Psychotherapy: Day One
I’m at this point where I’m physically capable of getting back to work, but no amount of good health or logical thinking can make my heart agree. Now that I have my brain back, and I’m thinking clearly, I still have so many emotions to deal with. Emotions that I’m not completely aware of or able to put words to. Knowing myself like I do, I’m confident that in two years time I can look back at now and state with accuracy how I felt, but I’m not aware enough of my emotions, now, in the moment, to say how I feel with any confidence. I will benefit greatly from help. I started therapy today because I can’t bring my heart up to speed when it comes to going back to work, whatever that work might entail.
The emotion I most identify with now is fear. I fear returning to work in customer service. I fear that it’s the only thing that I’m good at that pays the bills. I fear it so much that I was moved to tears when trying to choke the words up and out into a clear sentence for my therapist. Cancer changed me this past year, and the thought of going back to calming down angry people makes me feel a whole trail mix of emotions from hopelessness to depression, anxiety, so on. It’s the kind of trail mix without any chocolate. I hear these voices repeating in my head, “we all have to work to pay the bills” and “what makes you think you’re an exception?” These thoughts have made me return to customer service over and over again. And now my resume is full of customer service jobs. I want to break free from this path.
My other option is portrait photography. It’s not really what I want. I love portrait photography, but it requires the same exhausting emotional work that customer service does. Portraits are stressful for all families, all the time. So I have to put a lot of energy into calming people down and making them feel relaxed and happy. However they feel during the portrait is going to show in the picture, so a mom who is stressed about her kids misbehaving is going to look stressed in her picture if I don’t do my part to help ease the tension. At the end of the day, it emotionally feels the same as a day of customer service. An extrovert would gain energy from these social situations, but my introverted mind is emotionally exhausted by it. Being a introvert doesn’t make me better or worse at the job, it only effects how I feel at the end of the day. I have a history of wanting to do well, so much so that I put aside my emotions to get the job done, and no matter how good I am at it, inside I feel all used up, drained, tired, and in fear and anxiety about how exhausting the next day will be.
Now this is the point where I would ask anyone else, “What is it you want to do? What is your passion?” My passion is fine art. My passion is writing. My passion is to connect with people on an emotional level in an equal way, meaning it’s not just a one-way street where I am constantly trying to comfort others. It’s a conflict of balance. It doesn’t bother me to listen to people complain and comfort them, I actually REALLY enjoy it and seek it out in my personal relationships. I like being a sounding board, I like asking questions that help me understand, I like elevating the people around me. But when it’s a stranger, that’s where the enjoyment ends. When it comes to work, I’m happiest when I can work in silence. Whether it’s photoshop, painting, crafting, organizing, making spreadsheets, planning, or creating. If I’m alone, I get a lot done in a short amount of time. When I’m alone, not being interrupted, I can focus in on a task and stay focused until the job is done.
Knowing myself, what I like, and what I’m good at, hasn’t helped me find the right career path yet. Being self-confident, overcoming challenges, and facing fears has not helped me find the right career path. Thinking about all of this is so overwhelming and depressing. Depression has finally arrived to the cancer party. I. Need. Therapy.