This piece was difficult for me to write, so bear with me as I bear my vulnerabilities.
I always feel like I am walking a tight rope between loving my life and feeling completely lost. I see the vision ahead of me very clearly, but I also see many roads laid out on how to get there. I have worked so hard to be where I am today and I would not take back a single choice I made. Many days, I look to my left and see this amazing career, family, home, love I helped build, yet on the right is a big question mark.
I was meant to be a therapist and I know that.
I dove head first into the deep end of the pool of therapy. I worked with children at risk of being taken from their homes. Poverty. Despair. Abuse. I was one of the beacons of light for those families and rarely did it feel that way. Visits to inpatient facilities, schools, juvenile detention officers, the list goes on. I dedicated my days and weeks to impoverished families because I needed to and I wanted to.
I then transitioned to what I thought would have been an easier path, outpatient. I was sadly confronted with many of the same obstacles. The families our agency served struggled, really struggled to stay afloat. The mental health system was failing them as doctors signed prescriptions, therapists gave diagnoses, insurance companies got their treatment plans. I lost faith in the system very quickly.
I think a piece of me feels like a warrior ready to take on a huge fight, but when I look around I feel alone.
And I know I am not alone by any stretch of the word. Policies, politics, and all kinds of stickiness seems to weigh down on me in a time when I should be feeling energized. I stepped back from the agency life because I knew it was not good for me and what was not good for me was certainly not good for my clients.
I keep going back to this fork in the road.
I feel stuck in a decision that I had thought would be easy. Suddenly, my life is crossing paths with my career which is not something I have never had to worry about before. They just seemed to coexist happily in the same space. Knowing what I know about the mental health field in combination with the urge to become a fighter for what is right and morally good in mental health have collided with my everyday functioning. I feel a burning desire to become the change, not just talk about the change.
But, I don’t know if the time is right.
The idea of starting a family and creating space for myself to grow scares me but also feels natural. I want to do what is right for my own mental health so that I can be the best person at what I do as I can be.
Being a therapist is really f***king hard. Managing both your emotions and the emotions of people in room, being responsible for being a secret keeper, holding adults accountable for their actions, carefully holding emotions so that a client can feel a little more relieved are just a few of the things therapists do.
Can I do that AND change policy?
My gut tells me yes; I just don’t know how.
Can I do that AND start a family?
No clue. See where I am at?
The lesson I am trying to teach myself at this current moment is to just be okay in the unknown. I am surrounded by amazing, successful people who are comfortable in the unknown; I have never been comfortable with the unknown. I am trying to coach myself through it relying on positive thinking, prayers, and conversations with others. It’s okay to be unsure of what the next step is and hopefully, I see a sign of where to turn next.
In a world where we plaster vacations, amazing dinners, and all good things, I feel like we need to see a side of reality that most of us face daily.
Where do you stand? Does anyone else feel this way?