September 11, 2010
"You're among the top 2% of the most uptight people I've ever run across.", Dr. Check stated matter-of-factly. He certainly had my attention. He held a PhD from Vanderbilt University, had been employed as a counselor at the Tennessee State Mental Hospital and was a well-known stress management specialist in Nashville.
I had come to hear these words from Dr. Ron Check in 1980 at age 27 per a referral from a gastrointerologist. After running barium up, down and through me the gastrologist had determined there was nothing more than a spastic colon preventing me from being able to comfortably eat a meal over the past three years. Dr. Gastro said, "You don't look like the type, but you might consider seeing a stress reduction specialist who has been a great help to one of my employees." Little did he realize that as I was sitting there on his examing table with my hands shoved tightly under my thighs, my ankles were crossed and pressed hard against each other, and my shoulders, well, my shoulders, perhaps he did notice they were dislocated to just beneath my earlobes. I enthusiastically nodded my head in agreement to try anything he might suggest to get the pain to stop. He could have said, "Go eat horse poop." I was a highly motivated patient.
Next stop, Dr. Check's office. A couple of weeks later after the first visit, as Dr. Check was reporting to me the psychological profile test results, I remember thinking, "I knew it! I knew I would end up in a psychologist's office one day! I AM a WACKO, a NUTCASE. One of the top 2% of the MOST UPTIGHT ones, to boot! Yep, this is where I've been heading all along. Darn it!" I wanted to cry. I did, later.
The next time I cried was after going through a visualization exercise. "Imagine a knife is stuck in the area of your pain. Back up the handle and see who's holding the knife in place." Beforehand, I thought, "It'll be my mother; no, my sister. Oh, I'll bet it's my step-father." The tears came because, unexpectedly, it was me holding on to the other end of that dagger. I cried because I couldn't understand how or why I would do something so painful to myself. It made no sense. That seemed the cruelest of the cruel to inflict so much pain upon one's self. Thankfully, I was beginning an all important personal journey to erase and rewrite the distorted programming that had been unknowingly installed onto my hard drive.
Now, 30 years later, at 57, I find myself at the beginning of a new career as a personal development and stress management consultant. It's taken a lot of head banging, as well as, big doses of helpful input and feedback from beloved friends and counselors to get me here. Am I ever glad I've made it here! And, having recently turned another corner, I know that my story, although important as a rich resource, no longer holds me back or defines me.
It's said that it's in the getting lost that we find our way. Future installments will tell more of the story of how I got to be among the top 2% of the most uptight people Dr. Check had ever run across. I will, also, share my experiences and philosophies that have gotten me beyond that "stuck place" and on my way to creating a happier, healthier life that flows.
Namaste' Fellow Travelers!