Scrambling

At first I thought I felt like one of the people trying to hoist the elephant, but no. I feel like the elephant. Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

I am struggling right now in my other transition–adulthood. I am feeling really overwhelmed. I’ve been stressed out for a while, but I seem to have hit some kind of new threshold. The combination of grad school classes, counseling clients, intensive supervision, my job, joining the board of a professional organization, looking for an internship for next semester with time running out, and, you know, life, trying to be a good partner, son and brother, and all the little tasks that demand doing daily: dogs, chores, shopping, appointments, bills, prescriptions, phone calls… Holy shit, how the hell do people do this?!

Writing it out, at least, I can see why I feel overwhelmed. I really have a lot going on right now. The counseling & supervision is such a challenge in itself. It’s very exciting and rewarding, and I can see growth and change in myself and my clients. But wow, it pushes me so hard, I don’t have that much energy for the zillion other things going on.

I keep getting waves of anxiety, feeling like an imposter. What the hell am I doing? Who am I kidding? I’m terrified.

On the one hand, I feel like, what a joke that I am supposed to be helping others with their mental health–I’m a fucking mess! On the other hand, the nature of the work inspires me to be good to myself, to not work myself too hard, because to make myself miserable helping others be well is just absurd (not to mention impossible).

It is so damn bizarre. I’m like, ok, one minute I’m scrambling to finish a paper; then I’m in a meeting for work; then I’m coaxing someone into a signing a piece of paper promising not to kill themselves; then I’m having dinner with my partner; then I’m giving a presentation on how to help undergraduates write essays; then I’m doing dishes; then I’m listening to someone talk about being raped; then I’m watching a video of myself listening to someone talk about being raped, as another person pauses the video every few minutes to ask, “What were you feeling at this moment?”; then I’m cold-calling agencies and pleading with them to let me work for them for free; then I’m trying to get somewhere on time; then I’m sitting in tiny room with a sobbing man; then I am stopping a moment to smell the first lilacs; and a voice comes through my headphones, saying,

One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness beyond uttering. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is nothing new under the sun.

Alma and I keep joking that we are babies pretending to be adults. Funny cuz it’s true. I am in over my head.

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8 comments

  1. butchcountry67

    welcome to the wacky world of Adults…. just think you just have another 50 to 60 years of this no time for anything and working yourself into the ground just to stay afloat ahead of you!! isn’t being a grown up fun? … when I was young I couldn’t wait to be a grown up, to do my own thing, live life how I pleased, set my own rules, I was going to change the world !!… then I grew up and became an adult and have spent the last 27 years asking myself…. what the hell was I thinking!! this ain’t fun at all!! , wishing you the best of luck and great success in life :)

  2. Lesboi

    It will get better! You have a lot going on right now. Once you get settled in a job and get your life mellowed out you’ll feel much better. In the mean time just do what everyone else does and fake it till you make it.

  3. UnknownJamie

    Just give it time, it gives explanation to all those half-painted kitchens and growing stacks of newspapers you wonder why no-one cleans up. There’s only so much time in the day, and you definitely have a lot going on. I imagine it takes a lot of people a few near misses or mini-breakdowns, but as you grow accustomed to it, energy levels can rise and you can rise more to the challenge!
    Lots of hard work makes those little moments of peace and joy all the more satisfying, make sure to grasp them when you can. Also, I think remember to praise yourselves for caring enough about your lives to want to work hard and make a difference, maybe it doesn’t feel like it from the outside sometimes, but for all the stuff you are doing? You are kicking total butt.

  4. genderneutral

    I have to admit to a knowing belly laugh as I read this and relief that I am no longer there. You describe it so perfectly, the demands, the stress, the newness, the profound meetings juxtaposed with the mundane, the wonder if I am really capable, and the seeming endlessness f it all. Their is nothing quite like life while in grad school! If internship is up and coming, it will be over before you know it. My internship year felt like it flew by anyways. You are going to continue growing into an awesome therapist as you continue growing into the awesome man you are!

  5. Pingback: Giving Up, In A Good Way | Today I Am A Man
  6. Sam Hope

    as a counsellor myself, and a 43 year old who still hasn’t grown up, I totally relate to this. I increasingly have come to the conclusion everyone is just “performing” grown-up anyway ;-)

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