Rob sat across from me at a sleek white table on the patio of Detroit’s New Order Coffee. The steam from each of our mugs twiddled with the dawn in the calm before the storm–the storm of emotions I knew would soon whirl out of control at the feet of a therapist named Justin.
My friend pretended not to notice the familiar twitch tugging on the left side of my neck. Neither of us said a word about it, but it refused to be ignored as if the hands of my Fossil watch were reeling my head to prove the waning seconds.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick–
“I should go,” I said.
“Yeah. Let me know how it goes?” His eyes smiled. “It’s gonna be good,” he said.
I should have left sooner, but, to be honest, I was clinging to my friendship with Rob as a child holds a blanket. Once I got in the car, the GPS said I’d be five minutes late. Shit. Five minutes.
Five minutes worth of fresh material served on a silver platter (“So, Doug…you have issues with timeliness. Why don’t you tell me about that?”).
Five minutes in which the two of us could have maybe unraveled the solution to all of my depression and go ahead to cure the world of it while we’re at it.
Five minutes would if nothing else, enforce the hustle of shame, and the bumbling words, “S-sorry I was s-so late,” to dribble like vomit from my mouth.
Five minutes meant five lashings–not physical ones, of course–self-inflicted mental lashings with an iron whip made of self-deprecation and the fog of hatred from my mirror.
Five minutes was…in the end…not a big deal. At all. I shook Justin’s hand and followed him down the stairs and into his office.
It was a bare room, oversized for a therapist’s office but too small for a classroom–what it once was. Justin added decor to the tired space which seemed to represent the revitalization of Detroit. A pour-over coffee kit sat in the dunce corner. Charcoal gray sofa, slim with pointed wooden legs sat in the middle of the room and across from two complimentary chairs–all surrounded by chipping brick walls. Everything in the room, even the Devil’s Ivy dripping over the coffee table, seemed to echo the truth of Kahlil Gibran: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
“So,” Justin said, “how’s it going?”
I don’t remember much of that first meeting with Justin. But, I do know that getting through the door is always the hardest part of going to counseling. If you can lean on the encouragement of friends and family, not be deterred by small hiccups, and simply get yourself through the door, a good professional will take it from there, and you’ll be glad you went.
So, where are you at in the process? Are you in the coffee shop where counseling is a mere conversation? Are you in the car where you’re ready but you don’t know where to go? Or maybe you’re at the door, and all you need to do is knock.
Wherever you’re at right now, let’s get you through that door.