So I went to see my therapist yesterday. Yes, I see a therapist, and I feel like that is hard to admit. Like I’m weak or crazy since my life looks fine. But my therapist is truly a Godsend and I’m so thankful to have realized this kind of service. I wish I could go once or twice a month on the reg to help me stay focused and ease my scattered brain, but I don’t have that kind of money. She was recommended to me by a friend a couple years ago when I was dealing with some crap. I met with her several times throughout that year and then hadn’t talked with her since very early in my pregnancy with Layla when I was struggling with the emotions of that very unexpected life change. So it had been a spell and we had a lot of catching up to do!
What prompted the appointment after so long and during a time when life seems pretty even keel? We have no extraordinary challenges right now and are just kind of going with the flow day by day (knock on wood, throw some salt over my left shoulder, do a rain dance, etc!). But despite that, I haven’t been happy. Plain and simple. And I don’t mean I’m not grateful for the life I have – there is SO much to be thankful for especially after all the hurdles we’ve been through. But I’ve been down in the dumps for a couple months and unable to shake the gloom, so my friend literally wired me money via Paypal for the sole purpose of paying for me to go talk to my therapist. I guess she was tired of my negativity? Ha – just kidding girl – you just knew what I needed!
What I love about my therapist is she understands where I’m at in an uncanny way. After I explain my concerns, she tells it back to me like a beautiful broken reflection. I see myself and my feelings through objective but understanding eyes, and I can immediately give grace to myself for where I’m at. Even if that was the end of the appointment, with no advice or action items, her recounting of my current state allows me to accept where I am and love myself for it. My guilt and feelings of weakness disappear as I see myself the way she does. But then she probes further and gives me action items. And I love a clear to-do list!
So I’m at a place where I’m re-evaluating my values (huh?). She gave me a massive list of “values” – things like Spirituality, Wisdom, Achievement, Health, Financial Stability, etc. (there’s like a thousand in the list). She asked me to quickly highlight everything that resonated with me, and then to go back through the highlighted list and really think on the values that best represented the things I aspire to lead my life with. The things that I want, rather than the things that I’m currently doing, and narrow the list to around 5. She said it sounds like I’ve been letting life lead me, rather than leading my life with my values. I need to identify my values, the things that help me protect them, and the things that interfere with them, so I can hit the reset button and begin making decisions again with my values in mind. I’m looking forward to this exploration and new practice, though already fear failure. The biggest cause of my gloom is putting everything else before myself – and selflessness is a virtue. And Responsibility is a value, one on the very top of my list. So the struggle to be true to myself and balance everything else is conflicting and very very real. But I’m up for the challenge and excited to find my way out of this funk.
As I think about publishing this post I feel guilty. I feel guilty as a well-to-do white girl living in the safety of the Midwest. Like that gratitude thing should be what I focus on and to quit my bitching, put a smile on my face and go out and do some good in this world with my resources and be happy about it. There are people in way worse scenarios that have real things to be sad about – they deserve to be sad and I don’t. But that’s the hard part about sharing my feelings publicly like this – I don’t share everything. There are some really dark things that I don’t share, so my story and the feelings that I express are disjointed and lack context to people that may read this not knowing. There are very few that really know me and the things I’ve been through. Could things be worse? Yes, but I’ve been through more bad things than I ever would have chosen, and have to accept that it’s okay to grieve about those things. It’s just a reminder that everyone has their own unique experience in life, and it’s all relative to each person. Everyone has a low point (or several) and we don’t always know what those are, nor can we understand how it affects another person. The human brain and soul are fascinating things in how they handle the ups and downs of the unique lives they captain. But we can choose to respond to others with empathy and kindness, in hopes that we don’t negatively impact their situation, and maybe even become the positive thing that helps boost them to a better place. As cliche as it is, you never know what another person is going through, and we can all learn to not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.