This week marks the 12th anniversary of the most important phone call I ever made. Here’s how it unfolded…
It was Friday morning. My fear of the police was now bordering on dangerous. I was beginning to act irrationally, and my desperation to avoid police officers and patrol cars was going to end in disaster. Victim Support had done all they could for me, but they said I needed more help than they could offer. Through their contacts, they had come up with a list of five Clinical Psychologist. There was one on the list that had dealt with ‘police phobia’ before, but they weren’t allowed to recommend one over the other. In desperation, I asked how I was supposed to know which one that was? The helpful woman offered to fax me the list and put that name at the top of the list.
It took me two hours to place that call, and the answer was not what I expected. It was a paging service! ‘Dr Lee’s phone,’ the voice said. ‘What message would you like to leave?’
‘Um, I… um…’ I stammered, not sure what to say. ‘Um, Victim Support think I need to see someone.’
‘Your name and contact number…?’ I gave my details, and the phone operator continued. ‘Thank you, we’ll pass the message on.’
Great, I thought. Now what? Two minutes later, my phone rang and it was Dr Lee, who asked if I was Doris.’
‘Yes,’ I said, and repeated what I’d told the phone operator. ‘Victim Support think I need to see someone.’ There was a moment of silence and I waited to see if he would ask me what the problem was. He didn’t, so I didn’t offer any more information.
‘Okay,’ he replied, a bit hesitantly. ‘My next available appoint is August 22nd.’
‘If there’s a cancelation, would you be interested?’
He took my address, saying that he would post me an appointment card and instructions on how to get to his place, then he was gone.
I put the phone down and shook my head. You bet…? I actually said, you bet…? Oh, man. What must he think of me?!
Two hours later he called back, saying he had a cancelation for Monday at 10am.
And that’s how the rest of my life started. During my very first session, Dr Lee explained that what I was about to learn would set me up for the rest of my life. I worked hard. Really, really hard – and at times I think he had to work hard too! But he was right. What I learned has changed the way I think, feel and act. I am a much stronger person than I ever thought I could be.
There is nothing wrong with getting help if you think you need it. And sometimes the first help you seek may not be the help you need. Follow you instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, look somewhere else. Dr Lee was my second attempt. The first councillor was way off the mark, and I knew it. I tried three sessions and then I was out of there! It takes courage to try again.