A visit to my therapist

There is a large culmination of things that have occured in my heart recently. It’s time for a change in my life, a big one. But it’s all of these things, including the change, that has recently sent me into a depression.

This is small portion of one of my very recent therapy appointments. Thank you for letting me share with you.

So… Think about this stressful moment you had. Put yourself back in that moment. Does anything pop into your head from your past? From when you were a child?” Gordon, my therapist, asks casually.

I sit  on his small gray couch and I think hard. My eyes wander to his photos on the wall… to his old un-tuned and un-played acoustic guitar. I think as hard as I can about one of the recent moments that caused me to become overwhelmed with depression and anxiety. I let anything come into my head that may. I get nothing. But after a few more moments of silence I get one flicker of a thought.

All that comes to mind is an old dream I had when I was four. It’s stuck with me my whole life.” I answer, certain that there is no relevance.

Okay. What happens in it?” Gordon asks in a soft and pressing tone.

I’m four years old, and I’m driving my Dad’s little Toyota pickup down our street. My Dad is running next to me. But, he’s running the way a father runs next to his kid when he teaches him to ride a bike.” I answer very calm. I see no relevance to how this relates to my anxieties.

Let’s stick with that. What happens next in the dream?” He asks with a calm smile.

I’ve never gone past that, Gordon. The last time I even remembered this dream was just before I was hired as the Children’s Minister at my old church. Back when I was 17. My friend interpreted the dream as me taking on a role that I felt was bigger and scarier than I was ready for. But, that my heavenly father was running next to me, keeping me safe, and telling me ‘you can do this!‘” I answer, but still not seeing any relevance.

Gordon looks up from his note book. He’s a very kind looking older man. He has small round glasses and a short white beard. He wears button down shirts and khaki pants. He smiles at me and presses, “I think this is very appropriate. What happens next in your dream?

I don’t know Gordon.

Well just sit with it. See if anything else happens.” He pushes up his glasses and leans back in his office chair.

So I sit there on his couch. It has too many small pillows and I can’t seem to put any of them in the right place today. I think about the dream, and I put myself back in the little Toyota pickup. I see my Dad, I see myself sitting behind the steering wheel. But this time I’m a teenager. I see my Dad running next to the window. I keep my eyes shut and I calmly answer,”I’m driving the truck, my Dad is still running next to me saying, ‘Go! You can do it!‘”

Good. Where are you?” Gordan’s voice still calm.

I’m in LA!? But… this dream has always taken place on the street I grew up on.” My voice is calm, and I am very curious about why things have changed. I began to feel like I’m really there. Or like I’m dreaming while I’m awake. I didn’t realize till later that I was basically having a vision.

What happens next?” He leans forward in his seat and asks with a slight excitement in his voice.

I can see all around the truck. There’s big buildings, a vanilla sunset, and my Dad is running next to me. My emotions really flare up at this point. “I crash… I just… I just crash the truck…” My voice breaks as I answer. I feel tears stream down my face. I feel like I’ve failed. Like I knew this was a bad idea.

What happens next?” Gordon is not phased or bothered that I crashed the car.

I’m a little irritated that he asks. Doesn’t he realize that it’s over? I crashed the car! That’s pretty freaking symbolic. But I put myself back in the dream. I can see myself in the truck again, and I wait to see what happens next. “I get out of the truck… and I start walking.” It’s hard to even speak now. I’m so overwhelmed. And I’m shocked that I got out and started walking.

You’re not ready to give up. What’s your Dad doing?” He sounds really excited now.

I try to calm myself so I can speak clearly. I clear my throat and choke out the answer, “He’s just standing there… He puts his hands on my shoulders… and he says, ‘You’ve made it.‘”. I wipe my eyes. Then I put my hands together in my lap. I become very overwhelmed with emotion. My eyes are shut hard and I say, “I need to cuss…

Go ahead” Gordon laughs.

I can do… I can do this, damn it.” I say it softly.

That’s all!?” Gordon says with a surprised laugh.

Gordon… That’s the first time I’ve cussed in 11 years!” I respond with a little laugh too.

Ha ha, well… say it again!

… I can do it, damn it!

Again!

I can do it… Damn it.” I feel so awkward cussing. But, it’s what I needed to say. As if I was telling someone I could do it. I don’t know who. Maybe myself? But regardless, I felt I had to say it. I realize days later that this was indeed for myself. I’ve spent most of my life believing I couldn’t “do it” I couldn’t pursue my dreams, my passions, or the desires of my heart.

Gordon smiles at me. He’s sitting on the edge of his seat. He says, “This is really great stuff! There’s just so much passion!

You’re really excited!?” I awkwardly chuckle. Wondering what it is that’s so great.

Gordon smiles and answers, “Adam, this is the stuff people spend $15 on a movie ticket, sit in a theater, and cry over. They wish they were where you are now… Discovering who they really are. They wish they were pursuing their passions! They wish they were becoming who they’re meant to be!“.

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Thanks a lot for letting me share with you. I hope you express your heart in some way today.

God Bless You,
-Adam Allen

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Alex - Your therapist sounds AWESOME! Thanks for inviting us into this memory with you. Whenever I feel like I can’t do something I always listen to this. I hope it helps you too: http://www.alexbeadonphotography.com/blog/2011/11/30/wonderful-wednesday-will-smith-on-success/

Kathy Etheridge Dersch - The rest of us believe in you-glad you do now, as well. 🙂 Adam, wherever you go people are going to love you and look up to you, not just as a photographer, but as the person you are. God bless you on the next step of your journey-I know you’ll keep us posted.