Here is a video version of this if you prefer. There is a little more info written.
I decided it was time to start seeing a counselor. I have always been a huge advocate of therapy and advised many to pursue it. I have been slow to taking my own advice. I kept putting it off. “Nah, I don’t REALLY need it.” It was like I felt it had to be a crisis to go. I once heard of a pastor going just as a preventative measure and I thought that is so wise yet I didn’t do it.
I really should have at least started going when I had that summer (2014) of really struggling with anxiety. Then this past year I said I would go after Jeremy is done going so as to not overload our budget. Being in ministry, caring for people and juggling it all is a heavy thing. Yet I kept putting it off. That was silly of me to just wait until he was done because no one can define when they are “done”. Honestly counseling can be a weekly/monthly thing for the rest of our lives. We are all in process and never arrive or are “done”.
But this past Christmas break I felt like I hit a breaking point. I felt so worn thin, weary and exhausted juggling my responsibilities- I decided I needed help to manage it all.
Even though I am a firm believer in counseling, it was like I resisted it for myself. I think it has been a form of denial for me. In my mind I think I ought to be able to do it all. I would never verbally say, “I’m superwoman” but I lived as though I was. I don’t even think I believe I am superwoman but the way I live -pushing my limits and not saying no well- I live as though I am superwoman.
I found myself asking, “Should I be feeling this way? Should I be feeling this stressed?” It was like I was trying to rationally access my emotional/spiritual side. Then I realized the questions of should or ought are not relevant in this space. It does not matter if I should or shouldn’t feel this way because I DO feel this way. I was trying to make sense of it. It was as though I was not validating how I was feeling. I felt like “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I handle this? It’s not like I just went through some intense trauma or loss.” I was minimizing the drowning I was feeling. It’s like telling a person who is drowning, “Come on! You have two legs- kick them. You have 2 arms- you ought to be able to swim.” Those words are not helpful as they begin to sink further and further below the water.
I realized asking the why question did not really help me either. I wish I fully knew why I got a moment of fear, rapid heartbeat and increased breathing while watching a movie with my husband. Like I had to focus on taking deep breaths and reminding myself – I am safe. I am ok. I am taken care of. My needs are met. I wish I knew why reality seemed to escape me in those minutes.
So instead of asking why I began to ask “what”. “What are some of the stressors, circumstances, situations that may have caused my to feel overwhelmed?” I want to learn so I can help myself now and for the future. I had been doing a part time job that I felt weak in. As a result I had little to no time to do what I feel strong at. I feel strong at encouraging others, prayer, writing, teaching and helping others grow. I also was ignoring what I love. I love to be home. I am a homebody. I love to be our home manager. 😉 I love to pause and meditate and be still. So I did not feel like I was succeeding in too many areas. I did not feel success working/serving in a place that was not a fit for me. I was not able to feel success in my strengths because I was not getting to the things that brought me life. So for a few months I was feeling like I am dropping all these balls I am juggling. I felt defeated and overwhelmed.
I am excited to start this journey. It felt so good to share my heart for an hour without interruptions. She asked questions to help me dig deeper. She started and ended our time praying for me. During the first prayer, I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. When she said amen, I looked up and said, “I am just so thankful to be here.”
2 great songs on this journey