Recently, I was asked to guest blog for some colleagues who have a blog for therapists on Psych Central. It was an honor and led me to write an article on the Therapist as Healer. It also led me to consider my own path as a therapist where I write about the importance of our own healing work…
There was a time when I thought I needed to makes things happen; that if I didn’t push for it then it wouldn’t happen. I wore a badge of honor that “I get s*%t done!” If I didn’t like a job I’d propose a new position that I could create, fill, and develop along the way. In some ways this was a strength. I can be a leader of sorts, but over time this trait had some drawbacks too, because I often Iacked acceptance before I hastily strived to change it. It’s like swimming upstream; moving against the forces of nature, and it can wreak havoc for one’s health! In the process of making such strides in my career to fill roles I truly longed for I became ill. How did this happen? Easy. I was chasing my successful future but running from my past which creates chronic stress. Of course I wasn’t doing this consciously.
In my last post on Letting Yourself Feel I shared the danger of stuffing emotion and the possible effects Adverse Childhood Experiences can have on one’s well being. I am not advocating we blame our upbringing nor resent our families. I love my parents and thoroughly enjoy my life as a therapist, partner, daughter, friend, artist, nature-lover, and seeker of truth. What I am saying is that chronic stress combined with exposure to environmental toxins made me especially vulnerable and highlights the importance of addressing lifestyle, along with the role of thoughts and emotions created by our past experiences, in order to foster the delicate matter of physical health.
1. Start by allowing yourself to feel.
2. Sit with the feeling with focus on your breath as not all feelings are ones we prefer!
3.Reach out for support even when you want to hide.
As stated earlier, we are relational creatures meant to be in relation. When we experience overwhelming emotion our natural tendency is to connect in order to mitigate the suffering unless there has been a rupture in the ability to trust. In which case the natural tendency to reach out becomes thwarted. When the social engagement system doesn’t work for us we resort to fight or flight (often seen as anxiety, compulsivity, etc.). When that fails, we freeze (aka depression, apathy, lethargy). This is just the way our autonomic nervous system works. If you are struggling to find the support you need or are ready to shine the light on those areas holding you back, I am here. I’d love to hear where you are thriving and where you could use some help. Leave me a comment, shoot me an email, or give me a call. That’s what I’m here for!