Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Chinese Proverb
I have been actively practicing as a therapist since 2002. Believe it or not, I did not want to become one. I always wanted to draw and learn more about the arts. As a kid, my mom will agree that I am xenophobic, I cry in the presence of other people, I just do not like to be around them because they scare me. I would rather be apart from the rest of the world, be in my own zone (It did not go away completely by the way). Don’t get me wrong, I developed and formed friendships along the way. I had my own posse in school, but they were as broken, misfit toys like I was so we dig each other. Looking at old class pictures, I noticed that non showed me smiling, all grumpy and serious. Though not very good at it then, I found pleasure in copying/drawing characters from comics or pictures. I can be left alone with papers and number 2 pencil and I would be alright. I remember my Aunt, who used to own a small embroidery company, asked me to make impromptu sketches for all of her employees while working, and I would always indulge her. I joined and won several poster making contests as a kid too. My greatest work was a charcoal of my Mom when she was a young girl that I did almost non-stop for 2 days. It is still framed hanging somewhere at my parents’ old house. You see, I am not half as bad an artist. People who know me would say, I could easily be one given the right training. I like still life, portraits and whatever they call it in the art world. I can basically create life in 2 dimensions. Doing so meant being more isolated, aloof and eventually depressed (I will talk more about depression in the future). Taking Occupational Therapy course in college was my own personal therapy, with the initial goal of fixing myself from years of training as a hermit. Being a therapist did not only help me on the personal level in the long run but more. It made my world bigger. I got to know more about people, cultures here and abroad, personality and building rapport. It helped me to listen, understand and give real empathy about the whims and difficulties of my patients. It all serves as my guide in developing realistic goals and treatments for them. Being a therapist made me selfless. Although I succumb to deep depression sometimes and could use some help, somehow working with patients with handicap who are going through more than my personal suffering keeps me optimistic in life. Prioritizing them first and showing them just a glimmer of hope to recover somehow is a flood of light to my dark and heavy thoughts. If I used to create life with paper and pencil, being a therapist allowed me to create life for real, an instrument to second chance in life, an instrument to recovery, an instrument to independence. Yes, I still take pleasures in silence, in being alone, in the arts. All of which are nothing though compared to witnessing the helpless push the boundaries to independence, to see shackles of impairments breaking as patients reach their maximum potential. Yes, until now, I am not half as bad as an artist, I just became a better therapist. I am your therapist!