Is it obvious enough that the career choices I was exploring couldn’t be any more different from being a dentist? I mean, cookies and beer are a far cry from drilling and filling. My knee-jerk reaction stemmed from the need to get as far away as possible from anything related to my current job. I wanted something lighthearted and not too serious; something that had nothing to do with
providing a service to people having my face 6 inches away from another person’s for 8 hours a day.
While I was desperately searching, I also decided it was time to get some independence from my career coach. She had helped me get to a place where I could function at my job while simultaneously seeking out a new future for myself. I simply needed to do the work to find my next career, so it was time to go out on my own to actually do the work. It was time to stop talking and start doing. I guess it was also time for me to hit a plateau, as those 6 months on my own had passed with very little progress toward change.
I was still stuck in dentistry.
Then sometimes right when you need it, people come into your life for a reason. It started at a holiday party in December of 2010 when Nick and I met an old acquaintance he hadn’t seen in years. We connected with her because she is Spanish, and Nick and I both lived in Spain for a while. She insisted we join her the following week for a Spanish-style Christmas.
How could we refuse an offer like that?
So on Christmas Day at this event I almost missed, I met Melanie, another guest at the dinner and my future therapist. I was in a bit of denial about my current emotional state because being only partially miserable was so much better than being completely miserable. I wasn’t necessarily convinced I needed “therapy” at the time, but I knew I still hadn’t arrived at the answer I was looking for. I also sensed myself starting to gradually slide back down that slippery slope that I had spent the last year digging out of. The fear of falling down again propelled me to try out some work with Melanie.
I’ll never forget my first session with her. I had gotten into a car accident the night before, and I was an emotional mess. I walked into her office, trying to hold myself together, rather unsuccessfully. I guess if there’s any good place to “lose it,” it’s in a therapist’s office; just like if your crown is going to pop off, there’s no better time than during a cleaning. (Oh, and by the way, for anyone who’s ever blamed the hygienist for this, it’s not her fault when this happens during a cleaning.)
Melanie didn’t miss a beat and immediately started EMDR therapy with me. One hour and many tears later she asked me if I wanted to review the story again. I couldn’t do it. My mind was blank. Not only was my mind blank, but it was blown away that I felt totally free of this trauma. I couldn’t even remember the details unless I dug really deep, but why would I do that? (And just a side note: almost 3 years later, I haven’t looked back on that accident once.)
From this moment on I was sold, and I was ready to start my relationship with a therapist for the first time in my life.
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