Letter from Lombardy
by Pina Antinucci
March 17, 2020
Hello, everyone, I am writing from Lombardy, and the picture I have is of frightened young people who are impatient to get rid of the obstacles to their self-created lives, because they are afraid of becoming helpless vis-à-vis fears and anxieties that cannot be contained.
I am aware of the sudden takeover of an uncanny stranger that has come to dispossess every one of our familiar routines and objects, to inhabit our external and internal world, including our dream space. This is a psychotic functioning that is partially silenced by obsessive practices like hand washing. The young, who often present this mode of functioning, are terrified of a psychotic destructuring; hence, they disavow their fears, evacuating them into us. Our containing capacity is inevitably diminished by our fear, distress, helplessness, and the sheer exhaustion of daily tasks, like shopping, for instance. The queues outside supermarkets now elicit in me “supermarket anxiety.” Nothing is simple or reliable or can be taken for granted. It is a major shock.
Keep well, everyone,
Giuseppina Antinucci is a fellow of the BPAS, where she teaches. She has a private practice in Milan and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.
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