My Guardian Experience
My own counseling
Until I received counseling, I had the image that counseling was something that people with mental problems would rush to when they were in dire need of help. So, when my son’s school teacher recommended (half-heartedly) that I go for counseling, I was inwardly repulsed, “Why me? I thought to myself,
“There is nothing wrong with me, so why? I don’t need counseling! I was so stubborn in my thinking.
It was painful for me to go to counseling. I thought it was a waste of time.
Nevertheless, as I went to the counseling sessions, my stiffened thoughts seemed to gradually loosen up. One day, as I was driving and looking at the clear sky through the windshield, I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a nice sky,” “I like it, the clouds look nice,” “I want to be like that,” and then I thought, “Don’t I feel good now?” “Don’t I feel refreshed?” I suddenly burst into tears and could not drive any further. I pulled over to the side of the road and thought about all the things I had said to the counselor and my stubborn attitude toward him. I wanted to see the counselor, so I immediately made an appointment and went to the counseling session. What happened to me at that time was what we call “insight” in counseling. It was as if the dark clouds in my mind had lifted and I could see a clear blue sky. I ended my counseling session by telling the counselor everything that had happened to me and the thoughts that had been going through my head.
*”Insight” comes from Gestalt psychology, a concept that describes the mental process when, through trial and error, one suddenly finds a solution and takes action to achieve that goal.
This experience was a huge one for me. As I was, when people think and worry by themselves, they just go around in circles in the same place and do not come to a solution. In order to talk to others, you need to construct sentences in your head and explain what you are talking about, and having others look at you objectively can help you organize your thoughts.
However, not just anyone can be the person you talk to. It needs to be someone who will not criticize you and who you feel comfortable.
We don’t like to be criticized for our thoughts or judged by people who don’t know us well.
and we don’t like to show our weaknesses to our family and friends, who are the people we are dealing with regularly.
In this sense, a counselor is a “near and far stranger” who is very easy to talk to.
To have a sense of “being connected to someone” now that you are alive.
My first assignment at the airline was at Newark Airport in New Jersey. The airline I worked for had two direct flights from New York to Tokyo, one is from JFK Airport, and the other from Newark Airport in New Jersey, which is adjacent to Manhattan, and from here, there were many people commuted to Manhattan, also, many Japanese companies, such as Panasonic, Cannon, Fijitsu were based in New Jersey, so there was a demand for Japanese flights. Four planes were used in the attacks, two American Airlines and two United Airlines, the two United Airlines planes were on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles and a flight from Newark to San Francisco. Seven of my co-workers were on the flight from Newark, and on the 82nd floor of the World Trade Center, where the plane crashed, my co-workers from the bank where I used to work were working. Those at the bank who heard the alarm before getting on the elevator and evacuated were spared, while those who had already arrived at work and were in their offices were unable to evacuate. The time difference is said to be as short as five minutes and as long as one minute. All airports in the U.S. were closed, and the bridges and tunnels to Manhattan were also blocked, so there was no way to get in or out of Manhattan. The airports reopened a week later, but I wasn’t ready to fly yet, so I applied for a month off and was able to go back to work in the middle of October.
While I was absent from work, I watched the news on TV and saw the number of victims increasing day by day. I still don’t know the exact number of people who were killed in the end, and the whole United States was covered with a dark and heavy cloud of tragedy. Even when I went out in my neighborhood, discriminatory persecution of dark-skinned people and people of Muslim descent had begun. Meanwhile, I was hearing about the disappearance of other colleagues from the airline and my former bank colleagues, and we were updating each other on what was going on. Each time I attended the funerals of these fallen colleagues, I experienced feelings of resentment, anger, hatred, injustice, pity, helplessness, and many other emotions, as I was confronted with the fragility of life and the sorrow of those who were left behind.
Then, I received an invitation to a joint memorial service for American Airlines and United Airlines at Newark Airport. It was a large venue with probably over 300 people in attendance, and in the center of the room was a large monitor showing pictures of the deceased. In the center of the room, a large monitor showed pictures of the staff and the representatives of the bereaved families gave speeches about each of them. One of the flight attendants on the flight from Newark Airport was a female flight attendant who had just returned from maternity leave. It was the first flight after her maternity leave, so her baby was only three months old. As soon as her husband came on stage with the baby in his arms, everyone was sobbing. After talking about his wife’s profile and episodes with her husband, he said, “I know you are all going through a lot. But there is something we have to do. I’m going to raise this child well,” she said. The other person was a male crew member who had been working for less than a year and was hired at the same time as the female crew member on this flight. “She and I were on standby at a hotel near Newark Airport. She and I were having coffee at the hotel restaurant when her cell phone rang and she was called for this flight. If I had been called, I would have been the one on this flight. But God chose her. I was not chosen. Then I have to fulfill my mission until the day I am chosen. Afterwards, the bereaved family members who gave speeches gave us words of encouragement. As we listened to the speeches, we held hands with our neighbors and formed a big circle, which gave us courage and made me determined to look forward.
One month later, I was on a flight to London.
The flight from Newark to London was the same model as the one used in the terrorist attack (B-767), and it could accommodate more than 300 passengers. When I was inside the plane, I once again felt a shiver run through my body as I thought, “How could you crashed into a building with such a big plane…” I didn’t feel like living until the plane actually took off and landed. I think the passengers and crew were probably thinking similar things. But I guess people on airplanes are all destined to be together, and in a way, so are people living here on earth. This is what made me start to think seriously about death and the meaning of life. Yes, death is scary and horrible, but none of us can escape it. That is why I think it is very reassuring to live every day with a sense of being connected to someone, now that we are alive.