I think I will start with why the title of this post came to me. I realized after coming back from vacation that this is what has happened to me. My identity is wrapped up around my role as a social worker/ counsellor, psychotherapist so much that I don't know what happens when I take that away from me. I got a glimpse of what it is like to not be wrapped up in it for about 6 days while on vacation and I really liked it. It put me in a difficult place, to be honest. When I got back, I dreaded taking my role up again. I didn't have to worry. I had no part in it, as my role took ME up.
I think I need to stay a bit in the abstract now as I begin this. I'm not sure if I will publish all of my words on this subject, but I'll try to. There are a couple things that caught my eye that helped me take the different path that I am now taking and I would like to point those out. It really started last year with a comment on my About Me page.
My 'take' on your asocialness (and perhaps I say this because I have a similar take) is that we are searching for intimacy from our clients that for one reason or another (attachment issues?) we are unable to get from those around us.That got me thinking. At first I was a bit taken aback and then a bit angry. Not me, I said! I'm past those issues! I've done a lot of work on myself. Then I began to question.
After that, it snuck up again. It was one of those things I would have only realized and would hit me after I have seen it before. You know, like when you hear a word for the first time and then you hear that word three more times that week. This time, it was on the wonderful blog Monkeytraps from this post:
In talking about hiding from intimacy and connection, fritzfreud writes:
Eventually, when I had to leave the cave to make a living, I looked around for some way to do so which would allow me to stay mostly in hiding.This one really hit me. Hard. Yet still, I avoided making changes. I avoided facing the fear. The shame.
I became a therapist.
Looking back on that choice now, I see two things that made therapy appealing. The first was knowledge. I loved the idea of becoming a magus, a magician of the mind, possessor of arcane understanding and skills that would enable me to transmute (and so rise above) the common run of human misery.
The second was invulnerability. Doing therapy seemed a terrific way to get really close to people without having to risk criticism or rejection or abandonment. To make contact without making contact, so to speak.
And then I had to. I got back from vacation and I was getting anxious about my work and how it consumed me. And then I looked at my life, in the present and the past. And so then I made some changes. I think to end this post, I will let you know some of the changes I've made and then maybe I'll talk about them more, in this post and later.
- I've deleted all of the therapy, psychology and social work links from my computer.
- I no longer follow any psychology/social work/therapy blogs.
- I've created a new Twitter account that includes no therapy, psychology or social work.
- I've stopped reading books related to psychology, therapy or social work at home.
- I've started doing, or at least looking for, activities that I enjoy doing that are unrelated to work.
- I'm trying to see myself, when at work, as good enough. At home, too, but with a different slant.
- I'm trying to find my place in a more wholistic way. It's not easy.
I looked back and found that from the age of 14, I've been reading self help books. That led into psychology books. That led into working in the helping profession. That led into social work. BSW, MSW, various trainings. That led into my present counselling/therapy job. I really thought I was doing this because I was meant to. All my paths led here and it was a GOOD thing. Now I'm not so sure. Yes, the paths led me here, but is it the best, or even a good, place to be for me? It seems to point to my being here with a purpose of trying to understand my life. Yes, that's important on some level, but is it a way to live your life? There's this quote that I've hung onto. "You're born, you deconstruct your life and then you die. Haha, but no thanks. It's a difficult reality to face that I'm facing this now. Especially since I thought I had already faced it!
So now I look back think about what I've missed. What could I have been? What were other directions? What did I not allow myself to see with my focus so intent on being where I am today?
I'm not leaving social work. I am very good at what I do and I still enjoy it (sometimes for the wrong reasons) and want to continue. I'm trying to make the right changes so that I can exist as ME, not as a psychology/therapy/counselling/social work obsessed person.
I don't know where this is leading. I really don't. And I'm trying to be okay with that. Success is limited with that, to be sure!