, to Kim's home and then to a supported living environment just around the corner from Kim. "She is well, she is enjoying things". Kim has been heavily involved in looking after her mother for a long time. The life instinct, she says, is amazing, how it has got her mother through all those years.
What I had wanted to name here, before the chance meeting with Kim, was its opposite, the death instinct, what Freud called in his later writings, when he got interested in it, Thanatos, name it as a thing holding me down in bed even yesterday when I was somewhat better. I am glad that Kim got the life instinct in first. It is there - Thanatos, I mean - bobbing around all over the place; I got l involved in it some years ago when writing my thesis which focused on the intellectual relationship between two men who worked together, between whom it - Thanatos, I mean - appeared to get seriously out of hand, and in writing about them, it got out of hand in me. Burying it, saying it is not there, hours, reams of hours, year-hours of cognitive-behavioural therapy activity attempting to rationally think it away - Thanatos, I still mean - doing yoga, running, swimming, 'getting on with my life', is it a step to name it and to say it was in my bed yesterday holding me down? The question what it is, well, I need to get on with my day, can I leave that for another day, and thank Kim for mentioning her mother, the life instinct, and her offer of help? Snap!