Pat Freestone

Pat Freestone : Shock Therapy






September 5, 2003

After six hours of slogging through the mountain of links my Google search yielded, I finally came across the perfect therapist. I feel like I just got picked up hitch-hiking on the road to recovery.

Dr Amy Zimmerman is a Harvard-educated psychologist who has been practicing for sixteen years. She specializes in self-esteem and intimacy issues, and has helped thousands of people move out of dysfunctional relationships and into healthy, caring ones. After speaking to Dr. Amy on the phone for a mere three minutes, I was ready to give her all my money and confide in her in great detail about how I sometimes like to touch myself while Iím watching documentaries about penguins. Sheís that good.

The only problem is, her office is in Pasadena, California.

I figure if I leave my apartment by 8 am every Tuesday and Thursday, I can make my 1 pm sessions and still have time for a nice hamburger before catching the 3:30 flight back to New York. Iíll start working weekends so I can get Tuesdays and Thursdays off at Big Screen, or Iíll just tell my boss I have an all-day dental appointment twice a week for the next 18-48 months. Sure, Iíll be spending twenty hours a week in the air, but after hearing the insight, experience and calm professionalism in Dr. Amy voice, I just knew she was the one who could help me. Plus, she takes Discover.

I feel better already.

Pat Freestone

EMAIL PAT FREESTONE

September 8, 2003

Tomorrow, I leave the old Pat Freestone behind, and head off to Pasadena to find a brand new me.

I have so many questions for Dr. Amy. Why do I have these feelings of insecurity that have plagued me since childhood? How do I overcome my paralyzing fear of intimacy? And, where do I get my parking stub validated?

I hope she does that thing where she tells me to close my eyes and then fall backwards into her arms to show that I trust her. That, or ink blots. Iíve always been good with the ink blots.

California, here I come.

Pat Freestone


September 9, 2003

Iím all packed and ready for my journey towards mental health. By the time you read this, dear and valued web visitors, I will be wrapped in a blue blanket, and sawing away at a tiny piece of chicken with a plastic knife, at approximately 35,000 feet.

Or, maybe I will be sipping a miniature bottle of liquor and watching Joe Dirt as I try not to rub up against the business traveler seated next to me. He will politely refuse to use the armrest between us, as will I, and thus, the armrest will go unused as we wage our unspoken battle of wills for the entire flight.

Or, perhaps a wild goose will set sucked into engine #3 in mid-flight, causing a piece of the turbine blade to snap off and sever the hydraulic lines, thus rendering the aircraftís entire left side inoperable. The cockpit crew will fight valiantly to bring the wounded plane down in an emergency landing, but without use of the left flaps, it will be like trying to parallel park an angry, one-eyed Brontosaurus. The plane will hit the runway--assuming we even make it to a runway--at a 30 degree angle, causing the entire fuselage to snap in half as the starboard struts give way and sparks from the shearing metal ignite the ruptured fuel lines. The wreckage, still travelling at over 120 miles per hour, will then erupt in a ball of flame as the last breath of desperate hope silently wafts out of the air traffic control tower, and all 241 aboard are instantly vaporized.

Oh, god...did I remember to pack my Vickís Vapor Rub?

Iíd better check,

Pat Freestone


September 10, 2003

By the time I got off the plane and made my way out of Burbank airport, I was practically out of my mind from the trauma of recent events. I couldnít wait to sit down with Dr. Amy and discuss the things that are bothering me. I guess you could call them my "issues."

For one, why do airline passengers bring such ridiculously large carry-on bags, and then act surprised when there isnít room for them? Arenít they aware of the free baggage-check service available? "Did you really need to bring your sofa with you on the plane, maíam?" Iíve seen Sherpas on nine-months Everest expeditions with less bulk in their knapsacks.

And hereís another thing that irks me something fierce: passengers who show up at the airport a half-hour before their scheduled departure. I think the airlines should get tough with these morons, rather than go out of their way to corral their clueless hides onto the plane.
"Aw, sorry, dude! You totally remembered to bring your walkman and totally remembered to discreetly tape your personal-consumption weed to the inside of your underwear, but you totally forgot the one to two hours we need to screen you and these other 15, 000 people. Take a seat."
"Damn, kid! Youíre hella late Ďní shit, so the plane just gonna straight bounce up out this mufukah without you, dog. Better call Momz and tell her your shit is delayed, for real, knowamsayin? Yo, check it out--why donít you kick it at the MuffinStuff for a minute and then catch the nine nickel-deuce?"
"Yes, Mr. Executive, we know you had a late meeting and had trouble getting a car service during rush houróthatís why we have all these seats here in the airport where you can sit down, relax, and wait for the next flight Ďcause yours is full of people who donít want to wait around for your pinstriped ass."

And finally, why do people complain about the quality of airline food? "The chicken is so salty!" "These vegetables are like mush." "This is supposed to be lasagna?" What the cock-fucking hell is wrong with you people? You are sailing through the air in a giant metal bird! Do you have any idea how spectacularly fucking fantastic that is? You are enjoying the miracle of flight at a staggering 600 miles per hour, enabling you to traverse the entire continental United States in less than six hours, and you arenít pleased with the hot food that is being served right in your lap?! Tell you whatónext time, just drive across the country! Or better yet, have Mommie make you a trimmed-crust PB & J, YOU MISERABLY SPOILED, HIGH-FUCKING-MAINTENANCE, BLUE-BLOODED BABY-WHINING FIDGETY LITTLE COOZE-FUCK! EAT THE FUCKING SALISBURY STEAK! FUCKING EAT IT! EAT IT! AAAAAGGGGGK!

Dr. Amy and I are going to work on all that.

Pat Freestone


September 11, 2003

Iím back at work today, a little tired and a little jet-lagged, but otherwise fit for duty. Iím trying to take Dr. Amyís advice on controlling my anger and applying it to everyday situations.

For example, I noticed that Ruth did not change the journal tape in the register yesterday. Normally, this would cause me to feel an immediate stabbing sensation in my neck, followed by a dull rage that spreads down my spine and into my stomach and lasts the entire day. But today, I let the rage express itself in the form of me going out behind the store to Ruthís car and smashing out her back window with a cinder block. Talk about a stress reliever!

Iíve also found a new way to deal with the uncontrollable fury that explodes inside my head whenever someone brings back a VHS cassette that is not rewound. I used to slam the tape in the special rewinding machine, curse the customerís name two to three hundred times, and then debate in my head all day long whether or not to charge their account the $1.50 fee, knowing that they will complain about it the next time they come in. So starting today, I just put the tapes right back on the shelf, rewound or not. Let some other sucker fiddle with it. I am no longer an enabler.

Then, thereís the urge to kill that sweeps over me every time someone rents a Michael Douglas movie. I donít think that will ever change.

But so far so good!

Your friend,

Pat Freestone


September 12, 2003

Iíve successfully completed my first week of therapy, and aside from the $1,751 it cost me to get back and forth to my therapistís office in Pasadena, I feel like Iíve really made some progress.

I realize that I have much to learn about how the human mind works. Thereís the ego and the id, and nature versus nurture, and the cognitive development as a function of intelligence. Plus, youíve got the whole penis thing going on.

But the one lesson Iíve already learned is that a person cannot change unless they really want to. That, and the fact that Prozac does not give you a buzz. None.

Oh well,

Pat Freestone


September 15, 2003

Itís time for you, my special friends, to get a glimpse inside my head with an excerpt from

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #1 - 9/9/03 Ė 2:38 PM

DR. AMY : Alright, Pat. Letís get out of the baggage claim area for a moment and go back to something we spoke about on the phone. The woman you were recently involved with? Tell me her name.

PAT : Susan. Susan Floozecrotch the Horrible Gonorrhea Troll.

DR. AMY: Okay. So youíre feeling some hostility towards this woman?

PAT: You lost me.

DR. AMY: Alrightóletís just call her Susan.

PAT: Thatís what I said.

DR. AMY: Okay. Now, on the phone, you told me that you and Susan had a rather uniqueófrankly, bizarreósex life. She would give you large doses of sedatives and erectile enhancers and then make love to you while you slept?

PAT: That is correct.

DR. AMY: And you were comfortable with that?

PAT: Pretty much. Unless my head got crammed into a weird angle, then I would wake up with a stiff neck, but usually, Iíd pretty muchó

DR. AMY: What I mean is, this was the way you preferred to share sexual intimacy with Susan?

PAT: It was the only way.

DR. AMY: Iím afraid thatís not what I would call a healthy sex life.

PAT: Tell me about it. I feel like Iíve been peeing lava for the last two weeks.

DR. AMY: Why donít we take a little break, Pat?

PAT: Amen.


Tomorrow: Part II of

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

Pat Freestone


September 16, 2003

And now, as promised, more tales from the couch with

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #1 - 9/9/03 Ė 2:55 PM

DR. AMY : Again, Pat, Iím not a dermatologist, so Iím just not qualified to speculate on what exactly that may be.

PAT : It itches like you donít know what. Do you have one of those back-scratcher things, or maybe a wire brush? Maybe I stepped in poison oak around here somewhere. Is there poison oak around here somewhere?

DR. AMY: Iíll go ahead and give you the name of a physician you can call before you leave today. You can make an appointment to have your foot looked at...thereís really nothing I can do for you in that area.

PAT: Iím afraid to put my shoes back on. Do you think itís the shoes?

DR. AMY: Patóthatís okay, Pat. Just leave the shoes off for now. But letís get back to what we were talking about earlier. You mentioned that your mother left when you were young. Pat?

PAT: Oh, yes. Yes, she did.

DR. AMY: Tell me about that.

PAT: Well, she went ice fishing in Alaska, as she often did, but then she didnít come back for weeks and weeks, so I just assumed she had been killed by a polar bear.

DR. AMY: What made you think that?

PAT: Because I didnít think a penguin could take her in a straight fight.

DR. AMY: What I mean is, you didnít consider the possibility that her leaving was deliberate?

PAT: I mean, maybe an elephant seal, but I just always pictured, you know, a big white polar bear with giant claws and--

DR. AMY: Pat, did you think your mother abandoned you on purpose? Pat?

PAT: Oh my god, look!

DR. AMY: Whatówhat is it?

PAT: Out the window! Look! I think itís Bigfoot!

DR. AMY: What are you talking about? I donít see any...Pat? Pat? (long pause) PatóI can see you behind the couch.

PAT: Thatís not me.
To be continued...

Pat Freestone


September 17, 2003

Today we go still deeper inside me with

Pat Freestone's True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #2 - 9/11/03 - 1:12 PM

PAT : I guess sometimes I feel like I'm just destined to be alone. For as long as I can remember, I've had to rely on myself to survive, and...what are you writing there?

DR. AMY: I'm just taking notes.

PAT: What kind of notes?

DR. AMY: Notes to help me help you. Please, continue.

PAT: Can I see?

DR. AMY: I'm afraid the notes are just for me. And there's nothing here besides what you're telling me--I'm just outlining the things that you say for future reference.

PAT: I was just asking, because usually when you see a psychiatrist taking notes, you think they're writing down something important, but then when you see the notepad, it's just doodles, or the word "nutso" written in big letters and underlined five or six times. Or maybe a silly drawing of the patient with an arrow pointing at their head with a little sign that says "crazy."

DR. AMY: I've seen that in movies and on television, but I don't think it happens in real life...I can assure you it never happens in this office.

PAT: Yeah, but still.

DR. AMY: Alright, Pat. If it will put you at ease, you can look at my notes. But then, I'd like to get back to what you were saying about feeling alone.

PAT: You have beautiful handwriting. Elegant.

DR. AMY: Thank you. Now do you see anything there besides what you've been telling me?

PAT: Wait--where are the notes on the story I told you about the time I got stuck in the sandbox when I was five?

DR. AMY: I don't take notes on everything--mostly just on certain key points...

PAT: Me getting trapped in a sandbox is not a key point? I was traumatized! They had to call the fire department to get me out. To this day, I can't go to the beach without breaking into a cold sweat.

DR. AMY: This is not productive, Pat. I think we need to move on.

PAT: Totally ignored the sandbox!
Next time... Part IV!

Pat Freestone


September 18, 2003

Glad you could make it for more of

Pat Freestone's True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #2 - 9/11/03 - 2:55 PM

PAT : I want the same things out of life that every man does, I guess.

DR. AMY: A wife, kids, career, a nice house...those sort of things?

PAT: Exactly. Except for the wife. And the kids. And career isn't really that important to me. But a nice house, that would be pretty sweet.

DR. AMY: But no family? No children?

PAT: Let me tell you something about children. Children are wonderful. Children are amazing. But then children turn into teenagers.

DR. AMY: What about when you're old? Don't you want someone to be there for you when you're old?

PAT: Of course. And I want that person to be an attractive mute with a nursing degree and a giant syringe full of morphine.

DR. AMY: These are all very interesting revelations from someone who claims to feel alone in this world.

PAT: So you're saying I'm interesting, eh?.

DR. AMY: Whoa--time's up.

PAT: Damn you're good!

Tomorrow... Part V!

Pat Freestone


September 19, 2003

The healing continues here at

Pat Freestone's True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #3 - 9/16/03 - 1:38 PM

PAT : It was very real. Not a recurring dream, mind you. I just had it once. But it was the kind that really sticks with you.

DR. AMY: Describe it for me.

PAT: Okay. It was late at night, and I was lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. It was a nice neighborhood, but I was sort of scared because I didn't know where I was.

DR. AMY: Go on.

PAT: And I felt tired, like I needed to rest for a moment. So I found this big field of soft grass and lied down in it. I remember it felt wonderful.

DR. AMY: Was that all?

PAT: No. I was lying there, and then all of a sudden in the moonlight, I saw this little Gnome standing there. And he was smiling at me, like he wanted to tell me something. So I got up and walked over to him. But before I could get to him, this giant 50-foot snake wrapped itself around my ankle. I screamed. The more I tried to get away, the more this big, bright green snake wrapped it's cold rubbery body around me. It was choking me.

DR. AMY: Well, there are some powerful symbols at work here. The snake, the unfamiliar place...

PAT: But then, this very large bald man--I think maybe it was supposed to be my father, but it didn't look anything like him--was standing over me in a bathrobe, yelling at me. And that was the end, I think.

DR. AMY: Okay, let's break the dream down into its emotional components.

PAT: Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't a dream. That was the time I took all that acid when I was 15 and got tangled up in the garden hose in Mr. Johnson's yard. Boy, don't I feel foolish!

Until next time,

Pat Freestone


September 22, 2003

Weíre going totally mental with more of

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #4 - 9/18/03 Ė 1:40PM

PAT: I suppose my childhood was pretty typical. The normal stuff--you know--physical abuse, alcoholism, sexual molestation, neglect, gender confusion...but my most traumatic childhood memories have to do with a certain bully named Kevin Watkins.

DR. AMY: From school?

PAT: From the neighborhood. He used to sit on this fence down the street and hack loogies on us when we were walking home from school. Sometimes he would punch us, or throw our shoes up on a roof. One time he made me eat a whole pack of firecrackers.

DR. AMY: Why didnít you tell your parents about this bully?

PAT: I was afraid if I told my father, heíd try to teach me boxing. It just sounded like another chance for my father to be utterly disappointed in me.

DR. AMY: Why do you think this boy was so abusive towards the other kids?

PAT: Well, we found out later on that Kevinís dad was in prison for killing his mother-in-law, and Kevinís mom went crazy, so Kevin lived with his aunt who never made him go to school.

DR. AMY: Did you ever try to talk to him, or make friends with him?

PAT: No, because one day he just stopped being a bully. I remember that day very clearly. We picked him up on out shoulders and carried him around the neighborhood cheering. I remember feeling that if Kevin Watkins was no longer my enemy, then anything was possible.

DR. AMY: He just suddenly decided to stop being a bully?

PAT: No, he got run over and killed by a hit-and-run.

See you tomorrow,

Pat Freestone


September 23, 2003

Welcome back to

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #4 - 9/18/03 Ė 2:06 PM

PAT: Career-wise, thatís just the way I am. I take my work very seriously. I hate it, and I have no idea why I continue to do it, but I take it very seriously.

DR. AMY: A good work ethic is certainly a dying art.

PAT: Tell me about it. Now generally, I hate most of my customers at Big Screen Video, and I often find myself drifting off into various fantasies where I am feeding them to lions or roasting them on a giant rotisserie, or what have you, but Iíll be damned if Iím going to let my personal feelings affect the quality of my customer service.

DR. AMY: Do you find that creates stress in your life?

PAT: Not really. But what causes me a great deal of stress is when I am the customer, and I find myself at the mercy of some slack-jawed teenage clerk who canít even spell the word Ďservice,í let alone provide it..

DR. AMY: Thatís a common complaint.

PAT: Like the other day, I decided to hang a picture of my mother in the living room, but realized I didnít have any tools. So I went to the local home improvement mega-store, and one thing led to another, and pretty soon I had a cart full of merchandise. I wait in line for forty-five minutes while "Regina," the gum-snapping project princess, finally gets to me. She doesnít look me in the eye, or say hello, or smile, or even acknowledge that I am a human being with a beating heart. The total comes to a thousand dollars and change. She takes my Discover card, swipes it through the register, and then throws it back at me, along with a pen and my sales slip. I sign, and without a word, she moves on to the next customer before I have even given her back her pen.

DR. AMY: Unfortunately, thatís just the kind of service you expect these days with the big retail chains.

PAT: And I take a few steps, and then I remembered what you said about giving my needs a voice, so I turned around and said, "look here, miss. I just spent over a thousand dollars in your store. The very least you could do is say Ďthank youí."

DR. AMY: And how did she react?

PAT: Well, she still didnít make eye contact, but she let me know that the Ďthank youí was printed at the bottom of my receipt.

DR. AMY: Whoa.

PAT: Yeah. But the jokes on heróbecause what she didnít figure out was that I had $80 worth of D-batteries stuffed down my pants. Thank you, Regina!


Next time...more of the same!

Pat Freestone


September 24, 2003

Iím crazy for cryiní and Iím crazy for tryiní here at

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #5 - 9/23/03 Ė 1:15 PM

PAT: Itís driving me insane. I canít get it out of my head.

DR. AMY: How long has this been going on?

PAT: Since yesterday. I donít know why. I woke up, and just heard this little chorus somewhere inside my head, and it sang, "the best part of wak-ing up/ is Fol-gerís in your cup!"

DR. AMY: Well, commercial jingles are designed to be catchy. Thatís what the advertisers want.

PAT: The best part of wak-ing up/ is Fol-gerís in your cup!

DR. AMY: You might want to try listening to some music. I find that helps me when Iíve got a jingle stuck in my head.

PAT: Do you have The Scorpions?

DR. AMY: I meant after the session. Try putting on some music later, after the session. Right now, Iíd like to get back to what we were talking about last time. Have you been able to express your anger in a healthy way this week?

PAT: Here I am! Rock you like a hur-ri-cane!


Pat Freestone


September 25, 2003

My frequent flyer miles have almost earned me a free trip to Singapore here at

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #5 - 9/23/03 Ė 2:58 PM

DR. AMY: We're just about out of time today, and I need to mention that there was a problem with your Discover card last time.

PAT: Yes, itís a little bent from when I used it to jimmy open the mini bar at the hotel. You just have to swipe it really slow, and kind of press down on it.

DR. AMY: Actually, we have your account number in the system alreadyóIím afraid itís the account itself.

PAT: What are you talking about?

DR. AMY: The charge was declined.

PAT: What? Those bastards!

DR. AMY: Maybe you missed a payment?

PAT: This is how they treat meóa Discover cardmember since 1989? This is the thanks I get? Well, theyíre going to be getting a nasty letter from me. Oh, you betcha! I just sent them $25 in April! Do you take Diners Club?

DR. AMY: Iím afraid not.

PAT: Alright, Iíll just pay cash, if thatís alright.

DR. AMY: Thatís fine.

PAT: Do I tip you?

DR. AMY: No, Pat. Itís one-fifty for last session and one-fifty for today. Three hundred dollars. Whatóuh, why are you getting undressed? Pat, please donít do that.

PAT: This will just take a second. I just need to access my money thong.

Pat Freestone


September 26, 2003

And now, the exciting conclusion of

Pat Freestoneís True Psychiatric Transcriptions

THERAPY SESSION #6 - 9/25/03 Ė 1:01 PM

PAT: Before we start today, I just want to mention that I feel incredibly lucky to have found someone like you. I must admit to feeling quite skeptical about sitting down with a stranger and paying them to listen to my problems...but youíve really given me a new way of looking at myself, and a whole new strategy for dealing with the negative patterns in my life. Iíve never felt happier. And I just wanted to say thanks.

DR. AMY: Youíre welcome. Iím glad you feel like our sessions have been helpful. Would you like a tissue?

PAT: Sorry, I just got a little choked up.

DR. AMY: Itís okay. Why donít we spend today trying to get into the roots of some of these raw emotions. You know, the mood swings...

PAT: Youíre fired.

See you Monday!

Pat Freestone