Transcript of 20th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Friday, October 10, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Tom. Come in.
Mr. Darden: Hi, Charles. Thanks.
Dr. Balis: Tomorrow's the big day?
Mr. Darden: Yes. My plane leaves at 6:45 am. I change planes in Dallas and then fly directly to Freeport International Airport on Grand Bahama Island. If you're American, you don't need a passport. But I went ahead and got one anyway--just in case I ever decide to do more traveling.
Dr. Balis: What does your itinerary look like?
Mr. Darden: Looks pretty busy--a lot of company briefings, meetings, and awards ceremonies with some free time to explore the island in between. I guess there's a giant marketplace down there in Port Lacuya that's worth seeing. If we have a lot of time on our hands, we might get a chance to visit some of the nearby islands. But from the looks of things, they're going to throw in a lot of boring company-related brown-nosing events to offset the fun.
Dr. Balis: How are you feeling about this trip now? Any second thoughts?
Mr. Darden: No. I'm really looking forward to it. I really am! I feel somehow that this is the start of a change for me--a change for the better.
Dr. Balis: I've noticed you're in much higher spirits than you've been in long while, perhaps higher than I've ever seen from you.
Mr. Darden: Yeah. I don't know how to describe it, Charles. I've been depressed about my life's path and my future almost as long as I can remember. And then only a few days ago, I awoke with a completely different perspective on everything. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of acceptance of my identity.
Dr. Balis: Do you think this feeling will pass or do you think it's a sign of better things to come?
Mr. Darden: You won't believe me when I say this, but yeah, I believe things are going to really start happening in my life--it will be unlike anything I've experienced before. I feel energetic again, and I'm looking toward the next few months with a great sense of enthusiasm.
Dr. Balis: I'm very happy to hear this, Tom, but it all seems a bit sudden. I just hope you aren't trying to mask your anxiety with these feelings--not just from me but from yourself.
Mr. Darden: No, I don't think I am. I feel much more aware about things right now. It's like a quarter of my brain that had lain dormant all my life has suddenly activated, giving me a burst of clarity about what goals to achieve and how to make them happen.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I'll have to admit you seem to have changed. Dramatically. I really don't know whether to congratulate you or caution you, Tom. How are things with Karina, by the way?
Mr. Darden: I called her back the night after our last session. We talked for about two hours. I let her know explicitly how I felt and why I had reacted the way I had. I told her I felt she was only being my friend when it was convenient for her and that she acted very patronizing toward me. She basically acknowledged that she had. We both agreed to cool off our seeing each other in any form for a little while. Besides, she has a very hectic quarter at night school, and she's investing more time than usual into her studies as a result. I haven't spoken to Karina since that night, but I'll see her before I leave--she's agreed to take care of my cat while I'm gone.
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about this? Have you accepted the situation?
Mr. Darden: I feel I have. It's time to move on, in more ways than one. I've wasted a lot of my life looking back on things and regretting all the opportunities I let slip from my grasp. I'm getting to an age now where I can't afford to ignore any more chances that come my way. I think my greatest problem in the past was waiting around for the big fish to swim by, overlooking the smaller ones that were more easily within reach. It's gotten to the point now where most of the schools have migrated to other waters and I'm running out of bait.
Dr. Balis: You must be ready for an island vacation with an analogy like that one.
Mr. Darden: Yeah, I guess so. It's true though. I need to start giving myself permission to explore the chances that now present themselves instead of remaining idle.
Dr. Balis: It truly gives me hope to hear you say these things, and you seem truly optimistic. But there's this nagging voice in my head that tells me you're really just trying to make a sale. Are you simply attempting to convince me you're now okay?
Mr. Darden: I don't feel I need to convince anyone. I know how I feel, and I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead.
Dr. Balis: Then why did I just see murder in your eyes when I asked if you were trying to make a sale?
Mr. Darden: I'm not sure I know...
Dr. Balis: Of course you do. Tom, covering up your pain with this flowery speech about change isn't going to erase your problems. Like it or not, you're going to have to deal with them head on.
Mr. Darden: I have dealt with them head on, Charles. I assure you, I really have changed since you saw me last. We've spent countless sessions dealing with a lot of the things that have happened to me--all the crap in my life that has made me a bitter, cynical man. Through those sessions, I've realized that all my time is invested dwelling on the past, and in so doing, I've only added to the negativity on which I reflect. I'm constantly giving myself new material to brood upon.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. We're in agreement there.
Mr. Darden: Good! Whether you agree about the rest of it isn't important to me. I've made my conclusions, and I feel it's time to act upon them.
Dr. Balis: It sounds to me like you have more plans than you're willing to disclose to me. Or perhaps you have no plans at all and are afraid someone might expose that fact?
Mr. Darden: My plans aren't concrete, if that's what you're suggesting.
Dr. Balis: I'm suggesting only that you're trying to make giant leaps when you should be taking small steps.
Mr. Darden: Thanks, Mr. Armstrong.
Dr. Balis: I'm serious. All too often, I've heard you speak of wanting to take these great strides and make dramatic changes. But what you don't realize is that getting to that point takes a series of smaller steps.
Mr. Darden: Okay.
Dr. Balis: You can't get from point "A" to point "C" without point "B."
Mr. Darden: I get the picture.
Dr. Balis: All right. Oh, is it time to leave already?
Mr. Darden: Well, I have a lot of packing to do.
Dr. Balis: Did you want to schedule another appointment before you go?
Mr. Darden: Actually, can we leave that open for a while?
Dr. Balis: Very well.
Mr. Darden: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: You seem suddenly troubled. Is there something else?
Mr. Darden: Nothing, really. I guess you've really had me pegged all along. I really don't have this great sense of who I am. Last week, I read this article about people who have committed suicide. In almost every instance documented, their friends and relatives talked about this period just before they died where they'd seemed very satisfied and happier than they'd ever been--completely at peace. Once they had made the decision to die, it was like this tremendous veil had been lifted from their eyes, and they could see everything clearly, and all their answers were before them. In their final decision they found true happiness. I envy that feeling, Charles. I envy the way those people felt. And I admire them. I really do. Take care of yourself, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Wait a minute, Tom. Tom?
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

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