What limits us? What holds us back? Who holds us down? (And I don’t mean the fun and edgy way!) In life, we come to forks in the road or dead ends and there seems no way through. Failure to succeed. Impasse. Constipation. In medicine, the most common reason for constipation is “functional constipation”. Don’t you like how smoothly I segway from an oblique reference to a little bondage to poopy talk? Clever aren’t I?
Functional constipation is that condition where you just can’t go. You had to go a few hours ago but you were in the middle of Target and you are one of those people who can’t poop in public, so you elect to wait until you’re home. Except now, in the comfort and privacy of your bathroom, the poop ain’t coming. And you could camp until your sciatic nerves are deadened and the poop still ain’t budging. Constipation. And if your natural urge to defecate happens when you are out and about, then several days pass without much other than gas passing. And then you end up in my office complaining of abdominal pain. The diagnosis? F.O.S. Syndrome. You’re full of shit. And it is of your own doing. Either learn to take a dump in unfamiliar places or stay at home during the Magic Minute.
Erectile dysfunction is the same thing. The mind gets in the way of the (little) head. And like any baseball player knows, the psychology of getting a hit is whether or not you got a hit the last time at bat. Sometimes, even the guy who’s smashing them over the green monster can freak out that THIS TIME he’s gonna strike out. Trust me, the sports metaphor helps open the discussion about impotence with the male patient. We all know the professional players can hit a ball. We also know they all occasionally strike out. But they don’t get a choice of not taking a turn at bat. They must overcome the fear. A man can psych himself out and destroy any chance at successful intercourse simply by fearfully anticipating he might fail at intercourse. He’s his own worst enemy.
So often, we are our own worst enemy. We don’t have the good sense to get out of our own way. We have mad skills. We are trained professionals. We’ve done this over and over before. We’ve never failed any previous attempts. We have great stats and outcomes. And yet…..we blow it. We choke. We flub. We stutter. We get stage fright or performance anxiety. And once it happens once…..we fear and dread it will happen again. Then the avalanche begins. We’re in a slump. We have a black cloud.
The goal is to listen to my own rhythm. Trust my intuition about when to swing at the pitches. Within nanoseconds of the ball leaving the pitcher’s fingertips, a batter knows to swing. It happens so fast most experts believe the body decides to swing before the mind cognitively commands the movement. Trusting those inherent, precognitive, primitive instincts has genuine credibility. And if I swing at a brick I have to trust myself and swing AGAIN. Can you imagine deciding to just stop pooping because you gave yourself constipation by refusing to poop at Target when nature called? Absurd. So why would I refuse to strive for a goal simply because the last decision I made that I thought might get me closer to that dream was a colossal failure? Equally absurd.
Just keep trying. Make calculated decisions to swing at the decent pitches. Don’t swing wildly at trash. Don’t close your eyes and swing blindly. Don’t be obstinate and refuse to swing just because the pitcher is an ass. Trust that you’ve hit the ball thousands of times, gotten on base just as many. You can do this! You have done it before! You’ll do it again. Just trust!