i return again and again to people's feelings.  when we become disconnected from our underlying feelings and needs, we become affected.   our relationships become affected.

and not for the better.

in practice, clients don't talk very much at length about content, what happened, the story, before i start using some gentle reflecting and gentle therapeutic questioning.

in this post, it's very tempting for me  to run down the list of everything that's going on right now - specifically - everything that's going wrong right now. but, that's boring.  and as humans, i'm fairly convinced it's not what we need from each other.  do you read this because you really care to know how much i have going on?  do you read this because you want a list of everything factual that's going on in my life right now?

i'm going to guess no.  i'm going to guess we read each other's blogs because we want to have some sort of human connection.  we want to know that others feel like we do.  we want to know what's truly going on with people.  so i'm not going to run through that factual list of everything i have going on right now.  it's sufficient to say that any one of the life transitions i'm experiencing right now would be stressful in and of itself.

i'm afraid.
and, i'm panicky.

and, it's serious.

it's always been a joke, right?  lisa's high strung. lisa likes detail.  lisa's anxious.  lisa can take care of it.

but lisa's walls started closing in in early april.  it was a particularly (insert content here) stressful time.  and the stress - the slight worry - crescendoed in a big, scary way into feeling absolutely panicky (cued, not coming out of the blue, and not a true panic attack).  i go to bed at night, absolutely exhausted, and it takes one little, insignificant thought such as, "i need to remember to email so and so tomorrow" and i'm suddenly wide awake, my mind racing at top speed about *everything* i need to get done.  keeps me up late, wakes me up several times during the night and i wake up in the morning already worrying.  my mind is already in process.

what does worry feel like?  for me, a tightening of the chest, rapid breathing, a knot in my stomach, often a headache.  no concentration.  i sit down to write a paper and can't because i start thinking about all the reading i need to do.  if i move to the reading, i can't concentrate because i start thinking about everything that needs to be done to find a job.  in short, i'm not getting anything done (as in, i've requested extensions on all of my assignments and am barely getting my mental health assessments in on time).

it is not easy to admit that i do not feel ok.
it is not easy to admit things are not going well.
i am somewhat ashamed.
from somewhere in the back of my lived experience, dirty little voices whisper i should pray harder and trust more and God wouldn't let me go through this if He didn't think i could get through it.  my faith in God is unmoved.  i do not think i am having a hard time because i do not trust enough in God.  i think i am having a hard time because i am having a hard time and God is right there with me through it all. i pray often and feel His spirit moving.  and i exercise.  and take relaxation yoga.  and have a very small group of supportive friends who do not give me grief about any of this.

and it is sadly not enough.

i tried to deny how bad it is for a long time.  then i did a couple process recording with my co-horts (we do a lot of counseling sessions with each other.  i love them.)  and i realized how painful this is.  my co-intern Nicole said, "you're just now coming to a point where you're able to give witness to and recognize your suffering."  true 'dat.

in true mental health field form, it took me 2.5 weeks to get into a counselor.  they asked me repeatedly if i could wait that long, but who are we kidding? unless i was having suicidal or self harming thoughts (and i'm not), it wouldn't matter.  my appointment was this morning with a well seasoned, level headed psychologist.

it took 30 minutes. (when i write that i have a 4.0 gpa, am finishing my master's, am able to maintain my gainful employment and describe my symptoms accurately - with duration! - it goes smoothly.  Jesus, help the souls who do not come from mental health backgrounds and find themselves in the same situation.  it breaks my heart). and then he referred me to a psychiatrist for a medication consult.  that's tomorrow morning.  psychologist believes i present with sufficient acute symptoms and present stable enough to warrant the use of, possibly short term, anti anxiety medications.  psychologist also listed several reasons psychiatrist may not feel comfortable prescribing (namely, i'm moving from portland in a few weeks.)

so i'm sharing this with you, if nothing else for the following reasons:
1.  as phillip booth (how i love this poet) wrote about suffering, "why we guess we know / how much, never"
it is hard for people to understand how somebody that is as "stable" as i am could be undergoing mental anguish.
2.  in the spirit of transparency, to remind us all that mental wellness is an idiosyncratic continuum that is highly personal.
3.  to remind us all that there are no easy answers and that advice giving, while usually well-intentioned, is not as helpful as sympathetic listening.  good sympathetic listening uses ears more than mouths and gentle reflective statements such as, "this is really hard" or "you have a lot on your plate" or "you feel really overwhelmed."

and so that's where i am.
i am grateful there are only 3 weeks of classes left.
grateful there are only 2 weeks of internship left.
grateful for the hard work cheryl and elizabeth put into my bridal shower that's happening saturday.
grateful for shoes.
grateful for shoes' family - most of whom i visit with rarely - who continually email and ask what they can do to help - and are sincere about it.
grateful for professors who are working with me as i work through this.
grateful for good friends like b., who listen to me process through all of this and who plan lab parties.
grateful for the girls at the lab who have done nothing but offer complete support.
grateful for a God who is not scared or disappointed in where i am at right now - a God who holds my hand and soul consistently and is not impatient with my journey.

blessed be.


  1. Andrea on May 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Mmmm hmmmm *nodding head as I listen with my eyes, soaking up wise words which I identify with*. Hugs to you my girl...

  2. Elizabeth on May 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    *the super special comment is coming...but just a note...you shouldn't hit preview down below because then your super special comment goes POOOOF*

  3. Elizabeth on May 17, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Now I'm going to do my best to recreate my last comment that went "poof" when I hit preview.

    The first thing I wanted to tell you to think about was "what does this have to do with the price of eggs? or Leave it to Beaver reruns?" To which I say you better eat some eggs and watch some Leave it to Beaver just to bring some sanity back into your life.

    The more serious is that you need to be ready to bring forth your creative juices on Saturday. Now I know these juices have been tucked away for a very very very long time, but you need to let go and release all that energy to paint the most beautiful pot or creature or whatever it is we are going to paint.

    Is someone driving you on Saturday? Because this is another serious matter we need to take care of. You, my dear, are going to need an entire bottle of wine, you deserve an entire bottle of wine and if some doctor is going to give you anxiety medication than you my dear will not want to put those into an empty stomach! No Sir! Those meds, with some cupcakes and cookies and wine will be so much better for you! Trust me!! (says the friend who has taken anxiety medications before)

    On a serious note, not that the others have not been serious, but we need to talk about talking. I know that I don't need to remind you of this, but I'm here. I'm only an hour away. You may call me at any time and just talk. Now while I would prefer that you call me during daylight hours, I am available at night time too. I am also here if you need me to do something..anything. I am your friend and with that comes specific obligations (I just stole part of that from Ever After). Those obligations are me driving to Portland to your house to clean your toilet if that's what you need done and you don't have time to do it your self. I will. I will get over my fear of the big city to come clean your toilet! That's friendship if you ask me!

    Now try your super hardest to get some good sleep today and tomorrow because Saturday is going to be the "best day ever" (stole that line from Tangled)! We are going to eat drink and be merry and paint and laugh and eat and you'll drink some more and I'm pretty sure you'll have some presents to open, because lets be real for a moment. When you say no presents that doesn't really mean don't bring presents. That just means I don't really need anything, but I'll gladly take whatever you want to give me because who doesn't like presents!

    Now the purpose of this comment is to remind you that we are all here for you, in our own ways and capacities! WE absolutely positively love you to death. WE know you are grateful to (literally) God and everyone. WE know you are only human and can only do so much...which is why WE will support you from now until eternity!

    *If this didn't make you smile or laugh at some point then I'm going to have to do a better job at finding movies you can relate to*

  4. Lisa on May 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    @Andrea - thanks love. I appreciate the support.

    @Elizabeth - wow. I would be peeved if blogger lost that original comment, too! Thanks for the support and you're right. Who doesn't love presents?! Thanks for all the support and I'm so excited about tomorrow!


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