Alexandra asked me why I had found it so difficult to decide between the two ties.
"I thought, if I wore the plain dark blue one you would take it as a sign that I was depressed, or rather as a sign that I was giving in to my depression, instead of fighting it. But when I put on the bright one, I thought you would take it as a sign that I'd got over my depression, but I havent. It seemed to me that whichever tie I wore would be a kind of lie." Alexandra smiled, and I experienced that deceptive lift of the spirits that often comes in therapy when you give a neat answer, like a clever kid in school.
"You could have dispensed with a tie altogether."
"I considered that. But I always wear a tie to these sessions. It's an old habit. It's how I was brought up: always dress properly when you're going to the doctor's. If Ii suddenly stopped wearing a tie you might think it signified something - disrespect, dissactisfaction - and I'm not dissactisfied. Well, only with myself."