In 1989 I was experiencing a series of traumatic
experiences that were beginning to take their toll.
My divorce and separation from my kids were
extremely painful and had begun to negatively
impact my life. I had slipped into a deep state of
depression and was barely able to function on a
daily basis. As my depression deepened I went into
isolation in which I literally shut myself off from
the outside world. Although I was able to go to
work and function in that capacity, I was
completely disconnected from any social settings. I
was not dating. I did not socialize with my
friends. I had difficulty sleeping. I would rarely
eat and I had began to lose weight which was rare
for me being a former personal trainer that took
excellent care of my physical body. After several
months I began to have fleeting thoughts of suicide
and it appeared that my situation was hopeless.
In an effort to alleviate some of the pain, I
begin to read books dealing with depression. As I
read them I could see myself in some of the
stories. I definitely had all of the symptons of
depression and I knew that I had to deal with it
head on if I ever wanted to get my life back on
track. After reading several books I realized that
I was still deeply depressed and had not really
began to deal with the issues that were causing my
depression. Instinctively I knew that I needed help
and I decided that I would go to therapy.
After making the decision to get help, another
series of challenges surfaced. First of all, how
was I going to find a therapist? How would I know
which one to choose? What if the therapist couldn't
help me? Would I be able to change? Could therapy
"fix" me? What about the money? I was completely
broke and definitely could not pay someone to
listen to my problems. What was I going to do?
These are just a few of the questions that were
going through my mind. My greatest fear was
wondering what would happen if my employees found
out. As a manager, I was considered the leader and
I definitely did not want to appear weak in front
of my co-workers. I believed that I needed to keep
this a secret so that I would not lose the respect
of my employees. In addition, I did not want my
superiors to know because I thought I might lose my
job if they found out.
After a few months of agonizing over these
questions I knew that I had to take the chance and
try therapy. I didn't have any other choice. It was
seek help or die. There was no grey area. I decided
that I definitely wanted to live and I somehow
gained the courage to go to the therapist
My first attempt at therapy did not go well. I
walked into a therapist office and pretended that I
was seeking information for a friend. I'm sure the
people there knew this but they allowed me to walk
out with some of their brochures and a phone number
to their suicide hotline. To be honest I was
absolutely terrified. Although I was scared, deep
down I knew that I would have to gain the courage
to try again. I waited a few days and tried a
different therapist office. This time I had a
completely different result. As I walked into the
office I believe the receptionist picked up on my
fear. I had begin asking her questions about
depression and whether or not they had any books
that I could read. All of a sudden a therapist
walked out and began asking me questions. "May I
help you?" she asked. "Not really, I'm just looking
for a little information about depression" " Are
you depressed?" "I'm not really sure" I answered.
"Why don't you come inside and lets talk a little.
Is that alright?" "I guess so."
As I followed her into her office it felt as if
my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I was
so nervous and afraid that I was literally dripping
with sweat. She obviously picked up on this and
began to put my mind at ease.
"What is your name?"
"Well Michael I can sense that you are a little
nervous so let me start by asking what I can do to
help you. Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Well maybe. I have been doing some research
about depression and I think I'm depressed but I'm
really not sure."
"Do you feel depressed"
"Based on what I've read so far I think I am.
But to be completely honest I'm not sure I know
exactly what depression is supposed to feel like.
Does that make any sense to you?'
"It makes a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately
most men do not recognize how they feel. Men have
been conditioned to disconnect from their emotions
and that makes it extremely difficult for men to
express how they really feel. Most men will tell
you what they think but they usually do not know
how they feel. You apparently fit into this
"I'm not sure if I really understand what you
are saying but a part of me thinks that you are
"You just validated the point I made. You are
currently speaking from an intellectual perspective
instead of an emotional one. It sounds as if you
are disconnected from your emotions."
"Lets assume that you are right. If I am
disconnected from my emotions how do I get
reconnected? Do you have any books on how to do
"Unfortunately you can not reconnect to your
emotions by reading books. In order for you to
reconnect you have to relearn how to feel. This can
be accomplished through therapy with me or any
"I really don't understand what you mean. But if
I decide to relearn how to feel how long will it
"I really can't answer that question. It's
really up to you and how committed you are to doing
"What do you mean doing the work? What kind of
work is involved?"
"In the therapeutic community we use the word
work because it takes a considerable amount of
effort to heal yourself so that you can reconnect
with your emotions. Doing the work means that you
become willing to opening yourself up on an
emotional level. This can be quite difficult at
"Well I beleive I'm ready. I'm really tired of
being alone and I definitely want to experience
some fun in my life again. I think I can do this so
how much will it cost?"
"I operate on a sliding scale based on your
ability to pay. The most important thing is for you
to make the commitment to yourself to heal and we
can address the money issue at a later date. Are
you ready to begin? Let's set up a date and time
for you to begin your healing."
"I just wanted to thank you for being so nice
and understanding. The truth is I was about to run
out of your office before you showed up. Now I am
really glad that I came because I really believe
that you can help me."
"That is a great attitude to have. I'm glad that
you trust me enough to work with you. Just remember
that I can guide you but you must be willing to do
the work. As long as you believe that you can heal
I can assure you that you will. Just stay committed
and trust the process and you will be just fine.
The truth is you have already done the hard part by
showing up today. It takes an incredible amount of
courage to be here and I'm proud of you for taking
the first step."
As I left the therapists' office that day I knew
that I had just taken the biggest step of my life.
I did not know what to expect but I knew that I was
willing to do whatever it took to heal my emotions
and relearn how to feel. I became committed to my
own healing and I can now say that I am emotionally
healed and connected to my authentic self. As the
therapist mentioned, it was not easy but it was
definitely possible. It has been one of the most
challenging yet most fulfilling journeys of my
life. I can not put into words the joy I feel on a
regualr basis as a result of doing my emotional
work. My relationships now work, my creativity and
sense of reverence is enhanced, my love of nature
has been rekindled and my professional life is
rewarding and fulfilling. I took the road less
traveled and it has made all the difference in the
world for me.
I wanted to share this story because there is
such a negative stigma about men and therapy that I
believe it's time for a new conversation. In this
new conversation men will recognize the importance
of healing their emotions and they will put forth
the effort to do their healing work. When we learn
to support each other in our growth we can remove
the fear and stigma of being emotionally vulnerable
which will ultimately result in us being happier
human beings. I personally believe that this is the
most important work men can participate in and we
must begin supporting each other through this
process. If we will gain the courage to do this
work we will see a decline in domestic violence,
child abuse, alcoholism and random acts of
The time has come for a new conversation about
our emotional healing. Are you willing to join the
* * *
Taylor is a dreamer, revolutionary, an
entrepreneur, author (A New
development coach and motivational speaker who has
dedicated his life to empowering men (and women) to
reach their full potential. He does not consider
himself to be an expert or guru. He does consider
himself to be extremely knowledgeable in the field
of personal growth and development. The fact is, he
is an ordinary guy that made a commitment to live
an extraordinary life and he wants to challenge you
to do the same. E-Mail
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