“Hello, this is Dr. _________.”
“Hi, Dr.____________. This is Adam Jones. We spoke about eighteen months ago, in your old office. Does that ring a bell?”
“Ah, yes. How are you, Adam?”
A longer pause.
With a light chuckle, I replied, “Well, not a 100%, which is why we are talking now.”
Chuckling back, the doctor replied, “Yea, I always feel weird the moment that question comes out of my mouth. Don’t know why I keep doing that.”
Well now, I thought, the psychologist is the uncomfortable one in this conversation. This is kind of fun!
“That’s okay, doctor. That’s the point, after all. And it gets the restorative process going.”
The good doctor laughed. And I smiled, knowing we would soon get together and spend lots of time discussing the question, “How are you?”
Since hitting forty I’ve taken measures to insure my bodily safety and physical health. I take no unnecessary physical risks; if involved in handyman work and when using power tools I proceed slowly and I wear safety glasses and ear protection; I drive defensively and cautiously; I go the gym; I (mostly) eat well; I also take vitamins, drink enough clean water, and see an acupuncturist to maintain good sleep patterns.
I do these things primarily to make sure I’m physically around for Vivian and Suzanne for a long, healthy time.
This safety and health awareness is all necessary and good to be here for them, but it is insufficient.
A difficult question recently entered my mind that I could not answer: What good am I if I’m physically in the same room with Vivian but not actually there because my mind is heavy and distracted? If I cannot mentally function and engage and grow with Vivian, what good is a fit frame? I’m concerned about physically being there for Vivian and Suzanne, but if I’m checked out mentally aren’t they really without their Daddy and husband on occasion?
Vivian and Suzanne lost me one day last week. We were physically together in the house, before and after school, before and after work. I was here in body. But I was not here. My mind was heavy and burdened, incapable of being in or enjoying one moment with my Loves.
Why would I not talk to someone when there is so much to lose, so many future moments to miss?
So the next day I drove to the psychologist’s office, parked the car, picked up the phone, and called. I paused before hitting the call button. But I hit it. (I don’t know why but it is difficult to take that step with mental health.) We set up a time to meet and I committed to being there. And the moment we hung up I felt better, knowing the first step in the right direction was taken.
I wrestled with the decision to share this experience. I’m doing so because I suspect there is someone on the other side of this screen who feels the need to pursue better mental health. If there is someone there who knows they need to reach out to someone, I hope this bit of scribbling encourages them to touch that call button.
I hope it helps you.
Oh, and feel free to use my line if the person on the other end of the phone asks, ”How are you?” Go ahead, have fun with it.
And, seriously, how are you?