A Lesson in Letting Go of Control
“Sometimes, you walk out of there, and you have been beaten up.” “J” used to consider Dr. Dabney—and therapists of every variety—the last resort.
Self-Described “Type-A” Personality
A self-described “Type-A” personality, he was a person in pursuit of perfection. Mental instability was not acceptable. Period. Though, neither was the level of anxiety, he’d begun to experience regularly. “It was almost debilitating,” he recalls. “Eventually, it got to a point where I could barely function.” He decided that he had no choice but to seek help. “For a guy [with] my characteristics, it took nearly self-destruction.” But he didn’t find therapy to be the rapid cure he’d hoped for. When Dr. Dabney told him that he should expect to feel some level of relief within a few months, he said he was “flabbergasted.” He needed his life fixed—fast. There, too, was the doctor’s scrutiny. “
“I hated Dr. Dabney at first because everything she said was a criticism… She kept saying, “‘I’m not yelling at you, but I have to tell you these things.’” It took him years to accept her insights as observations, rather than personal attacks. “Literally,” he explains, “you have to crawl out of an emotional hole.” Deep down, he knew to keep going to keep working on letting go of control.
Today, he sees the payoff. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without what I went through.” His experience left him with plenty of advice for those considering therapy. First, he tells people, forget your expectations about a timeline, control, all of it. He calls therapy a “journey more than a destination.” And, he wants others seeking help to know, “You’re not a freak.” Then he adds, “It’s tough to have a flashlight put on you for 45 minutes and not take it personally. But on the other hand, that’s what we pay her for—to uncover all this stuff.” Therapy is necessary for struggling in letting go of control.