"The hard part," Tom said, "is to refer back to the times you're sane, you're happy, and you don't feel as crappy as you do right now."
Tom is an ex-Marine. Did two tours in Afghanistan, and transferred to the Pentagon to assist in developing plans for further cyber security development.
"I'm in an office. All day long, I'm dealing with charts and numbers and algorithms. My face hurts reading this stuff. I'd rather be holding a weapon, leading my men."
"The battle, the fight gave me focus. I felt a purpose in the field. Now, I'm just a guy in an office wondering what to do next. That was when the anxiety and depression hit me."
When Tom called, he said it was difficult for him to focus, let alone get his work done.
In our first session, I asked Tom about focus, and where his thoughts and images settled in the midst of his office work. "Interesting you ask me about focus." Tom smiled and recalled what a colleague from boot camp at the Marine Corps. "He got pushed around a lot. He made it through, but nobody thought he would."
"That guy said that his father, also a Marine, told him that when he got upset or worried about something, that he should "find your mark." What that meant to him, I guess, was find or focus on a place he felt was something good, or pleasant, or even neutral. When this guy found his "mark" he told me that he would focus on something outwardly or inwardly, and if he couldn't see or hear it, he would close his eyes and bring the image into focus. His girlfriend's face, the moon, his eyes on the horizon, and picture himself with that image."
"I haven't thought about this in twenty years. But back then, whenever I got upset or afraid, I started following this guy's example. When I changed the focus, or when I "set the mark" on my where I put my thoughts or vision, I just stayed there. I used to think about my front porch at home. It was where I spend most of my childhood. Once I had that image, and held it for a minute or so, the rest of my issues just dissolved.
"That was my mark. I set that when I got upset. And I haven't thought about that in twenty years."
He thanked me and left. We spoke and he was grateful that he remembered that man from so many years ago.
That was my last session with Tom. He found his mark. I hope this helps you find yours, too.