anxiety, ptsd

Is it possible to simultaneously be the most troubled and the most well-adjusted person you know? The deeper I go into my counseling program, the more this question pops into my mind. On the one hand, my demons are legion. On the other, I keep them very well-controlled and they all have little color-coordinated leashes.

Am I well-adjusted because I have to be? Does being well-adjusted look the same, or mean the same thing, for people who have backbreaking loads of trauma and those who don’t?

I used to worry a lot about whether my personal mental health history meant that I can’t be a therapist. I still worry about that, though thankfully not as much. Tonight in class, we were discussing self-disclosure and one of my classmates brought up that exact question–how are our clients supposed to trust us if they know we have our own set of problems?

I guess it’s one of those situations where what you have doesn’t matter as much as how you handle it. I get up every day and even though I do a fair amount of yelling at the intrusive negative thoughts, I still manage to accomplish everything on my to-do list. (Well…most things, anyway. I’m human.)

This has been on my mind for most of the day today, probably because I had intake with my new therapist yesterday and was thinking about the wall between my thoughts and feelings. I depend so heavily on that wall to keep it together, and I’m a bit worried–or, okay, a lot worried–that once I start really delving into the trauma and trying to merge my thoughts and feelings that there will be this monumental change and I’ll basically fall apart. I can’t remember the last time I was able to feel an emotion on an actual deep, meaningful, emotional level for more than a flash before cognition takes over and the brain reasserts control over the “heart.”

I know that’s unrealistic and that no one can do a total 180 in terms of functioning, but the unknowns are scary. As horrible as it is to know certain emotional things but not be able to feel them…better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?

I haven’t had self-doubt like this in quite a while, but getting the thoughts down on this little blog has helped a bit. It’s funny how writing about your troubles takes away some of their power, isn’t it? I’m also going to hit the self-care pretty hard tonight because tomorrow I have a phone interview with another prospective internship site–yay! That search is pretty terrifying, but I have a good feeling about the last couple of sites I’ve contacted, so fingers crossed.

Until next time, readers, remember to take good care of yourselves. I will, too.


6 thoughts on “Dichotomy

  1. I think most therapist get into it to fix themselves or they had someone close with some issue.
    For me I prefer honesty…I don’t think there is anyone who has it all figured out …so if my therapist is real and human, I can trust them more than if they faked it and couldn’t be real.

  2. Good luck with that internship!

    And I thought about being a therapist and felt my past experiences may help others in similar situation. My advice, think of it as a positive. You not only have personal experience with dealing with the issue, but experience on the help you recieved that did and did not work. Obviously everyone is different, but you have experience and you should take it as a positive. Then again, that’s how I live my life, always finding the positive. Anyways, good luck!

  3. I echo teandbeesandthings comment – – wonderful writing and hits close to home. The Dichotomy for me is between true and false ideas – – constant battle between conditioned thinking and my genuine thoughts…emotions broke through when I broke apart, and I cannot rid myself of the more troublesome ones – – but I’d rather deal with knitting my psyche and heart together now than go back to that desert of “cerebral coping” I used to do. I feel like your fear is about falling apart completely – – like your overwhelm will be too much – – but as I found out, it’s easier to take it apart in small chunks, and therefore – the reactions are relative to how much my therapist and I were working on in the moment…..If you look at it in small digestable bits, you won’t get overwhelmed. PS I wouldn’t trust a therapist who DIDN’T have any troubles like mine: how could that person ever actually relate to where I’m at otherwise?

    1. That’s a really great point! I’ve been reassured of the same thing by classmates and professors alike since “coming out” about the dissociation. The tricky part is going to be self-disclosure in session, which I’m going to ask my site supervisor about. I agree with you that from a client perspective, it’s so helpful to know that your counselor is on the same page. I have a lot of weird stuff in my past that my peers/friends can’t really relate to, like the whole prison mom thing. It’s very healing to be able to connect with someone who really gets it.

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