How I met my instinctual drives - Eros and Thanatus

Candan Esin MD

2 December 2009


Hi. My Name is Jane.

It is very hard for me to express what I feel and sense. I can not speak and do not know the words you use and concepts you define. I can only feel and sense the internal and external inputs and record it. As I can not describe these senses and feelings, I have to convert my feelings to your adult wordings. So sometimes I may use extremely specialised words, please do not criticise me, because I've choosen my future occupation will be in fact psychology counselling. So I decide to start my professional practice from the scratch.

Here, I am inside my mother's womb. I am about to born in forty days. Nowadays, my brain is not working properly, naturally, because it is in a process of development that will go until 30 years of my age. Of course if I survive that long. However my brainstem is capable to start learning, not consciously as we know of course, but reflexively¹.

So! Here, I am inside an extremely delightful environment; dark, warm as 37°C, silent -only some heartbeats and bowel movement voices, safe, nurturing and soft where my body is covered with a soft fluid.

Everything is marvellous except some pressure I feel coming from outside, that disturbs my comfort some times. Though I am familiar with these contractions around me from my fifth month of residency here. Thanks God, it is very rare, so I feel happy and relaxed when it is over. Anyhow my heart pounds a little more when this pressure occurs and lots of blood is rushing to my head, but I feel calm afterwards and every thing vanishes; i.e. sounds, sights and everything goes black and blank. Then the environment comes back and I feel very relaxed and refreshed. I can feel my body, my fingers in my mouth and the environment I am living in again and again, repetitively for every ten seconds6

It is funny how frequently this happens, losing my environment and finding it again. I enjoy this play so much that I can play it all my life and I thing it is "ME" who starts and controls this play2.

Hey! That dullness and darkness coming again. See you soon!


It is been around forty days or so since I reported you my last experiences. Now it is getting a little tension: I mean, contractions coming from the environment around my body became frequent. My head is stuck somewhere. I can not move freely as before and I can feel a hard thing covering my body.

Heeey! It squeezes me. I don't like it. My heart rate increases, my head is aching, my feet got stuck and so do my arms and my hands. I hardly sense the soft liquid around me. I really feel disturbed and angry. When I really feel angry to this contraction, it disappears. I think I can control to stop these contractions. However I do not start those contractions. If I could have controlled it; I wouldn't let it happen, because I do not like it. However it seems I have a kind of power to control on these disturbing environment².

For sometime, I have a kind of urge to leave here. It was lovely to be here, but these days those pressures disturb me so much. So I want to leave as possible as I can. Everywhere, except here should be an excellent environment. I am not happy! I can not control these pressures around me any more, it is really disturbing. Arrgh! It hurts.

My head got stuck and something is pushing me from my back and buttocks... The liquid around me suddenly disappeared. I can feel very well that hard thing covering my body. It contracts and pushes me to somewhere. It is good to leave because I can not stand it any more. It will be good to leave this disturbing environment behind, but this process is painful. It is a painful experience.

There is a circular pressure around my face. It was at my head top ew minutes ago but now it is around my head.

Hey, what? No! my eyes are aching. Light disturbs me. Oh my! Am I going to suffer from migraine later on?  What a noisy place!!

Hey! Don't pull me that hard, I am little, very very little. Something is squeezing my throat. Oh! I hope I do not came up with an asthma later! Asthma... Migraine? What? What am I talking about. I should focus to escape from this, I have to force myself to relieve from this distress.

Auch! who did smack me from by buttock? It hurts my lungs. What is it, you name it "air"? Stupid. Breathing, why? What? I did not breath inside. If I did, I didn't recognised. There were some fluid motion coming inside my lungs and it was not causing pain. That thing you call "air" is cold and my environment is cold, noisy and very very bright. It scares me. I feel vulnerable. Aaaaargh! I protest!

Hey you! I warn you! Do not do that again! I mean it. Don't push that tube into my mouth, my nose and my throat.  

Who ever you are... Your touch disturbs me, I am not familiar with that. I was inside a soft liquid, but now you covered me with something that I hate, you call it "soft cloth"? What makes you think that it is soft? You should have seen the softness of the place where I was coming! Oh my God! Something bites me from my heel. Just below my heel. Ok! You bite but why do you squeeze? You torturer!...

Brrr! this liquid is cold. She touch my entire body with this liquid. I shiver, and I want to go back!

YES! I want to go back there, where I was. I deluded myself. I thought  every place except that squeezing dark place should be excellent. But it is not. I don't like being here. I am being tortured, it is like death5. I am ashamed of my thoughts and wishes. I want to be back. Being back could help me to relive from this shame on myself. How stupid I was. I fooled myself. I am ashamed of my thoughts. That dark place was comfortable. I want to go back there.

I don't like this kind of environment. What, is it called "life"?. No! It should be called something else. I hate this kind of life. I just want the opposite. What "death"? Ok! If I was dead there, the place where I was comfortable, I want to go to death (thanatus). This death I experience now, is no better than the death before. I prefer being dead inside. Not outside.

I got  pissed to myself (masochism), because I complained too much and wanted to leave, I mean flight . Shame on myself. Shame of my endless desires. I am also got pissed to person who pushed me outside that comfortable dark place (sadism), I could not fight that guy. Not only pissed, I am very, totally angry to myself and to that person. I am scared to death. Staying here, looking around in vain, all alone, tortured, depressed and angry.

Wait a minute! What is that. What makes my mouth got wet (saliva starts). There is a dark round thing ahead (nipple). I can not see clearly. But it attracts my attention. I want to reach it and put that dark round thing into my mouth. What is this smell. Mmmmh! It smells marvellous. Hey I want that. I have to reach it. Oh! My muscles are not strong enough. I am tired already. Hey! Try a little bit more. Ok! You are really near. Ok! Grasp it, take it into your mouth and yesss! Suck it.

A soft thing wraps around me, my back (mother holds naked newborn from her back). Hey, I feel strange. A kind of heat, tingling like sensation coming from my stomach. Oooo! There is another liquid in my mouth. My head is rolling and searching around that soft rounded thing. I feel the soft thing under my hands. I grab it again. Hey I found something with my mouth. Let me suck it. Oh my good God! It smells strange and the taste no good. But I enjoy this action.

Mmm! Something is pouring to my mouth, soft, warm. When I swallow it feels good. There I see a parallel line, below is a light color area, just above is dark color (forehead and hair line of mother). It is blurred. I can not see clearly but I can got the image of this comforting liquid. That dark and light, moving thing  and those two dark areas (eyes of mother) are mine. Also this excellent liquid I suck is mine. Hey! I am GOD.

There are sounds around me. Hey I know some of it. The heart beat I heard inside that comfortable place. The other sound comes familiar. But it is rather sharp and loud than before (mother). There is another voice somehow in dark loudness. It comes familiar also (father, doctor). The dark and light areas are different than before. The two round things are different also. This has nothing to that liquid I suck, this vision do not correlate to anything. Yes that dark voice left. Hey another voice and another vision. Does this one has relation with the liquid, no this is only producing funny voices and moving fast (nurse). Ok! Let's concentrate on the one related with the liquid (milk).

 Oh! I am warm again at last. That thing happens again. That blackness and dullness. Everything is vanishing again. Hey, bravo! I controlled it again, like I did in that dark comfortable place (the womb). Bravo, bravo  to me! I did it again. I controlled that pain to stop. This is very lovely. The sensation coming all around my body I name it "excitement".  And the energy and dullness inside my head is fascinating4. Let me call it "lust". I did it by sucking that round thing (nipple) and that liquid (milk). I seee! Hmm, they are valuable tools. I will never forget that. All my life. Nipple and milk... I Love them. They all give me excitement.

Aaaaaargh! I feel relaxed now, tired and calm, I will name this feeling a little later. Wait  that darkness is coming, Alright! I find it, I prefer the word "sleep", for this... After this I hope I will be refreshed again later. Mmmmm...

Oops, wait a minute!. Before leaving myself to that darkness again.., Ok! I love that, the experience of being hold and sucking that pretty liquid. It made me feel safe and nurtured. What should I call this? "Life" (Eros) yes, this time I love life. I give up that death. I changed my mind. Life is better that death. I changed my mind. I will not go back there. There is death inside that dark place. It was not lovely. I hate it. Whenever I feel that death again I will cry to control and regain this joyful situation - life- again. Hey let's give this thing a name. That fountain, source of nipple and milk helps me control death. Mammary. Ok! Let's not be rude lets call it "breast". So breast is equal to life. Other than that is death4.

Oh! Last words before leaving to that darkness, I want to present my first finding about this new experience outside that dark place (womb); the opposite of anger to my self (masochism) is "excitement", and the opposite of my anger (sadism) to that person who holds breast is "lust". Excitement helped my relief myself from masochism and lust relieved me from sadism. After that relif, I became relaxed, sleepy and calm. I am honored to call this and ask it to be named after me as "orgasm". Ok? Get it everybody?


Good morning. The first thing I remembered was that lovely experience, and I want to try it again. But nobody there. I have to warn that beasts to produce milk. I want that Eros again. Don't let that thanatus to come again. It iscoming, masochism. I feel something in mybody (hunger). Yes, I am getting angry and mad again (sadism). Nooooow! Aaaaaaaaargh! Ngaaaa!

Hmmm. Yes... In my mouth again. Lets see... "Ngaaa" is equal to breast and milk. Good to learn.

Breast, milk and cuddling, touching give me erotic impulses and agitation. Excitement is a bodily sensual joyful inputs. Lust is thoughtful and emotional stimulation inside my brain. These are two representations of Eros. However right now I can not distinguish them from each other, they together wrap and clear masochistic and sadistic drives coming from inside me (two representations of thanatus).

Good one for me. Lust and excitement together erased my shame. That breast, that eyes and voice together with my mouth erased my delusion and shame. Therefore I can feel excitement and lust through my mouth and my lips and my eyes and my ears and through all my body. If I can use my lips and my mouth, my body, my ears; I can feel Eros and thus reach to calmness. If I can use my mouth and my lips I can release thanatus. Wov! Too many discoveries for the first 15 minutes.

Now this is the end of my presentation. Sorry I repeated same thing in different ways but I wanted to be clear. At least, I am new with those words and the sensible memories attached to those experiences. The words of sure will come later but at the moment it is said that I can use my right brain more until the time I can understand that word "time".

I think I will continue life in gratitude!3. Until then... Aaaagh! Mmmmm... Zzzzzz!...

References (Some references are the books translated to Turkish. So for your convenience I wrote the original publisher and title)

  1. 1."...Thus fetal cognitive motor activity, including auditory discrimination, orienting, the wake–sleep cycle, FHRs, and defensive reactions, appear to be under the reflexive control of the brainstem, which also appears capable of learning-related activity..." Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. Fetal brain & cognitive development. Developmental Review, 20, 81-98, 1999. 

  2. 2.Part III, about repetition compulsion. Sigmund Freud. Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920. 

  3. 3.Melanie Klein, Love, Guilt and Reparation. New York: Delacorte, 1975 

  4. 4.Part IV "Two Types of Drives". Sigmund Freud, Das Ich und das Es. Imago Publishing, London; 1940 

  5. 5.The Trauma of Birth. Otto Rank. Published by Robert Brunner, NY, 1952 

  6. 6.The Present Moment in psychotherapy and everyday life. Stern DN. 2004. WW & Norton Co.New York.