I know what you’re thinking…
I know what you are thinking, "I need someone to tell me what I need to do and I need to just suck it up and do it!"
My name is Sean LeFloch, I have been at an extremely high level my entire life. My adage was always, “Suck it up, go harder,” or “Know pain, know gain.” I came to a point in my late 20s where I was disconnected, lonely, and constantly chasing my next achievement. I had just sustained a back injury bad enough that I had to be carried out of the gym writhing in pain. I told my good friend about it and he said that there could be some psychosomatic elements to what was going on with me. I thought, no way man, I have a bad back. How do I fix this? He suggested I read a book, “The Divided Mind,” by Dr. Jon E Sarno. My life changed forever.
In The Divided Mind, Dr. Sarno talks about how most back pain is actually due to unconscious thoughts and feeling manifesting as pain (usually in the neck and back. Back other ailments are common as well like irritable bowl, allergies, and insomnia to name a few). I listened to the audiobook and once I got done, there was a place inside that said, “You have to address this.” In thinking about it now, I guess it was my egoic mind saying, “Another mountain, let’s go!” But hey, it was a start. I bit the bullet and met with a therapist who was a member at the gym I worked at. Tall, and covered in tattoos, I really didn’t know what to expect. She was stoic when I spoke briefly about my situation, and only spoke when it seemed necessary. We agreed to meet for a trial one on one at Her office.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I sat down in Her office. I was vulnerable and I had my walls up. I don’t get defensive when I am vulnerable, I get overly accepting. I acclimate to exactly what the other person wants and needs. She smelled this out right away and started prodding here and there. After I explained that I had been sexually abused by a family member, she asked me how I felt about it now. When I responded, “Nothing really,” she followed, “Really, have you ever sat and felt about it?” There is nothing to feel I thought to myself. “Just take a second to breathe and sit with it for a second,” she offered. That’s when things started to feel different. I felt my heart start to race and my hands became clammy. I started to fidget. I was uncomfortable. I was vulnerable. I felt the walls closing in on me. We didn’t go too far into detail during our first meeting, but I was given a homework assignment, find a picture of myself when I was a child and bring it into our next meeting. I stood up and before I was able to shuffle away with a no eye contact goodbye, She stopped me in my tracks, “We don’t leave without a hug,” she stated. I reached my arms out and gave a half hearted attempt, the “ass out” hug if you will. This will not do was the message I got as she pulled me in close, chest to chest. I felt awkward. These types of hugs were something I tried to avoid at all costs. No way am I intimate with people. What if they fall in love with me? What if they become attached? What if I become attached. As I counting the hours that went by in the hug, I realized it was really only a few seconds. I took a breath and then the hug was released. I realized after what She was waiting for, me to surrender. It felt like death, but I know deep down it is exactly what I needed. I left the office with some notes in my hand and as I walked to the parking lot, something different emerged in me. Something strange. I started to laugh uncontrollably. I was cackling like I heard my mother do so many times before. This uncontrollable laughter. As I sat in the car and looked at myself in my rearview mirror, I saw tears streaming down my face. I was also hysterically crying as well! I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, I broke my brain.” While riding in my car back home, I sent a text message to Her, “I think I might have blown a casket,” and explained what was going on driving down a interstate highway. She said, “This is not uncommon. You have been suppressing a lot of emotions and feelings for decades. This will pass, but this is only the start.” I got home that afternoon and sat down on the couch for a second realizing I was probably going to be ok, but I knew my life would never be the same again.