A few weeks ago I got asked to give a guest lecture on addiction to a psychology undergraduate class at the University of Auckland. To be fair, I was asked to fill in for the person who usually gives the lecture, who couldn’t make it. But I still felt just a little bit chuffed to be asked at all, given that I’m still really early in my career. And nervous of course, giving a lecture to 150 students is no walk in the park when you’re not the biggest fan of public speaking!
I have a confession to make (but it’s not such a bad one). TED, a worldwide organisation which brings together speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity, has a Youtube channel entirely devoted to short educational videos on a wide range of topics. My confession is that I’ve been slightly addicted to watching them lately, finding myself lost in a spiral of absorbing information on everything from how you digest food to how people lived in ancient Rome. They’re fascinating, and I strongly suggest you try them out.
I have a strong value around generosity in my life. I like to give to others, whether it be time, energy, or money/resources (when I can afford it). I try to be a giving and generous friend, partner, family member and employee. I’ve based my whole career as a therapist around being generous – giving freely of my emotional energy and support to others. This isn’t always a good thing.
What do you think of when I talk about addiction? Maybe wild parties, immoral people without boundaries, illicit drug use, a debaucherous lifestyle? Perhaps you imagine the popular idea of an “addict” – someone who either can’t control themselves or makes a choice to take drugs to the detriment of their own wellbeing.
I suppose you could say I’ve had a bit of a rough start to the year. Some stomach issues which started just before Christmas 2017 cumulated in finding out I had acute cholecystitis – a condition where gallstones had blocked my bile duct, causing inflammation and a host of other more serious health risks. I had to have a cholecystectomy (surgery to have my gallbladder removed) urgently, exactly one week before going on a three week holiday in Vietnam!
Early last year I talked about my newly developed anxiety around flying. In an effort to help me manage the problem better, later in the year I attended a “Flying without fear” course held out at Auckland Airport. Today I thought I’d share a few of the things that I learned in the hopes that it might help other people with a fear of flying.
The course contained a lot of information – some of it I already knew, some I knew about but had forgotten, and some was entirely new (and very helpful).
Sometimes I wonder if therapists, in general, have a bit of an image problem. So this month I decided to play the role of Agony Aunt.