Monday, July 10, 2006

The Chicken and the Nest Egg.

Today I had an appointment with a psychiatrist. A few months ago, my mother insisted that I get "professional help." I told her that I had no money for professional help. Or rent. So, in order to cover my expenses, she's borrowed against the value of her relatively modest 401(k) to support me for the time being, while I look for a job and a way to be reasonably self-sufficient. She pays all the bills directly. I am not sure what my parents' finances are like these days, and I believe that they might lie about them so as to not make me feel guilty about having milked them dry. "My money's on you, kid," she says, repeatedly. But at this point it's hard not to classify her generosity as little more than a crying call.

At any rate, the doctor seemed relatively disinterested, or at least not exactly probing in her questioning. She knows, for instance, that I am depressed. Somehow I neglected to mention the whole 'I am a gambling addict' thing to her during our time and she did not come close to getting it out of me. It turns out not to be an easy thing to own up to, face-to-face, in a room with someone who would probably respect you well enough but for the thing you're about to tell them. Anyone can be glib and matter-of-fact in front a computer screen. When you're sitting across from someone, it's considerably more difficult to spill the beans. (The same principle might be why the online poker games I've played in are often studies in naked aggression, if not downright recklessness. In a brick and mortar cardroom, social pressures and personal inhibitions are more apt to come to the fore and keep people from going completely nuts the way they do online.)

Poker digressions aside, my hour or so of talking about my problems without talking about gambling also got me thinking: Did the gambling cause the depression? Or is it merely a symptom? Or is it even possible to think of these things so simplistically?

Enough rhetorical questions for today. I have to go to Kinko's to print updated copies of my resume. It's always a tough decision about how to account for the law school years. If I mention them, I create all kinds of room for awkward follow-up questions. If I don't, I forfeit a golden opportunity -- perhaps my only opportunity -- to favorably impress a prospective employer.


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