The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind personally and professionally. No matter what I did – I was obsessing over my decisions and experiencing all types of physical symptoms. My stress was growing and my body was paying the price. The two worlds decided to intertwine and it was less like two ribbons dancing in the wind, and more like two big rigs crashing into each other while speeding down a slippery mountain pass. Dramatic? I know.
I made an executive decision to sit in silence for a minute and think about the things that were truly bothering me. I journaled, made list, read books and came to a solution. I figured it’s not acceptable to let my stress and anxiety run loose on the people I love. It was time to reign it in but I really had no clear direction on where to start breaking cycles. I called a therapist that my girlfriend recommended and it was the best decision I could have made.
The very first meeting with her, I showed up and had no idea what to expect. The lobby was a 10 ft hallway that seemed to lengthen itself the longer I stood in the doorway trying to figure out if I was in the right place. She finally came out to greet me; tall, sweet and warm. The LMFT quickly gave me her speech about confidentiality and asked me why I came to see her. I smiled through my troubles the first five minutes and then cried the next ninety-five.
I left her office with my next appointment already scheduled. Even though I took her all over the map of my thirty-two-year life journey and explained my dozens of speculations as to how I ended up right there in her chair, she gave me a short list of ideas and concepts to think about. I thought, “wow, what a relief”. I was finally able to share with someone ALL of my feelings. Someone who was able to help me untangle knots and create some sort of line of reasoning and helped me find the words to build crucial language. The language I needed to communicate at work and at home.
I started to feel different. I was looking at situations with new lenses. The things that were driving me crazy about scenarios at work, became puzzles that I was happy to sort out. The conversations I didn’t want to have at home seemed less intimidating. I was building my tool kit. Communication was one of the main fundamentals that were becoming sharpened. Somewhere between the end of week one and the beginning of my second week, emotions started to resurface and I felt ill prepared to face anything seemingly negative.
My second therapy appointment was here and I didn’t want to go. I was ashamed that I was feeling sad and not proud of myself that day. Silly feelings when I look back on it, but the primary characteristic of my work ethic is being accountable. For way too many reasons to list in this edition, I’ve always worried about what people think. It translates in different ways but it manifests itself as a bitch fit or some other inappropriate form of expression when conflict arises. I was growing tired of that and knew it wasn’t an acceptable approach at working through things with my family or professionally.
This time I noticed my appointment was more focused. Less homework and more acute in helping me get through some of those challenges that were coming up more frequently. Here I am a week later, and it’s honestly the best week I have had in such a long time. Despite more disappointing news in a couple areas, I’m dealing with unfavorable surprises better. The dynamics in my household are settling into some sort of normalcy and it feels really good to stop blaming outside forces for my unhappiness.
Needing to speak to a professional about how to sort out the issues you are facing in whatever areas of your life, is not something to be ashamed of. I am speaking very loudly to proud women and minorities at this moment because for some reason we do not go. We do not go and some of our life stressors are flashing right in our face as and screaming, “you need a little bit of help and it’s okay!” We do not have to do things alone. We weren’t designed to take on so many problems and not have an outlet to release.
Therapy comes in so many forms. Everything from peer counseling, life coaching to psychiatrists. We all have different needs and the fact that we have all these diverse methods available, something is bound to fit. I hope this piece finds you all well.