I’m a counselor, for eff’s sake; aren’t I invincible to mental health lapses?
I floated into a panicky place earlier, and I’m embarrassed about how powerless I felt. The trigger was over-personalizing. Out of boredom, when hearing a friend tell a story, I inserted myself into it as though they were talking about me. I rarely do it, but when I succumb, I’ll vicariously strap myself into the narrative and go on its wild ride of emotions.
Sometimes it’s fun, other times it’s not. Today it was nightmarish.
After exiting, it was hard to tell what was real and what was not. Am I the person in the story, or am I me? Since I made the characteristics of the person me, if they’re at fault, then I must be at fault. And if that’s true, I must fix what I’ve done. But what am I fixing? Not knowing not only increases my anxiety but also makes me double down – I should know how to fix it!
Disguised as enlightenment, it’s a cycle of cycling just to cycle.
Years ago, I went through a similar hamster wheel while studying for the mental health counseling licensure exam. After telling my then-supervisor about all the DSM’s diagnoses I’d given myself, he securely stated, “A great deal of those symptoms are just part of the human condition. They’re temporary states, and anyone of us can fit into them at any given time.”
It’s wild to think about the sun’s inevitable death and that this place we call home will destruct in five billion years. I think about it, not to scare myself or resign myself to a bleak fate. Instead, I do it to feel the depths of the stars, the wonderment of infinite space, and to remember how grateful I am to be alive.
This is too cool not to share.
I’m sipping a near beer – a non-alcoholic IPA out of Bend, Oregon – and have PJ Masks on the tv screen for Evelyn. The cats are doing a stalk-and-hide trick on Archie, and I just now heard heavy footsteps from the floor above signaling Dave is home from his meeting.
Well, that does it for me. I have a feeling I’m going to rest easy tonight.