I've visited a handful of psychoanalysts over the last year or so for permutations of a common thread with various degrees of abject asininity and downright brilliance. Falling outside the three standard deviations I am assuredly not their common client, and once we spend the first half of the first session establishing that, I relax enough to let them do what their training and experience afford them.
Once this tentative trust is established I reply with overwhelming honesty concerning not only the veracity of my answers, but also the biases on which they are based, my doubts concerning objections I have raised in order to test them, and the outcome of my last baseline. With such a complete answer to each and every question, their subsequent queries are few and far between. Truthfully, this slows me down. I process much faster than they do. But the good ones can get me monologuing. And when I do...
Enter the bumbling-but-affable psychologist I'll codename Colombo. Asking for a list of my "strengths and weaknesses" but then running out of time, I assembled a list for a jaw-dropping show of surprise the next week. Apparently his usual fare isn't as forthcoming with character flaws. But once Colombo finally finished with his, "one more question" routine and got me pontificating, he announced something so completely absurd I was ready to dismiss him altogether - until he qualified it; the reason I prefer the expertise of those who choose a career of open-mindedness over those of us who embrace it as a lifestyle: Experience.
He told me that I had a lot of fear in my life. That I was afraid. Admittedly that didn't sound like me, but the more he went on, the more I could catch glimpses of it - become aware of its presence, like Wormtongue whispering into the ear of King Théoden of Rohan; a Machiavellian seditionist. I ran through all the usual suspects right down the Kübler-Ross model: I denied it, I looked for someone to blame, I tried to justify it, I became consumed by it, and finally I accepted it. Acceptance, while the last step of this pathology, is but the first in the more ubiquitous 12-step ones.
But it wasn't until I'd accidentally triggered something with far-reaching consequences which actually revealed the fear to me. It became opaque in my presence and I shrugged it off like an insidiously woven shroud, staring at its crumpled remains at my feet. Seeing it - identifying it - gave me power over it. For the first time in a long time, I was no longer afraid. And for someone who didn't know they were afraid to begin with? That's some pretty empowering shit.