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.
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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.