“Turn round and take a look at that photo on the wall. Notice how the ship is half sunk? Our emotions are like that. They sometimes get submerged and eventually they need to surface.”
I turned to look at the painting as he suggested while also wondering when he might be retiring. I chose him because he was in his eighties and had over fifty years experience. I was prejudiced, an ageist of the young, not yet having figured out that age doesn’t equal wisdom or knowledge.
He was tired. Too tired to hear about what I came to him for. He wanted to discuss the painting, the books on his bookshelf and a variety of antidepressants he said he would let me choose from.
He felt like an old friend that wanted to clue me in on the secrets of psychedelics but as compromise would instead allow me to pick psychotropics from a mental health drug guide. He ran his finger down the pages, stopping on occasion to explain the pros and cons of several options.
I was leaned in close to read the small print as he read the side effects and began feeling anxiety in the realization I’d made a poor choice in selecting him. He’d assumed I wanted a script.
But I wasn’t there with a desire to be sent home to a self-tranquilizer party. Leaning back I expounded on my plight to let him know I’d tried antidepressants in the past and couldn’t handle them. They tended to cause anxiety as my mind puzzled through the potential short and long-term impact they were having post ingestion, which ultimately led to internal mind battles hoping to diffuse the effects. I didn’t want to be in that position again. I just wanted tangible tools to utilize with my natural thought processes.
After I explained myself he suggested I consult with his colleague across the hall. Said colleague had ten years experience and was in his forties so still with prejudice I declined. Based on experience I’d concluded the younger psychologists couldn’t puzzle me while older ones wanted to sedate me.
After that session, I became slightly obsessed with submarines, and learned later that semi-submersibles are extremely stable and have multiple frequency hydrodynamic responses across a wide spectrum. It led me to conclude that it’s natural and likely good to maintain some level of emotional submersion.
The doctor asked me to focus on the submersion in the painting, not the part of the ship that had surfaced and was already in light and I found that fascinating. In time, embracing that light helped to turn many of my emotional icebergs to puddles.