One of the biggest scares of my early life came when I was about six years old and my parents brought me with them to the New York World’s Fair. It was in the heat of summer, in what is easily one of the busiest cities in the world under normalcircumstances. I’d never seen so many people all in one place, all moving and pressing together.
I got lost.
I can still remember the feeling of helpless panic when I realized that I didn’t know where my parents were, or even what direction they might be in. It wasn’t just that I didn’t know what to do—I felt like any move I made would only make matters worse. Thankfully, it wasn’t actually that long before they found me and wrapped me up in a big hug. But for those few moments, I felt totally helpless.
As we grow up, we’ll do just about anything to avoid that sort of feeling. Of course, when you’re talking about a broader sense of being lost in life, like an addiction, or a physical or mental health problem, or a bad relationship versus my example of being physically misplaced as a child, things are not as straightforward. We need something to make us feel secure, even if it isn’t actually bringing us any safety. For instance, this is probably why the self-help industry continues to outsell every other category of books year after year, despite boasting a failure rate of about 97 percent. Problems seem much more bearable if we feel like we have a plan to deal with them. Even putting our faith in a bad plan is easier than admitting that we are well and truly lost.
But obviously, this is a problem. Because as long as we are willing to put up with bad plans, we aren’t very likely to find good ones. Believe me, I know how easily this sort of grim, just-get-on-with-it attitude becomes a habit, and what an effort of will it can be to try and really move forward. I’ve even heard scientific theories stating that when a person has a really serious and persistent problem in their life, there is a limited number of times that they will be able to muster a genuine effort to change it. Eventually, they’ll just give up and accept that they’ll have to live with it.
So we should be careful how we spend those attempts, shouldn’t we? After all, even a purely mental or emotional problem can have a serious physiological effect on you. I’m sure you’ve heard of someone being “in shock,” like after a car crash or some other big trauma—but “shock” is more of a continuum than a singlular state. There is such a thing as partial shock, and the line which causes it is a stress line.
The insidious thing about this kind of internal stress—the thing that makes it so much like being physically lost—is that it’s a problem which also deadens your ability to struggle against it, much like a trap. Fortunately, I can at least tell you how to beginsolving it.
Any lasting physiological stress originates from a lie, which is usually subconscious. Your first weapon should be honesty, taking a long look at yourself and your problem, and admitting to yourself whether you are really lost. My interventions can help you to clear away the physiological stress, and heal the source of those lies. Once that’s done, you can start to make real choices again.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd