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“But…doctor, you don’t understand…”

Twenty one year old Jay entered my office utterly perplexed.  Within seconds he spelled out his dilemma:  “Doctor, I got a problem and I need to figure it out now, today.  I don't know what to do with my life.  Should I be a lawyer or a doctor or maybe a professor but I also love musical theatre and I can sing and dance….I can’t stop thinking about this day after day.  I know this all sounds sort of crazy but I keep talking about this and I’m driving every one around me nuts.  Can you help me decide…please?!”

So, we talked.  We talked for a good hour.  It was quite clear that Jay was consumed with obsessional thinking, something he likely inherited from his father.  Perhaps a medication, like Prozac, might help, at least to some degree.

But there was more, much more, to Jay’s cries for help.  He was a searcher,  searching for himself.  At age 21, he was on a journey, a good and necessary journey, a journey not unlike many his age.  We talked about his identity, or rather his lack of identity, and I told him that we should talk more about this, that the decision about profession was simply not possible right away……..

“But…doctor, you don’t understand…”.

Well, maybe I didn’t understand, maybe my initial approach was too strong, too direct.  Jay, like many of us, was locked inside his own head, his own perceptions, a prisoner of limited insight, and pleaded that I give him the specific answer, now, today, to his perplexed state.

“Man can never be happy if he does not nourish his soul as he does his body.”

            (Menachem Mendel Schneerson)

The good news is that Jay came back the next week and the week after that and the week after that….and we walked his journey together.

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