When Progress is Scary

My therapist texted me Friday night to arrange our next appointment.  She said she had time available Monday or Friday morning.  Since my last appointment was on Thursday I thought, “Okay, I can do Friday.  Monday is only 4 days from my last appointment.”  So I texted her that I would take the Friday appointment.  I thought, “No big deal.  A week between appointments.  I can do that.”  But almost as soon as the appointment was set I began to second guess myself.  I thought that “I’d like to see her on Monday but four days between appointments, what would we talk about?”  Though we’ve never had a problem with finding things to talk about.  Then I began to think that I don’t want her to think I don’t need or want her anymore.  After a few “good” sessions where she has stated I’m “on the right path” and making “progress” I am not ready for our relationship to end.  I still need and want her.  I don’t want to be left yet.  There is absolutely no indication that this will happen anytime soon but still, I am afraid.  I am afraid that if I don’t hold onto all of the sessions I can, she’ll think I’m ready to cut ties.  I am afraid of being abandoned.  Don’t leave me.

Besides all of that, I genuinely enjoy her.  She’s funny, and smart, and kind, and bold, unafraid of being herself, true to her beliefs, unafraid of confronting her clients and asking the hard questions.  I cannot help but want to know more and wish I were allowed the privilege of friendship.  A no-no in the therapist/ client relationship.  But I welcome the little glimpses of real life I get.

A friend of mine said that friends can be therapeutic too but I can’t help but feel it is not the same, at least for me, yet.  It’s not the same.  I don’t know if it’ll ever be the same.

Do I have the STUFF?

http://ct.counseling.org/2014/02/gatekeepers-for-the-profession/

As the semester is more than half over I am considering what I have to do on a practical level to get ready to go back into Internship.  That alone is daunting but I am also considering what has or has not changed since the abrupt end of my first Internship.  I like to think I am in a better place with more perspective but really, if I were put back into the same situation I left would anything have really changed?  I am not as sure.  I still have this deep seated fear but again, I like to think it does not cloud my “vision” as much as it used to.  And so I question, do I have the STUFF to become a counselor?  Or am I one of those students mentioned in the article I linked to, who gravitated to the counseling profession/ program for personal help?…I can’t say for sure.  Except I can’t shake or deny the interest and enthusiasm I had when I first encountered the description of my art therapy program, roughly four years ago now.  I was intrigued and had a real belief that this future goal was within my reach and within my abilities.  I was so excited to finally have a goal and a direction and a motivating inner force.  The thought that I can do this was like… it was indescribable.  Having a direction of my own was completely different than just doing things because it was expected of me.  For the first time, this was something I wanted and something in which I believed .

And yet I still ask myself, am I one of those students my professors have an obligation to weed out of the profession?  I am so earnest in my desire to learn and to help and to love the human condition that it hurts badly to think perhaps I am just not cut out for this.  Yet this fear is countered by a strong belief that despite my fear, I can do this and I will do this.  I am having trouble shaking this spasm of panic though.

Love is all I need

This morning I read a post on another site made by a friend/ acquaintance.  It was a simple comment on having got together with friends last night and I had a flash of jealousy and of longing.  I had imagined a mutual friend of ours was at this get together.  Okay.  Truthfully, I imagined my therapist was at this get together.  My therapist and I have a few acquaintances and friends of friends of friends in common.  Anyway this lead me to explore my need to socialize more with people.  I struggle with really feeling that I have something to offer people (I think I am getting better with this…sometimes).  More often than not I am afraid of annoying the people I am with.  I am afraid of doing something wrong.  It is as if my inclusion in any group, work or school or social, is conditional.  I have a really really hard time with believing in my worth, in a group or by myself, as being something given, a matter of course, inherent, unquestionable.  I understand that some people will like me and some people won’t; that fact is almost irrelevant. It is a question of self worth.

I am reminded of a conversation through Facebook I had the other night with a friend.  I said something like “I’m not any hot stuff either.”  He said, “I bet I could get a list of a hundred people who would say otherwise.”  I told him I didn’t understand and that there was nothing pretty about me.  I am just baffled when people see positive qualities in me and it is rare that I believe them.  But it is so necessary for me to hear them.

I am never entirely comfortable with people, including the people with whom I should be most comfortable.  No matter how assured or unassured, no matter how “safe” or “unsafe” I am at any given moment there is this little part of me that is crying out, “Don’t leave me.  Love me.”

True for me

So yesterday a classmate judged that I post too many negative things.  I do post some negative things but I think I also post positive or at least things that make me go, “Hmmmm” a lot as well.  I do have a habit of posting on Facebook when I am not feeling so positive about the work vibe and yes, I suppose that could get annoying.  Who hasn’t done the occasional griping about going to work? Going back over my posts on Facebook yesterday (reality checking…Did I post too much negative stuff?) I realized, no I don’t post a great deal of negative stuff.  On here it is perhaps a different story, but again it is not strictly negative all of the time, it is more about things I’m thinking about and working through.  I think through things often by writing about them and sometimes I post what I am thinking or working through in a public forum.  That reality checking was really a good thing for me though because it helped me realize that the judgements people make aren’t necessarily true for another person.  They may be true for them but not necessarily for you.  Even if it was true, people relate to what I post on here and on Facebook so it doesn’t matter that some people don’t like what I post.  I’ve said this to people before, “Don’t like it? Don’t read it.  But it is not going to stop me from putting it out there.” (Even the annoying “God I don’t want to go to work today.” posts. Though I will, perhaps, be more conscious of them.)  Because maybe there is someone somewhere who does need to read it and will relate.  It is all about how people receive what I have to share or what anyone has to share.

Everyone People have their own opinions of what I should and shouldn’t be doing or what is or isn’t right for me.  Like my therapist has said to me in the past, not everyone is going to like me.  I just have to do what is right for me.  And right now, positive, negative, or neutral, I’m going to post.

The Lighter Side of Fear

There are only two energies at the core of human experience: love and fear.

Love grants freedom, fear takes it away.  Love invites full expression,

fear punishes it.  Love invites you always, to break the bonds of ignorance.

– Walsch

In therapy yesterday it was pointed out to me that I only see the negative side of fear.  Fear has been a major player in my life and, more often than not, I see it as a hinderance rather than a help.  Fear is thought to be so limiting and for me, most of the time, it is.  But in order to make friends with fear, my therapist suggested showing it some appreciation.  So I’ve created a pro/con list about fear.  This is a work in progress so any thoughts, insight or “Yeah! Me too’s” are welcome.

PRO

Fear kept/ keeps me safe.

Fear keeps me from eating too much.

Fear helps me get my homework done.

Fear helps me get my chores done, cleaning, paying bills, etc.

Fear makes me “productive.”

Fear keeps me employed.

Fear helped me to move out on my own.

Fear drives my quest for self-improvement, self-awareness, self-acceptance. (It’s kind of a chinese finger trap, push pull, ying/yang, circle kind of thing.)

Fear has helped me to survive physically and emotionally.

Fear keeps me from unsafe situations.

Fear allows me to reserve judgement.

Fear helps me care about my body and my life.

Fear helps me develop priorities.

Fear keeps me from spending too much.

Fear is a natural human emotion just like love, hurt, and anger.

CON

Fear is limiting.

Fear keeps me from making connections with people.

Fear prevents me/ makes it harder for me to ask for help.

Fear (often) stops me from doing things I need and want to do.

Fear prevents me from fully relaxing.

Fear creates doubt.

Fear causes me to isolate pain.

Fear (for me) is often an overreaction to a non-threatening situation.

Fear is not a reasonable judge all of the time.

Fear, anger, and frustration frequently go together.

Fear can cloud my mind.

Fear sometimes causes me to deny my other physical and emotional needs.

Fear prevents me from expressing those needs.