The One Conversation That Transformed My Life

I regularly use a handy tool called “Wordsmith” from BestSelf. It’s a deck of cards with all sorts of tough journaling prompts intended to promote deep thinking and growth.

“What’s one conversation that transformed your life?” was the card I pulled the other day.

“Oof,” I cringed to myself when I saw this one. But, I’ve been meaning to share some of these journaling exercises and I’m sure some people out there might relate.

Awayyy we go!

I was considered a “troubled youth” in my late teen years.
This looked like metal music, long hair, not showing up for jobs consistently, staying up all night, sleeping in all day, cheating on my then girlfriend, smoking 3 packs a day, public drunkenness (thanks to a friend who thought it was hilarious and pushed me into it), and wearing nothing but girl pants and band shirts.
I certainly was a little turd, but wouldn’t say my behaviors were so outlandish as to be labeled a “troubled youth.” At worst, I partook in some Jackass and CKY style stunts with friends and cousins.

I didn’t touch drugs.
I never was arrested — or even had run ins.
I never got into fights, I always tried to be diplomatic when my friends did get into fights.
Looking back, I think I was just a little mischievous, lost and confused like every other hormone-drenched kid.

My parents, concerned, got me a psychiatrist name Dr. Ahmed.
He was very down to Earth, human, and empathetic. What was most memorable, however, was that he could read people very well. He knew my family were the type that he could joke with, and I remember more than once him making a soft crack at me having longer hair or wearing girl pants. They weren’t mean jokes, just playful jabs. There was a certain warmth to his demeanor at all times.
Dr. Ahmed always patted my back or rubbed my shoulders and for the most part was piercingly observant and astute.

He diagnosed me as bipolar and prescribed me medication.

At first, I did take them.
However, they made my life feel like it was in washed-out hues, like an image edited to be in grayscale.
Nothing felt as alive as it once had.
I didn’t feel like I was Lucas.

After a short while, I stopped taking the meds. I had a small moment where I glimpsed self-awareness and self-accountability and knew that, even if I wasn’t a full-blown miscreant deserving of prison, I was setting myself onto a bad path and I needed to do better.

After a couple years seeing Ahmed, I very vividly remember him, my parents and I in his office.
To him, he wasn’t seeing any progress.
To my parents, they didn’t see it. But inside, I knew I was clawing at the very bottom of a ravine alongside a mountain, scratching my way out.

“I don’t think you’ll ever be able to support yourself,” he began in a serious tone, “and I think you’ll have a hard time maintaining relationships.”

I gulped.

“You’ll need to set up government assistance — which I can help with. There’s no way you’ll be able to maintain a full-time job or salary. You’ll probably live on state aid,” and there was more to the conversation —but, I tuned him out after this.

I was offended and angry.

Offended because he doubted my potential.
Angry because I knew I wasn’t living up to my potential.

And he was right … if I didn’t get my poop in a group.

In the end? Well, I gradually turned my life around.
I graduated near the top of my class with a BS in Psychology, emphasis on Behavioral Analysis where I was personally invited into multiple graduate level courses. I went on to do nearly 10 years in varying leadership jobs. I quit smoking (and later drinking) cold turkey after weathering terrible addictions. I wrote a whole novel (which will never be published lol) and started actually using my skills in English. I survived a divorce. I bought, renovated, planned and coordinated the purchase of and flipping of a house which I managed renting out and then sold for a profit.

I’m now a Realtor and well known name in my community. I’m writing a book of self-help/philosophy. And so on!

In punctuation — I often wonder about Dr. Ahmed.
He was a good psychiatrist and a good man. But, even with this — he was wrong about me. I still think back to the conversation and remember I yet have a long climb ahead. However, as the years have passed, I no longer care about “crushing goals” and securing a legacy. I care about enjoying the journey up the mountain, with everyone!

Everyone has their “one conversation” where they have “the gulp” and cold realization.
What is the “one conversation” for you?

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