Change is not a Choice

By Will

It always amuses me when I look back to around 4 years ago when I entered therapy for the second time. I had just become a Father for the first time and I desperately wanted access to my son, he was all I could think about. I accept now that I had a pretty firm script in my head about how my new analytical process would proceed. All I thought that I needed was six sessions of CBT, to rid my panic attacks and curb my anxiety over my new responsibilities, and I would be back on the road again. I mean, I had already been through five years of analysis before, and during this time I had gone back over my younger years with a fine tooth comb. In retrospect, I think I must have been using an afro comb with rather large gaps in between each bristle. Much of my first 5 years of analysis was spent avoiding the darker shadows of myself.

My family, friends and my analyst all say that I have changed since then, and I do feel like a different person. I am more aware of my compassion for others and myself and my thought processes are more mindful and steady. This brings to the surface the whole question of legitimate change and whether it is possible, but I will leave that for someone else to write about. What I can say, is that change for me was not a choice, something just happened, and I became different. Over the last 4 years much of my time was spent doing exactly the same things as I had always done, while analysing my behaviour, thoughts and processes simultaneously. This circular process continued undisturbed until real life events happened. My Father and best friend passed away within an 18 month period. Initially this created huge regression, where anxiety rang like bell, and I could have drowned in the combination of all my tears. Somehow those long days passed and eventually I was left very much alone with the dreaded nothingness that I always unconsciously feared. This was one of those periods where I was so grateful to have my therapist alongside me, someone who seemed to have walked a similar path. By facing and living in this desolate and remote land of tumbleweeds and sand, eventually something shifted. All things eventually come to an end.

During this time I experienced various forms of spiritual awakening. One time, I awoke one night to find everything crystal and clear. I visualised my whole life flashing before me and I understood why I am the way I am, and what events had caused me to suffer over the years. I realised we were all connected in a very loving way and I realised how pain and fear were feelings that were crucial to us all and that they all contained necessary energies that we can use. I thought I had finally been enlightened and I actually jumped out of bed and danced under the moonlight. I would love another hit of spiritual awakening but they are illusive, they come when they come. I remember having my very first consultation with a psychotherapist in London in my early twenties and she explained that when the psyche had difficulties, like a tennis ball that had gotten wet, the mind takes it’s own time to dry out. I left that session and never returned, but perhaps in retrospect she was right. Something just happens and you feel different, it is very difficult to explain but on this new phase of my path I became curious once again. I began to venture out and see new things and feel new experiences. That was the biggest change.

Then somewhat out of the blue, something stirs inside once again as new uncomfortable sensations and feelings come to the surface. You hold onto your previous experiences, knowing that nothing lasts forever, but begin to use these awkward emotions as a chance to discover something new about yourself. It enables one to gently pass over scenarios, that happened before your change of feelings, where you may discover a link to something, sometimes something very small, that potentially triggered these new emotions or fears. Change involves faith, faith not only within yourself, but faith in others and in the whole process of living. If you view uncomfortable feelings as bad you will experience them so. I believe that the influence of other people and intimate relationships are fruitful and can enable you to share your depths but ultimately, I am what I love, not what loves me.

The art of love… is largely the art of persistence ~ Albert Ellis


Filed under My Experiences On The Couch

8 responses to “Change is not a Choice

  1. Wonderful thought-provoking & enlightening posting, Will ~ thank you so much for sharing x

    • Thanks Peter, another piece of writing that helped me to express, which ultimately is the point, as well as helping others too. Thanks for your continued support. : )

  2. Something every man & father can relate to. Provoking reflection in myself.
    Many thanks.

  3. Change might not be a choice, but seeking help is, and it’s a very courageous one. 🙂


    Change is almost always a choice. The changes are small steps, subconscious and subtle, but somehow we have to agree that a change is necessary because we lack peace or joy. So we read and research; we go to therapy; we open our minds to more positive concepts. Those are all choices assisted by our Higher Power (God for me, or whatever for others.) A wise professor once said,”All changes bring a loss, and all losses need to be mourned.” Change is reluctant & slow for that reason, but it’s a series of choices that may result in growth, renewed purpose, and a measure of peace.

    • Good Morning. Thanks for commenting, I like what you are saying and I agree that conscious choices can determine change in us. However, when unexpected life situations like the death of a loved one occur, change is not a choice, the path is changed for us, we are just not the same anymore. This letter that Ram Dass sent to a couple who lost their young daughter highlights this for me.

      “I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is
      Rachel’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice,
      but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion. For
      something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that
      dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love as God loves.”

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