Being a professional mental health counsellor en route to being a registered psychologist doesn't make self awareness and self-care easy. In fact, most people who are passionate enough about psychology and mental health to jump into it as a career path do so because they themselves have needed that healing.
I've been pretty open here about my developmental trauma, my wrestling match with anxiety and burnout, and the work I'm currently doing to understand myself better so that I can more effectively support myself. I want you to know that it's okay to keep learning. It's okay to suddenly notice a big gap in your awareness. It's okay to feel some (short term) guilt or regret over a missed chance to be your better self - whether it's a missed opportunity to properly support yourself or someone else. In fact, it's also okay to realise that your actions were actually causing more harm than good. Noticing those moments, feeling that heartache, is called growth.
This last month, in particular, has been difficult that way. I believed I was more than ready to face a new set of personal challenges, but my bravery was bigger than my skill. I joined that Last Life Minecraft game to intentionally expose myself to some of my triggers - and it was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be, especially because real life didn't pause in the mean time.
Here's what I've learned:
My inner child is recklessly heroic and I love her for it
She's also terrified of making friends because she's constantly expecting them to leave, whether through choice or circumstance, and she hates the feeling of loss
Unfortunately, her world (our world) is full of loss and we feel all of it very very deeply. Even when it's not our loss
For her sake, I need to create more space in my life for grief and silence
I need to start taking self-discipline seriously; it's more important than I knew
Writing is still my best option for self-expression and, despite my feeble attempts to avoid that act of creativity, I need to start honouring myself enough to engage in it properly
As humans, we have a sacred trust to manage and keep and cultivate and tend what we have responsibility for - this includes nature, our environments, fellow life forms in the created order, and our own capacity to manage all of that well. I have been failing in my responsibility to cultivate and care for myself well
A few of my in-person writer friends and I got together for the first time since covid just last Friday. I didn't realise how badly I'd needed it until I was there. All of us have been struggling with our creativity, but each of us had a unique way of dealing with that struggle. I deeply admire one friend - she realised some years ago that she becomes physically ill if she doesn't write, and so she's created a schedule for herself. I think I need to do the same. I've also discovered that I have much more momentum and motivation if I have an "audience" of sorts. I'm so very humbled and grateful for each of you who pop in to read what I'm writing, even if you're not leaving comments. You guys honestly make such a big difference.
So, here's to a new chapter in my development as a writer. In my own character arc.