I was really really anxious about internship today. I feel like I am struggling at times to figure out how to work with my population. I am interning at a nursing home. There isn’t a pre-established art therapy program or a staff psychologist at the home so I am left to set up groups and pick out individuals, who may be suitable, by myself. I do not naturally take on positions of authority, especially in nonacademic settings. It is one thing to lead a group presentation and quite another to tell people in a work setting what to do and what I need. I don’t know who to rely upon and feel uncomfortable relying on myself. My site supervisor is knowledgable and experienced but is not educated in art therapy. I feel like I am seen as having more knowledge and confidence and direction than I do and that scares me.
I am reminded of my summer meeting with my school supervisor where we talked about my anxieties and about asking for help. A lot of my fear comes from not knowing how my school supervisor or my site supervisor will react and a lot more of my fear comes from not knowing what they think of me. I am afraid if I admit my doubts and not knowings that I will be told I don’t belong in the program, that I don’t have what it takes, and that this isn’t for me, that I am not worthy or “up to scratch”… I am terrified of going back to square one, back to where I was after graduating college, lost and directionless.
I keep thinking about the museum. Just after I graduated college I got a job at a museum. I was so unprepared, ignorant, and fearful. I really had no business being there. I should’ve asked for help when I needed it but again I was afraid, of being fired, of being seen as juvenile, of being seen as what I have always feared, bad, wrong, stupid, worthless, inconvenient, and worse, a lier… I was afraid to ask for help. Then when I was fired (by my fault), I felt so guilty, so anxious, so ashamed and humiliated; I felt almost physically ill for a really long time after. It still makes me want to crawl out of my skin. All because I didn’t want to admit how lost and out of place I was feeling. I remember being so anxious I didn’t want to answer the phones. So I should take a lesson from the museum and tell my supervisors how I feel…
I’d like to think I’ve gotten past lying and letting people think I know more than I do but the fear and the not knowing, the discouragement, the feelings of being lost, are still there. My desire to belong, to feel confident in what I am doing, to be effective, and my fears of being seen as anything less than worthy rule many of my interpersonal interactions.