Diets and Delusions

Drs. Francoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudilliere are discussing what  they have learned about psychoanalysis of psychosis at Austen Riggs, since their first visit in 1978.

So far, Francoise and Jean-Max are the only folks who can impart the wisdom of Lacan in a way that I can sorta kinda almost understand. 😉  Not even the people who put together the illustrated comic version of Lacan were able to help me!

In her talk tonight, Francoise discusses a client who warned her that she was “an old, fat schizophrenic–chronic!” and also told her that

“When I lose weight, I become delusional.”

I was struck by this comment because it echoed something I have heard before from other women with histories of mania and psychosis. This is a not uncommon refrain, that weight loss precipitates psychic breakdown. I wonder what this is about and if it is an experience exclusive to women. Is excess weight a means to concretize boundaries, to keep a vulnerable self safely hidden? Is it a way to promote distance from would-be psychic, physical and sexual predators? Does the shrinkage of one’s physical self trigger anxieties of being colonized, annihilated or disappeared? Or, does the threat of being desired (insofar as a thinner body is  a socially desired one) precipitate fears of being preyed upon?

All the more reason to enjoy the chocolate wrapped in red foil here tonight at the Red Lion Inn.

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