A Shaman’s Remedy For My Panic Disorder: No Orgasms
March 22, 2015 - accent chair
I lay behind on his massage list as he pulpy his hands with all his weight into a soothing hankie underneath my sternum. This was not during all like a massage. It harm like hell.
I had been saying a shaman to repair my self-diagnosed stress disorder. There were many posh shamans or healers or tangible doctors in Manhattan that we could have seen, yet this was a shaman my mom referred me to years ago.
My girlfriend, Nancy, sat in a shaman’s watchful room, a slight space with grass chairs. It was her initial visit.
We were vital in Brooklyn, during her place. we was overstressed, Googled-out, and not respirating right.
Before we told him about my panic attacks, he took one demeanour during me and pronounced he knew a problem. we suspect it was clear. we struggled to breathe.
I had mislaid how to breathe like a normal person. Every time we would try, my throat would tighten. A vigour grew in my nasal form that would freshness into a behind of my skull. It became a pointy pain in my chest. we couldn’t sleep. we attempted to omit it, yet that usually finished me concentration on it more.
Naturally, we figured it was fatal. Through Yahoo Answers, we found a village of people who also forgot how to breathe.
This was good news. Some of them had posted online about their symptoms as distant behind as 2006. What gave me wish was that those same people had been reposting until recently. They survived. we slept good that night.
I still couldn’t locate a genuine breath. The some-more we suspicion about breathing, a reduction we indeed could. The Internet concluded … we couldn’t shake what was clearly apropos a psychological problem. we had no health word either. we usually had my aged pediatrician, who would see me out of pity, yet we unequivocally didn’t wish to lay in his watchful room, 27 years old, surrounded by toddlers, their relatives disturbed about a creepy 27-year-old male reading Highlights magazines.
Thankfully, we had a shaman. He took cash.
The shaman asked me to tell him a initial things that popped into my conduct when we suspicion about my anxiety. Those tender thoughts would be a procedure behind my condition.
What wasn’t wrong? My college debt. My debt debt. Was we prolific enough? Maybe we used a Internet too much. Did we exercise? we told myself that holding a stairs instead of a conveyor would keep me alive longer.
I told him that we was stressed about work. He complicated my face, put dual fingers on my carotid artery and counted my pulse. He pushed divided from me on his pivot chair and asked, “Do we always orgasm during sex?”
“Yes,” we didn’t have to consider too hard.
“Does she?” He nodded toward Nancy in a watchful room.
“I consider so.” If she didn’t, afterwards she had been an implausible singer in bed. we second-guessed myself underneath a inspection of a shaman.
He put his ride and forefinger underneath my right ear and whispered an peculiar settlement of numbers. He had finished this to me before.
“You can't ejaculate for 6 weeks,” he said. we never saw him so grave. “Your life force is low. You’re down to 5 percent. This is really bad.” He looked during me as yet we shouldn’t be alive. “You concentration on her and usually her. Nothing for we for 6 weeks.”
He pronounced there would be 3 things that I’d learn about myself during this intentional duration on orgasms. When a 6 weeks were up, if we hadn’t figured them out, we contingency call him and he’d tell me.
I initial met a shaman when we had these drug-resistant allergies that wouldn’t go away. My pediatrician, whom we saw via college, pronounced I’d tested disastrous for everything. One of his nurses joked that we was “allergic to Earth.”
My mom had a crony who had a crony who was marinated by a shaman. “Cured her breast cancer,” she said. “She was in and out of treatments. Chemo. It was awful. Nothing worked. She was counting down a days. Then she found out about a shaman. You should call him. You never know.”
I devoted a lead, we was unfortunate to get absolved of a allergies, and so we gave a shaman a call. He had a thick African accent. we finished an appointment to accommodate him during his bureau in Scranton, Penn. The final place I’d approaching to find a shaman. But, we never know.
If he could heal breast cancer, we thought, afterwards he could kick my allergies no problem.
When we suspicion of shamans we suspicion of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or new-age ladies in suburbia wrapped in tie-dye tapestries. we wanted a bone-through-the-nose magician doctor.
On a two-hour expostulate to accommodate him, we wondered if I’d have a prophesy query in Scranton. we satisfied we hadn’t Googled him. The Internet would apart a genuine shamans from a fake shamans. At a time, we didn’t have a phone with Internet.
I was astounded when a tiny black male with a skinny grey mustache, in a pastel dress shirt tucked into slacks, answered a doorway of a plain, vinyl-sided residence on a towering unaware Scranton. we followed him by his two-car garage into his office.
He lived alone. His bureau was clean. There were high plants in a corners of a room with good sunlight. The massage list in a middle. Two pivot chairs subsequent to an orderly desk. The shelves were filled with labeled spices and mixed liquids. Sliding potion doors led out to a square where dozens of tiny birds ate seed around a fountain.
The landline on his table rang constantly. Before we settled, he would collect it up, not vouchsafing it go to voicemail, and it’d be another customer engagement a revisit or seeking help. we listened him ease dual people over a phone that day. Nervous people contacted him a approach we used Google. He had a calming answer for everything. It seemed like he knew a answers before they even told him their problems. we was skeptical.
“The income we compensate me goes to them.” He waved to a birds outside. Once he started to check me, he let a voicemail take a calls.
He had forsaken a sour brownish-red glass onto my tongue. we never asked what it was. He counted adult and down in some arrange of dedicated numerology. Said he was counting my blood cells. Which sounded absurd when he started, yet he looked so focused that we went with it. He pulled invisible strings from my ears. Tested my strength by carrying me fist his hands while holding a spices he suspicion we needed. He asked deeply personal questions about my family, my childhood and my work. He was creation clarity of something inside me. More so than we could. Or Yahoo Answers.
It didn’t seem like he was even going after my allergies. He was aggressive some critical skeletons in my subconscious.
He pronounced that in sequence for this to work, I’d have to trust that he could assistance me. we was game. The allergies had to go.
He prescribed a despotic fast of herbs. And during a finish of that initial visit, he Heimliched a immorality spirits out of my gut.
When we left, there were already some-more people in a watchful room.
The subsequent day, my allergies were left and they never came back. we called to appreciate him and was certain I’d interrupted someone else’s appointment. From that indicate on we would revisit him from time to time. we became one of those people who called his phone for advice. He became a friend. we told everyone, either we sounded like a cult recruiter or not, that they should try a shaman. Nancy was a initial to take me adult on it.
So when he after told me that we couldn’t ejaculate for 6 weeks, we devoted him. He pronounced we was depleted, disappearing.
Nancy was some-more than supportive. This self-discovery would be good for her. we suspicion of all a things we could accomplish with 100 percent life force. We began to find myself as shortly as we got home.
As we clever on determining myself during sex, my respirating became semi-normal. we didn’t consider about it. The sex seemed out of body. Each day got easier. It was roughly spiritual, like fasting for Yom Kippur: You tough by it for a large dinner. we slept better.
This must’ve been how monks could stop their heartbeats on command. In that initial week, we thought, maybe I’ll never come again.
My life force, as distant as we could tell, seemed to be on a up. The shaman had finished it again. Although, we hadn’t detected any of a 3 things about myself—other than exhibiting some stoicism when prescribed by a shaman.
I started to see a new problem. Every day I’d “find” something new about myself, usually to reinstate it with something else a subsequent day. we was a Pez dispenser of inexpensive meanings.
Another week went by and we started to uncover signs of weakness. Back in a city were billboards with 30-foot-tall half-naked Nina Agdals and American Apparel models focussed over a skyline. Even daytime automobile commercials seemed erotic. Everything was perplexing to charm me.
When we dispossess yourself of orgasms we start to comprehend sex is in a many rubbish open places. The checkout aisles during grocery stores are all soft-core. All a photoshopped bikini bodies on repository covers, smiling during me with their ideal Chiclet-teeth.
I did what any complicated tellurian would do. The Internet. we would only watch a small bit of porn. No one would know yet me. I’d get a urges out and start over. we wouldn’t tell Nancy. And we really wouldn’t tell a shaman.
The Internet felt grimier than usual. It was like pushing underneath a Brooklyn-Queens Expressway where all a neon adult video stores still exist. Wondering who keeps them in business even in a age of a Internet? But there we was, in a BQE of a World Wide Web.
Catching your thoughtfulness in a mechanism shade when you’re doing something we shouldn’t is a complicated existential crisis. we suspicion about how unhappy my shaman would be. Nancy, too. Porn would be there forever. Why rubbish my trail to self-discovery like this?
I X’d out a page. The shaman would be proud. Then, out of habit, we sealed on to Facebook to confuse myself. we corkscrew down my feed and knew we had a problem when we mistook a tip of a newborn’s conduct for a exposed boob.
“Do we feel like reduction of a man?” Nancy joked. Maybe so. It was like going vegan. You feel good about it for a initial few days, a week if you’re strong, yet afterwards we comprehend we skip cheese too much.
“I wish we could only finish,” we said. Not certain if we meant sustaining with a shaman’s treatment. As a days wore on, we started to remove steer of my mission.
I gave adult in Week 2. It was pathetic. we told Nancy a same distortion we told myself. That maybe we could do it only once. All a way. That I’d be means to start over and uncover some stoicism again afterward. Like a lie meal.
When it was done, we both felt like we’d cheated on a shaman. He must’ve famous that we unsuccessful since we never called back. we didn’t have a courage. we was ashamed. It was easier to omit a 3 critical things. we kept a prolonged list of possibilities, yet there was no epiphany. we went on like zero happened. Nancy attempted to base me on. It was over.
A year upheld and it worried me that I’d never reached out to him. we felt like I’d mislaid a friend, therapist and a healer. we even felt guilty for finally carrying health insurance, for saying a normal alloy who spent some-more time looking during sign checklists on his mechanism than during me. I’d still get panic attacks, yet we dealt with them. They weren’t murdering me, so we figured it was something I’d only have to live with.
If there was one thing Google couldn’t answer, it was those 3 damn things. we had to hear it from a shaman. Even yet we failed, we indispensable to know. we motionless I’d confess to him. The not meaningful condemned me.
I still had him on speed dial. we pulled dual things off my list that might or might not have been my problem; they all seemed only as true. I’d tell him that we overthought and that we procrastinated. These seemed true, considering.
I stared during his name in my phone, yet we couldn’t move myself to call.
I remembered that I’d never Googled him. Over a years, we began to trust him so many that I’d never deliberate looking him up. we knew roughly zero about him, even yet he knew many of my secrets, fears and anxieties. we wondered if there was a village of his patients online. If there were a Yelp for shamans, we would supplement my 5 stars. He marinated my allergies and I’d never forget it. we wanted others to know that this was one of a good shamans.
Google does that thing where you’ll be typing in your hunt and it’ll finish your judgment before you’re done. Like when a shaman would give me answers before we told him my problems. As we began to hunt him, Google finished my judgment before we could form out his full name. It gave me his obituary.
He died shortly after I’d final seen him. Even still, we felt compelled to call his number. No answer, of course.
I rehearsed what I’d contend if anyone indeed picked up. I’d suffer with them. If they even knew him. I’d ask if his studious files were left behind. Was there a folder in his bureau with my name on it? Was there a list of 3 critical things about me?
I’ve re-read his necrology mixed times, as if there’d be some idea about me in there.
Nancy said, “At slightest we know one of a things now—you procrastinate.” This is what we got for putting things off.
I’d have to learn to live with a not knowing. After a while we found a bizarre comfort in it. Not meaningful comes in waves of clarity and chaos.
Sometimes we still call his number. The voicemail is programmed now. we consternation if someone else changed in. Are they feeding a birds? we consternation how many other clients try calling, only to see. All of us carrying shaken conversations with a machine.
When we found out he’d died, we told my mom how he always knew that it was me on a phone, before we even pronounced hello. we listened him do it to other clients, too.
“It could’ve only been tourist ID,” she said. “You never know.”
Shane Cashman’s essay has seemed in Word Riot, Inkwell, Juxtapoz and elsewhere. Last month, his “Story of My Hair” won initial place in PEN Center USA’s 500 Word Short Story Contest.