How I ended up in therapy.

I thought I was “okay,” for years, for decades…until I realized that I wasn’t. And that had to be okay.

My grandfather had a nervous breakdown in 1962 from exposure to polishes and solvents he was working with and from badly-handled grief from losing his 18-year-old son in 1944. I was born in 1963, and I never got to know the man who raised my mother and aunt. He spent time in the state hospital and underwent electroshock therapy. Afterwards he was on drugs to manage his mental state for the rest of his life. He spent some time years later in a psych ward. I was 9 or 10, I think. Then he had to go back in for a while a few years later.

The idea I got from seeing those places was that I never wanted to end up there, and along with that, I thought that psychiatrists (I didn’t know about psychologists then) were the people who put you there. That there might be a reason for it was something that I didn’t spend a lot of time considering. As a result, my thoughts on therapy, for most of my life, were “HARD PASS.” I thought that I’d say the wrong thing and end up somewhere, and not be able to get out. So I developed the idea that I was in good shape mentally and didn’t need counseling.

Enter 1983 and Christianity, and an episode of the 700 Club (I watched this I kind of stuff early on) where Pat Robertson had some “expert” on who said that psychologists, by profession, were serving evil, and Pat threw in a 2¢ summary that a Christian psychologist was the same as a Christian witch-doctor. I now felt justified in my aversion to therapy. And that stayed with me for the rest of my time in the church.

As a Christian when I would struggle with something, people would verse-vomit and tell me to rely on dubious, and very badly explained things like the “Mind of Christ” and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I never trusted that because I did not understand how it was supposed to work.

Being laid off from a job I had held for over 17 years placed me in some rather uncertain work situations, then selling my house and moving compounded the stress that I was dealing with. After a few episodes of rage at pretty manageable things, a friend pointed out that my problem had to do with stress and not the things in front me. So late in 2017 I found a therapist. There’s a lot to unpack, and losing my dad in June of 2018 only added more.

Your brain is an organ. It processes information. And when too much bad information overwhelms it, there are effects that you may not notice or be able to simply bounce off of like they’re of no regard. Recognizing that and seeking help for it is not a sign of weakness.

Pretending nothing is wrong is the weak move.


Occasionally a business has to go through restructuring. We’re seeing a lot of that across our country today. Some of it is well planned and the organization doesn’t experience the coughing, stumblings of more sudden changes. In many respects it can resemble a stroke. Each company has connections between the employees and everyone they deal with. They deal with each other and they deal with contacts in other branches and with people outside the organization. This is not unlike the connections in a brain and nervous system.

When the stroke happens, there are one or several, usually several disruptions to those connections through lost revenue, layoffs, employees leaving for other firms, etc. These major disconnects necessitate the development of new connections to so that the customer can continue to enjoy service at the level that they’ve had all along. The parts of the organization have to work together differently in order to meet the same goals and expectations.

Thinking of preparedness as the lens, the employees in an organization should have sufficient cross training such that there is no noticeable hiccup when one of them is out. Everything should be transparent. Each employee should have documentation of processes of their primary job and whatever other areas where they help out. This package should include contact information and logon information for each task. There should be a copy at the employee’s desk as well as one maintained by the supervisors.

20 years ago I was reluctant to share knowledge for fear of being replaced. I had to do it because I needed people to cover for me when I was out. Because of my attitude whenever I’d come back from a vacation people would come to me saying “I sure am glad you’re back.” One might be encouraged to think that the trainee was doing a shoddy job. That wasn’t the case here and is probably seldom that way. It’s garbage in and garbage out. If I do a shoddy job of training my backup person, they’re not going to perform any better than they’ve been taught. It took a long time for me to learn that failing to share what I know does not equal job security. I wasn’t into prepping and didn’t think this way. I should have left there, whether on my vacations or when I finally resigned in a prepared state. I would have been more valuable to that company than I thought I was.

I don’t want to give the impression here of any kind of perfect world…just the way things ought to be. And things are seldom the way they ought to be