A number of years ago a client come to me in a horrible stressed out condition. He was having multiple problems in his business and married life. He came for one session, and promised to call soon to make another appointment, which he never did. About three months later I bumped into a mutual friend who told me the gentleman had had a nervous breakdown just a few days ago.
As a courtesy, a couple of days later I went and visited the man in the hospital. When I walked into his room I was surprised to see his face had a radiance to it that I had not seen during our one session together. Somewhat tentatively I asked how he was doing, expecting to hear a tale of woe. The man looked at me, smiled, and said the following:
"I feel very lucky right now. Very blessed. I've let go of everything I was trying to hold onto before, and I feel at peace with the world. What happened to me was so surreal," he said. "I was sitting in an unemployment office waiting my turn, all the time feeling more and more agitated. The next thing I knew ‘Poof' I passed out and woke up here in this bed. Upon opening my eyes, for the first time in my life there was a deafening quiet inside my head, and a great calmness in my body that touched my soul. For the first time in my life I had no internal dialogue, and this was a very amazing and wonderful experience. Had I known a nervous breakdown could feel so good I would have had one years ago!"
"You see," he said, "when I first came to see you I was afraid of losing my job, my wife, and my house. The thought of losing all that was dear to me had me in a state of frenzy."
"As it turned out, I did lose my job, and without any savings I soon had to hand over our house to the bank. When my wife heard about losing the house, she up and left me the same day. I collapsed in the unemployment office two days later."
"But now, having been through the very worst, I feel like a young man starting out all over again! I have new dreams, a new way of thinking about life, a whole new set of opportunities ahead of me, and for the first time in my life I'm not afraid!"
"My only regret, and it's a small regret, is that I didn't have my nervous breakdown much sooner. For then, I could have much sooner gotten into living the life that's ahead of me now. Foolish me, I just didn't realize how fantastic a nervous breakdown could be! I'm here now, alive and kicking, and all the worst is behind me. I've lost everything, but in the process I've gained a new perspective on life, and I feel like a rich man. It's such a joy to know I no longer need to live in fear."
After chatting a bit longer and basking in the man's enthusiasm for life, I finally got ready to leave.
"One more thing," he said. "When a client comes to you stressed out and fearful, suggest the best thing they can do is have a nervous breakdown right then and there. There's no sense in prolonging the agony! Believe me, the sooner you completely let go of all the excess energy stress traps in your body, the better life will be. There's no greater loss, than losing your day to day happiness."
I was so happy to hear what this man was saying. In the process of finally being released from the tyranny of his fear, he attained great wisdom and peace of mind.
And on my way out the door the man made one last remark, "Since I no longer own a house, I no longer need to spend three hours every Saturday afternoon cutting the lawn. That in itself is a huge blessing!"
Having grown up in suburbia, I realized the truth of what he said.