Deciding to Heal

2014-03-08 13.37.56 HDROn the day I met James our conversation began with cooking and within five minutes we were revealing our experiences with despair. James had recently retired and was feeling completely lost.

He confided, “I can’t sleep, and I can’t eat.”

“That happened to me too. When my bladder pain was at its peak, I would lie awake most of the night with my pulse pounding in my ears, and right when I’d dose off the pain would wake me up again. I couldn’t choke down any food, and in one week I lost five pounds.”

“It’s scary. The mind can take you places you don’t want to go.”

“I agree. At that time in my life I wrote in my journal that if I didn’t have a husband and children who loved me and were counting on me, I would check out.”

“I feel the exact same way.”

“About six months into the pain my psychologist told me, ‘You won’t always be in this dark place’ and at the time, this was a novel idea. I didn’t think I would ever be better. But she was right, and I did get better over time.”

I encouraged him to get professional support, to use medication if recommended by a physician he trusted, to reach out to his friends, to picture feeling good, to be easy on himself, and to keep his eyes and ears open for inspiration.

James looked in the eyes and said, “I believe you. You know where I am right now, and I can see that you are happy. Maybe I can get better too.”

I saw James a few weeks later and he told me that he had started seeing a psychologist and was taking medication. He was also taking a yoga class and learning how to meditate. A month after that we met again and James gave me a hug and told me that his mind was no longer spinning and he was sleeping through the night. When he told me that I was the reason he got better, I had to set him straight.

“Thanks James, but you are the one doing all the work.  I let you know that there was a healing road, but you are the one who has decided to walk down it.”