The day arrived for my first appointment with the psychologist.
I left my office at mid-afternoon and walked from North Sydney down to nearby Milsons Point, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park nearby.
I arrived at the psychologist’s office and was soon shown in to meet him. He was a kindly-looking middle-aged man with a low and very pleasant voice that I would come to find very calming, reassuring and most of all encouraging.
We sat down, I told him why I was there, and next he asked me to tell him about myself.
So I told him a very brief story of my life, with emphasis on my problems and weaknesses and where I thought they may have come from.
I had thought about that incident often during the past three years – and especially during the past week – but that afternoon was the first time I had ever told anyone about it.
And just before I told the psychologist about the moment when I had begun cursing myself, something unexpected happened.
I burst into tears.
And for the next few minutes, I cried hard.
But after I finished, I felt much better.
I talked some more to the psychologist, and when I was finished he told me about what lay ahead for our next few visits.
As well as encouraging me to speak freely and without embarrassment at our future sessions, he would give me written exercises and worksheets to complete, and he would introduce me to something I heard of for the first time then and there – cognitive behavioral therapy.
Finally, our first fifty minutes together came to an end.
Soon after, I stepped out of my psychologist’s office and discovered two things.
One, although my skin was dry all of my clothes were lightly soaked with sweat.
Two, and most of all, I felt like an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I went to the receptionist whom I had spoken with on the ‘phone the week before, and made my next appointment for next week.
And already, I was looking forward to it.
TO BE CONTINUED