"Mademoiselle Albertine has gone!" How much further does anguish penetrate in psychology than psychology itself! A moment before, in the process of analysing myself, I had believed that this separation without having seen each other again was precisely what I wished, and, comparing the mediocrity of the pleasures that Albertine afforded me with the richness of the desires which she prevented me from realising (and which the certainty of her presence in my home, as it were the pressure of my mental atmosphere, allowed to occupy the foreground of my feelings, but which at the news of Albertine's departure could no longer even begin to compete with her, for they had vanished instantaneously), I had felt that I was being subtle, had concluded that I no longer wished to see her, that I no longer loved her. But now these words" "Mademoiselle Albertine has gone," had produced in my heart an anguish such that I felt I could not endure it much longer; I must put an end to it at once; tender towards myself as my mother had been towards my dying grandmother, I said to myself with that genuine wish that one has to relieve the suffering of a person one loves: "Be patient for a moment, we shall find something to take the pain away, don't fret, we're not going to allow you to suffer like this." And, vaguely surmising that if just now, before I had yet rung the bell, Albertine's departure had appeared to me to be a matter of indifference, even something desirable, it was because I had thought it impossible, it was in this category of ideas that my instinct of self-preservation sought for the first sedatives to lay upon my open wound: "None of this is of the slightest importance, because I'm going to bring her back at once. I shall have to think how, but in any case she will be here this evening. Therefore it's useless to torment myself." "None of this is of the slightest importance" - I had not been content merely with giving myself this assurance, but had tried to convey the same impression to Francoise by not allowing her to see my suffering, because, even at the moment when I was feeling it so acutely, my love did not forget how important it was that it should appear a happy love, a mutual love, especially in the eyes of Francoise, who disliked Albertine and had always doubted her sincerity.
Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, pp. 425-426
"Mademoiselle Albertine has gone!"
And now we've officially moved into The Fugitive, the sixth of the seven volumes that make up Remembrance of Things Past, and, as my excellent friend MK would opine, shit just got real. In the last passage of The Captive Francoise informed Marcel that Albertine was gone, but, as is so often the case, the full implications of the words didn't really register immediately. The news, once Marcel processes it, is, if we can believe him, crushing: "'But now these words" "Mademoiselle Albertine has gone,' had produced in my heart an anguish such that I felt I could not endure it much longer; I must put an end to it at once; tender towards myself as my mother had been towards my dying grandmother, I said to myself with that genuine wish that one has to relieve the suffering of a person one loves: 'Be patient for a moment, we shall find something to take the pain away, don't fret, we're not going to allow you to suffer like this."" What I found interesting here was Marcel's effort at self-medication, and the type of self-medication which we often ignore to our peril: emotional. We often self-medicate through alcohol or drugs, prescription and their more illicit cousins, or random sex, but we seldom think of looking after ourselves. When my marriage broke up I eventually took advantage of the six free therapy sessions the college insurance provided, although I had to be dragooned into it by my friends and colleagues. So, it's easy to look at Marcel's words as self-pitying, which in some ways they are considering his role in forcing Albertine out, it doesn't make his pain and suffering any less real, and thus the decision to look after himself is a solid one.