In the name of love

Illustration by Noemi Honain

Long ago, knowing that I was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, a 70-year-old man came to me for advice to change his treatment. He had been taking Valium for many years and wanted to replace it with another anxiolytic. When I asked him why he wanted to change this medication he had been taking for a long time, he begged me not to ask him questions. At my insistence, he ends by telling me his story.

At 20, he fell in love with a woman who soon shared his love. It was an exceptional love that they lived intensely for a year. They just argued all the time, and it was hellish. On the advice of a doctor, a family friend, they went to a psychiatrist, who prescribed Valium for both of them. Then suddenly this woman disappears. Desperately searching for her, he learns that she has married a Frenchman and gone to live with him in France.

His wounded love was terrible, he didn’t sleep anymore, he didn’t eat anymore, he didn’t go out anymore. He had many suicidal thoughts, but with the help of those around him, he managed to survive. Since then, he has been living with his brother and his family, which gives him courage and a certain joy in life at the sight of his nephews and nieces.

Left alone and without news of this woman, he could no longer take Valium, which he believed represented their treatment for both of them and which should have allowed them to stop fighting and save their couple. He went back to a psychiatrist who instead gave him Tranxen, a drug he had been taking until 6 months ago. “Why do you want to change Valium?” “Because she’s back,” he replies. I confess that I lagged behind a little and asked him for clarification, and he then explained to me that he had changed his medicine “against her.” They were both prescribed Valium, just a little bit so they could keep their couple in place. Once alone, he no longer wanted this medicine, which no longer made sense. But she returned six months ago. ” So ” ? I asked him. “Her husband died, she returned to Beirut and tried to see me again. He was so happy that he did not rebuke her. She justified her departure fifty years ago by fear. Fear that their constant arguing will eventually improve their relationship. She did not want to continue to live this life after she got married. So she married this Frenchman who wanted to take her to France to avoid their relationship. And, as before, the arguments returned. As before, they went to a psychiatrist, who again prescribed Valium, which they both took. ” So what ” ? I asked him. “Our quarrels were so strong that she left me again. “That’s why you want to stop Valium…”

This 70 year old man has been in love with this woman for fifty years and his love has never wavered. And since he finds himself with her in the same position as before, and since nothing has changed, the disputes resume the upper hand, Valium, prescribed to both of them fifty years apart, has become a symbol of their love. And in response to her, he again wanted to stop her.

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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