Monday 8 May 2023

Thought Picnic: On therapy and rehab for giving new purpose to life

Therapy for life and living

I learnt over a decade ago that everyone at one point or the other requires some form of therapy. In my case, after a near-death experience brought on by disease with the aftermath of extremely fortunate survival but ensuing catastrophic material loss, I needed to talk to somebody about how life was.

I was not depressed or suicidal at all, but looking at how things had turned out, it was only right that I did have the quietude to ruminate over loss and drown in the sorrow of misfortune and despair wondering about what turns could have been taken to arrive at a different destination in the story of life.

Therapy that causes change

Then again, over two decades ago, I did on the advice of a friend engage the counsel of an occupational psychotherapist. We met in the lobby of a hotel in the West End at a point when my professional life seemed to be at an impasse. I seemed to be totally clueless about what to do and was existing from day to day, just existing without any apparent sense of purpose.

In our discussion, he first put things in perspective, opining that what I was experiencing was not unfamiliar and me getting interviews but not closing on the jobs was considerably better than the many that were never contacted at all. He went on to say something quite profound, that I was suffering a mid-life crisis probably 10 years early.

His advice was that I do something radical like change my career or change my location or country for a different and new place. That is what began my quest for engagement in Europe where I interviewed for a job at Compaq, near Munich in Germany and flew out on a day off to be interviewed for a job in the Netherlands at Hoofddorp near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. I got the job in the Netherlands and there began an over 12-year sojourn in the Netherlands.

Therapy for all seasons

One underlying issue during that time that had the effect that I did not as much admit to and going on with impact for more than a year was, I had just come out of an almost 7-year relationship which for me was quite devastating, the pain of it endured for longer than I wanted to assume vulnerability for. I probably should have considered therapy for it beyond taking a week off work and wandering around Europe in search of some distraction of consequence for almost a month.

The consequent therapy sessions I had relatively helped me understand to a degree, what I might be going through even as the professionals suggested to me that they learnt more from our interactions in terms of the human experience than they let on during the sessions. I was unusual as I did not present the classic signs of their usual quarry and I was lucidly articulate, understanding nuance, discerning meanings from usages and constructs that helped in appreciating the depth of my concerns.

Recently, I was again advised to seek some professional help, and I do clearly appreciate the need for such because many of the historical experiences I have had before are presenting in somewhat different circumstances, but equally as impactful as to be issues of concern for my wellbeing mentally and in life generally.

Therapy in the guise of rehab

Beyond that, in my last blog, I alluded to the desire to be received into everlasting habitations, a place beyond the failings and the fallings in life where the impact of loss and incapacity is reduced or confined to the improbable because the attendant issues are addressed by providence or benefaction.

Blog - O to be received into everlasting habitations

In that sense, it would seem just as everyone needs therapy at some point to review the vicissitudes of life, people might also need rehab, yes, rehabilitation. This rehab does not necessarily have to do with the typical addictions such as drugs, sex, gambling, alcohol, or some other dependency. However, the result is the same, a place for intervention, review, contemplation, and redirection to get life back on track again.

It makes you wonder if there is a real-life Fantasy Island like the drama series that featured  Hervé Villechaize as Tattoo, running to the airfield shouting, “The plane, the plane”, and  Ricardo Montalbán as the mysterious Mr Roarke who granted fantasies for a price. Whether or not such a place exists and that is besides the cost, people do need a kind of reprieve, an absenting of self of situation or circumstance to reassess and think about what new experience one needs to bring to one’s existence to have a more fulfilling and rewarding life. Something that could seem difficult to do when caught in the midst of a quagmire of fates and things.

These thoughts roam in the recesses of the subconscious as one seeks to make days count for better than they seem. Then, Mr Warren Buffett who if he were British might have been regaled with every aristocratic title you could find in the gift of the monarch, goes on to say, in the pithy and interesting summary of how to live. On living your best life: “You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to live up to it,” Buffett said. “It’s not that complicated.”


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