Champion Of Worry
It felt like my stomach was a heavy pile of bricks. Overthinking everything again as if I’m the worrying champion #1, but not proud of winning this time. The pent-up emotions were so hard to suppress and at the moment I decided to let the control go I burst into tears.
‘’Fuck, I’m a mess…’’, I thought to myself. I picked myself up and got ready. The therapy session was perfect timing.
I wasn’t eager on visiting a psychologist, I thought it was only necessary for really serious cases. I wasn’t totally sick, sad and depressed. But there was something going on for years that finally had to be addressed.
Instead of solving the problem myself like I’ve been trying to for so long, it was time to give up my pride. I’ve always felt like the last thing I needed was a scientist asshole with glasses telling me to ‘Open up and talk, son.’ But I was wrong.
I changed my mind about this when talking to a good friend about the different challenges we were facing with girlfriends, work, school and life in general. He told me he sometimes visits a therapist. After the conversation I looked his therapist up. He looked quite good and experienced. I booked an appointment and it felt empowering. ‘Fuck, yeah! Life on point.’, I thought for a minute. Of course this was just the beginning.
The Moment of Truth
Fast forward to the day of my first session. I rang the bell and entered his art-deco office, where I felt a great sense of nostalgia, even though I’d never been there. André was older than I had expected, approaching 75 years. Still full of energy and passion for his profession, he looked like a wise and competent man.
After some easy intro conversations, we approached the topic of my anxiety during my third session. The reason of my visit and a subject of my life for quite some years already. He asked me: ‘Where do you feel it mostly and what does it feel like?’, to which I answered that it’s just an adrenaline-ridden experience feeling your knot-up stomach.
it’s like running away from a huge pride of lions chasing you down, all wanting a piece of you. ALL THE TIME
Always looking over your shoulder for potential danger: on the streets, with the people you meet and so on. This feeling was everywhere, all the time. He asked me a few more questions and used some techniques. At that moment, breathing became shallow again and through a special tapping technique, André was able to expose a deep childhood memory. And it was incredibly emotionally charged.
I saw myself again as 6 year-old boy. I lay in bed and I heard lots of yelling from downstairs. It was not singing or anything but it was a hard, hateful and aggressive argument. I curled into a fetal position in bed and I remember feeling very alone. With danger close by and no security blanket around.
Catch And Release
Andre gave me space and silence to accept this memory and suddenly it dawned on me. I had this insight: ‘It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault…’. At that point, I felt a great sense of release that was almost cathartic and I started bawling my eyes out for a good 5 minutes. Just like the scene in Good Will Hunting, where Matt Damon realizes he’s not the cause of his childhood problems.
For so long I thought that it was all my fault, that I caused the problems at home. I felt like I was responsible. On top of that, the feeling of constant danger had been instilled in me, giving me a sense of overall anxiety. This unconscious belief had caused my problems overtime. Because of this session, I now had a different perspective on the situation. There was a name and a place to give that memory, which lead to the opportunity to start accepting it more.
If you are struggling with something more serious, don’t hesitate to visit and talk to a professional, because:
We don’t always know where to look
As we’re going through life as an individual, we see everything from our own perspective or through life’s glasses. While this is a great thing, it is also quite limiting at times when it comes to big life’s realisations or decisions. Blind spots or personal bias can severely limit our progress. Our minds have been formed and structured in a way that is very hard to change.
That’s why some people keep choosing the wrong type of partner. Or that some people just can’t put the bottle of wine down. Our behaviors and beliefs are ingrained in our being and sometimes it takes external input to realize that and start taking action.
It’s also why I never really saw my situation from another perspective until I had the sessions.
A talk with friends or family is not the same
Whatever you say, it’s not the same… Of course, conversations with good friends and family are awesome and definitely help you vent some issues you have inside, but it’s not the same. A lot of people around you will give you answers and advice you want to hear.
As written in this article: ‘they have something at stake in your life and their views, needs, and opinions are going to color their interaction whether they are aware of it or not.’
Whether it is huge mental issues or trying to get some clarity in your life’s situation, it is a great way of getting someone else’s ‘objective’ perspective.
There is nothing abnormal or shameful about it
Getting help is not abnormal at all. As soon as I started to open up about this subject with my close friends and family, I had the surprising response of people telling me they did or still do the same thing. More people are involved in therapy in one way or another, and even more people actually would benefit greatly from it. Open up, own it and this will be a great addition in your life.
This interesting world map (2016) shows that around 20-25% of people in European countries and in USA have some form of mental health disorder. So don’t ever think you are the only one. I’d like to invite you to giving up the silence surrounding these subjects.