People are suffering.
Just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month, I am realizing every single person I have come into contact with is operating at half capacity, maximum. People are struggling. Therapists are burnt out, clients, family, friends, strangers, community members. I am seeing us collectively grind to a halt in so many ways. Numbness, anger, confusion, exhaustion, fatigue…sorrow, fear, despair…
Honor your burnout. It’s okay to feel the way you are feeling. Everyone is feeling this way. At least everyone I know. There are always a few outliers who are afraid to admit this, so they nail a smile on their face and insist they are okay and look baffled and confused when someone else admits to being done with everything.
Sometimes at the end of a session, I will ask my clients what their takeaway is for this week (some insight gained, a new challenge they want to take on, something they want to give thought to over the next 7 days, etc.). Lately, most people look wearily back up at me and say, “I don’t know, I was hoping you could tell me?”. Because I have gotten this question so often this season, I decided to share my top 2 takeaways I have gotten myself:
I haven’t the foggiest idea if this is helping anyone or not, but it’s helping me. Sitting here typing and listening to my sad songs playlist (because sometimes tears need some encouragement). Grief is a part of life. We don’t talk about it much, but it is a part of the process. Sometimes we sift through the ashes and rubble and find little glimmers of hope. I keep them, too. Like the recent Humans of New York story. Or lines from my favorite TV shows. Or my clients that show up every week, no matter how challenging and painful the work is that we are doing. They are amazing people.
I hope you are feeling safe enough to let yourself grieve. Take time to notice the things that don’t suck amongst your tears. Honor your energy levels and adjust your plans to your needs accordingly.
I just did a small Yoga with Adrienne session. It's the first time in weeks I've been able to focus enough to do this. My mind is constantly jittery, even when I am relaxing...
It wasn't always like this, but it has been like this. The weeks (months, years) after 9/11. The weeks (months, years) after my daughter was born. Uncertainty, change, lack of familiarity even in a familiar environment. I remember that I have been here before to ground myself and send a reminder: I have been here before and I have survived. Thrived, even.
This reminder doesn't necessarily make me feel differently in the moment. Not at all. But it does remind me that it won't be forever. Things may be forever changed, but this phase of change does not last. It morphs into a new normal, a new familiar, and eventually, a new routine that I will eventually not think of as new. It will just be...how it is.
I know how much I enjoy Yoga with Adrienne and it was frustrating that I couldn't allow myself to participate in what I knew was good and helpful to me. Maybe there is something you used to enjoy that your brain and body will not let you fully participate in right now. That's okay. Just be in this moment. Eventually it will pass and morph into a different one.
Here's how: allow yourself to move through it. Feel all the feelings, check in with yourself to see what you need, and then do the thing you need to do for yourself. For me, that thing has been a lot of naps. And eventually, a Yoga with Adrienne episode.
What's the thing you are looking forward to getting back to? How are you meeting your needs until then?
My entire household has come down with some sort of plague. Whilst I was in and out of fever dreams, I kept thinking of ways to incorporate it into helpful bits of information for my blog or FB page. But, as is common with plagues, I was not able to retain much of it. We are still in the midst of this obnoxious virus, but I will try to piece together what I can.
Cindy Goeller is a licensed therapist who loves listening to others, eating Maryland steamed crabs, and exploring the Finger Lakes of New York. When she is not in session with her clients, she can be found writing, baking, or spending time with her family.