I like to understand how things work. The mind is no exception. In fact, nothing fascinates (and puzzles) me more than human behavior. Why do we think the things we think, and do the things we do?
Can you imagine what it must be like to be a shrink? I can—sifting through minds for buried clues about what makes a person tick, the a-ha moments, the healing… the big fat pay cheque.
I’d very much like to study to be a therapist, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not actually want to be one. I just want to know what they know to help me navigate through my own life—to understand myself better, to understand others in my life better, and to be better able to maintain healthy relationships.
A few years ago, I was in therapy. I had agoraphobia—I could not leave my house, or even put on my shoes, without having a panic attack. My therapy sessions (with Jenine) were done over the phone. When I began working with Jenine, I had been suffering with paralyzing fear of fear for about two years. I knew that my way of “fixing it” wasn’t working—if anything, I was making things worse for myself. I really was ready to ditch my way of doing things in favour of something that worked, no matter how hard it was. I did absolutely everything Jenine asked me to do—even the stuff I thought was pointless and stupid, and the stuff I was scared shitless to try. I’m happy to say that her strategies worked. I no longer have panic attacks, in fact, I no longer feel (unjustified) anxiety. I healed because I completely surrendered to Jenine’s methods.
I seriously doubt that all, or even most, patients are as cooperative as I was. I felt resistance to her every step along the way, yet, I somehow managed to put it aside. I had to. I was part of a clinical trial, and my time with her was limited. When my 12 weeks were up, if I wasn’t better, I was shit out of luck. I couldn’t function in society the way I was. I had to make it work.
Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to work with people who aren’t willing to let go of their resistance, people who won’t give you all the information you need to have in order to help them, people who don’t fully trust you, people who pick and choose what advice they wish to follow, and people who are unwilling to ditch behaviours that are keeping them stuck? That’s why I don’t want to be a therapist.
This is going to sound bizarre, but after going through therapy myself I’ve become more and less tolerant of people who struggle. I now have so much more empathy for what other people are going through. When I encounter someone who is suffering, I automatically try and put myself in that person’s shoes. I try to understand how that person got there. However… I lose that empathy, and even get kind of angry, when someone in pain keeps “wishing” for things to get better, but continually resits making changes.
If you want to find something better for yourself, you have to be willing to lose what’s keeping you stuck! Yes, it’s hard, but it’s harder to be miserable.
Day sixteen of The Daily Post’s Writing 101.
“Today’s Prompt: Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings.
Today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of lost and found more generally in this post.
…In your “lost and found” tale, tell us something larger — a life lesson, perhaps — about finding and losing something.