This is my 11th year in the field. Those 11 years have seen ups and downs; births and deaths (literally) and dry spells and periods of amazing growth. I have experienced, with clients, situations that have helped me seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and client situations that have made me think the good Lord is hiding.
I can't really blog about this job. I wouldn't want to lay people's most vulnerable selves out for others to see. The trust that I'm trying to build in the therapy room is sacred. I'd do almost anything to protect it.
But these past few weeks on the job have kind of knocked me down.
And that's been surprising. Because this isn't my first rodeo. I've looked into how hurt people can be and how serious mental illness can be and how violent human behavior can be. I've already seen that.
What it comes down to is this: these past few weeks I have been lied to and lied about. The lies told about me are big, absurd and somewhat scary .... this is such a sensitive button for me ... few things bother me more than having the character I have worked so hard to build up attacked. All of my clinical skills have been deeply challenged. I find myself starting to questioning my previously unwavering belief that people can change and grow and heal.
Most of you know that I am no longer truly a part of the church. I don't attend on Sundays. I don't serve a ministry. But as I was driving into the valley on Wednesday, a relic from my early 20s popped up, and I find myself putting on the helmet of salvation ... the breastplate of righteousness ... the belt of truth ... the shoes of peace and readiness ... and picking up the sword of the spirit ... And I'll tell you what ... that morning, I was clinging heavily to that breastplate and the shoes of peace.
Please just let me just bring peace into this job. Into the agency. Into my therapy office. To my coworkers. And especially, especially, especially ... into the lives of people who are learning how to overcome and deal with mental health issues ....
I am one month into this job.
I just received my Master's diploma in the mail this afternoon.
I am somewhat ashamed to say I am already wondering how long I'll be able to do this.
And I know it's just too soon to be this defeated.
It is too soon to feel this defeated.
So I'll take these next three days and I'll re-boot. Recharge. Rethink. I'll sit and be and wait for the peace. I'll breathe deeply. I'll cling to what I know. I'll remember the hard times that I have had in the field (and some of them have been horrid) and then I'll remember that I'm still here. I won't avoid these horrible feelings of self doubt and fear and mild exhausion that I'm having now (exhaustion = 7 hours on the same crisis call over the course of an afternoon / evening). I'll treat these feelings with love and compassion. I will find something to be grateful for.
And I will remember and list out all of the success I've experienced with clients (or they have experienced without me) over the past decade. Because people do grow and change and heal.