Press play & then read for a little relevant soundtrack!
In my 1st blog post “Young, Healthy and Successful” I talked about health being about more than just physical health, more than just fitness. I feel that to be a balanced individual, mental and emotional health have to be part of the equation. For a long time I thought that when my body looked great then I’d be happy and all my problems would be minor. Sike! A good looking body can just be a pretty container for a big bag of shit or a big ‘ol bucket of crazy! Either way, mastery of the physical realm alone isn’t enough.
So to honor my need for mental and emotional health, last week I started seeing a therapist.
OOHHHhhhhh the boogeyman! Yea I know. Haha. All jokes aside, there is a bit of a stigma (in my mind) about going to a shrink. You know that tiny asshole that lives in your brain? We all have one. He/she tells you a bunch of negative shit and poo-poo’s on every good idea you have because it can’t possibly work and he/she says it in your voice so you believe them. Anyways that shit-stick is screaming: “Oh you’re crazy, you need professional help, he’s gonna judge you, he’s gonna ask you about my childhood, you’re a looser, you’re weak, you shouldn’t be having these thoughts in the first place, what if someone finds out, wtf is wrong with you, you’re a bad person…” and on and on he goes. Asshole…! Needless to say, going into it I was fucking terrified. So why did I go?
- This summer I’ve been having a tough time in my life. My girlfriend moved to another country, my business was in the tank so I was broke, and I was presented the challenge of my dad getting dementia so he’s not quite the same person I’ve known all my life. I felt very lonely, sad, angry, and depressed with my failure. In the past I would have drank, bought new clothes, ate shitty food and chased women because I felt like “I’m having a hard time, I need to relax and have fun. Everything else is such shit right now, I need to be having SOME fun to offset it.” In the past I would have used those escapes to avoid dealing with the feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, depression and fear. In my adult life, I’ve learned that troubling times aren’t to be balanced out with “fun”, they’re for you to lean into and work your way out of. So I knew it was time to go and talk to someone about how to properly deal with my insecurity, fear, self-doubt, frustration, sadness and anger so that I didn’t take these misunderstood emotions out on myself or my loved ones.
- I’ve had a fair share of bullshit in my life. Some bullshit I’ve created, some has just happened and I’ve had to deal with it. Either way these shit-uations have been negative life altering events that I never necessarily had the willingness or capacity to process in a healthy way. Like most of us, I sucked it up and kept going. But I can take a look at my current life, behaviors and relationships and see that some of those situations still affect me and keep me from being the person I want to or should be. I feel like for me to fully actualize my potential in this life and be the most powerful person I can be, I need to begin to close the wounds left by misunderstandings of an undeveloped young person and begin to complete the lessons of my youth.
- I don’t want to dump on my friends. We all know “that guy” who’s always got SOMETHING to bitch about. I don’t want to always be dumping my emotional crap on them or burdening them with my problems. Once in a while is fine because it builds relationships and is what friends are for. But if I can have someone who’s being paid to sit there and take all of my negative emotional energy then I’ll take it.
I go to my first session and do exactly what I’d wanted which was bitch about all the bad feelings I’d been having lately and offload some of the weight on my shoulders. So as I started talking, the guy just sat and listened. And listened. And listened! It was perfect! He wasn’t patronizingly agreeing with me, wasn’t judging me, wasn’t just waiting for his chance to speak or tell me about his life experience or how he would handle the situation. He just listened and let me talk. I found that as I talked I mentally sorted through the problems I was having. Hearing myself say things I’d only been thinking validated a lot of feelings for me making them okay, and some things sounded plain silly & childish which signaled to me where I was being a dick.
As a person with trust issues, I trusted that I could tell him what I really thought and felt without him gossiping to someone else about what I’d shared because 1. He doesn’t know the same people I know and 2. HE DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT! This guy, this stranger, has no stake in my life so he has nothing to gain or lose by having or sharing what I tell him.
It was so refreshing to have someone to talk to where I didn’t feel selfish for only talking about myself. So refreshing to have someone that wasn’t trying to be my friend, impress me, or screw with me so he told me his opinion on things straight up. He had no motivation to lie, to placate, to judge, or to tell anyone else anything I told him. I felt like I could be myself and say what I wanted without judgment.
After leaving the first session I felt a little weird because I’d said some stuff that I’d never vocalized before. I thought the session went okay but nothing life shattering, it was just kinda okay. For my second session a week later I went in super tired and feeling like shit. If I hadn’t had an appointment I wouldn’t have gone. So I went in there with the mentality of “I don’t want to be here today, I don’t have the energy to talk about any serious shit today. Fuuuuck.”
When I sat down for our second meeting he simply asked me what’s up? Not wanting to talk about any serious shit, I started talking about work projects and a meeting I’d had the day before. He began to ask me about my goals and where I wanted to take my career & life. At first I didn’t really have a plan but as I started to hear myself talk about my life goals it turned out I actually do have big goals for my life! Where I want to be, who I want to be, what I truly want to do with the life I’ve been given; it just started pouring out! He goes “It sounds like you DO actually have a plan for your life” and I said with astonishment “yea… I guess I do!”. What I realized is that my goals I have for myself aren’t necessarily “realistic” goals by practical standards so I’ve been afraid to voice them or reach for them because I didn’t want to look stupid for wanting something most people won’t achieve. But I shouldn’t be afraid of reaching for the life I want just because I may or may not get it. So through simply talking I was able to realize and articulate my life goals and career goals.
Then I went into talking about tattoos. I have one but I want more, my fear being that I’ll be judged for having a bunch of tattoos. Also the only thing I can think of getting tattooed is cartoon characters. I’d feel stupid. But when I see people with cartoon sleeves I’m like “daaaaaym that’s sick! Ahh I’m so jealous!!”. The doc looked at me and goes “Well you seem like a pretty stylish guy, I’m sure that whatever you decided to get would probably be pretty stylish too.” ———-What?!?!? Did this guy actually withhold any opinion from his response and just tell me to trust in my taste and believe in myself?! Holy fuck balls!! MIND…. BLOWN!!! Haaaaaahahahahahha I’d never thought about it that way. Instead of worrying about what others will think about me I should just trust in myself, what I like, and go with that as a choice for my life for myself instead of for others.
With something as simple as talking about a tattoo I came to the revelation that I needed to trust in myself, do what I think is best for me, and make decisions and choices to further my life. Whether that be with a tattoo or in achieving my life goals.
If you’ve actually read this far into this blog post, you can tell that I feel my therapy sessions have been a huge success so far and opened my life up to growth and change. Yea, as we go some of these sessions are gonna suck. I’m gonna dig deep into my pain, expose my heart and soul, embarrass myself, shame myself and just tear down every barrier I’ve built to keep this fragile ego alive. But I feel that at the end of the day, after the dust clears, the man that will be standing in the rubble will be truly the man I was meant to be. Walls torn down, darkness bared, demons conquered, hurdles climbed and all that’s left is a tender heart, exposed soul, and a clear confident mind. I feel at that point I’ll be a mentally & emotionally healthy man. A man who’s able to give and receive love freely, communicate thoughts and feelings in a healthy way and not have old bullshit holding me back from anything I want.