I had my first meeting with the psychologist and it was remarkable. Before going, I was open minded but cynical too. But he got the measure of me very quickly. He was genuinely engaging and interested and hooked me in by saying we’d analyse my situation together using critical reasoning. Well played, sir. Well played.
I was able to converse coherently although broke down when talking about Ted and his myriad kindnesses. He remarked “90% of people cry when they’re in here and I worry about the 10% who don’t.”
At the end he gave a summary of his impressions, that I was smart and psychologically switched on (preen, preen – he has correctly pegged me as a Narcissist) and that he thinks in our future sessions he’ll be able to help me chart my way through this major life challenge.
“Shovel the shit, you mean?”
When saying goodbye I asked “Did I cry the right amount?” and I knew for sure he was the psych for me when he laughed out loud in response.
Given its dominance within my mental landscape we talked at length about the radiotherapy quandary. He observed that my head needs to be engaged as much as the heart in a decision like this and perhaps switching off for a while may help.
Funnily enough, the night before a friend responded to my last post’s crystal ball plea with the idea that I should, if possible, allow some time to pass before deciding.
I see synchronicities like this all the time, particularly nowadays.
Anyway together these suggestions had a profound effect on me. I was able to see the clear benefit of letting my emotions settle and allowing my head to get a look in before making any decision. There’s a three month window after surgery in which I can have extra treatment, so why not use the time?
On the way home, I gave myself the following lecture.
Here’s an idea. How about you exhale?
How about you stop acting as if there’s a loaded gun against your head that’ll go off at any second?
How about you honour the threat you’ve felt so keenly by being more present, instead of half listening to the kids because you are obsessed by stats?
But if you must think of stats, how about thinking about being in the 85% rather than the 15%?
How about calming down and letting go?
How about closing the tabs on breastcancer.org?
How about switching the station from Radio Pity to Absolute 80s?
How about having a beer with Ted, dancing to The Smiths and explaining what a double decker bus is to the kids?
So that’s what I did.