Today I am having a really hard time, thinking of all my past mistakes and all the times I’ve screwed up. Right now, I’m under a lot of pressure because I let my mental health get in the way of my ability to accomplish my assignments. I hate that I keep ending up here. I’m wasting time, money, and my life just being friggin depressed all the time. Its annoying and overwhelming. I want to quit, start over, get a redo. Life doesn’t work that way, I know that. I’ve lived with consequences before and it just compounds with feeling like I shouldn’t pursue a career in mental health…I can’t even keep mine in order. But when things are good, I see how everything I’ve gone through in life and how I care for people, its like I was made for it. I have times where I’m good, doing the healthy things, taking care of myself and responsibilities, but then days like today it all feels useless. I feel useless, to myself or anyone else. Even if I can accomplish anything today towards the mountain of homework I have, the underlying feelings of failure and disappointment in myself are still there, like they have been in the past.
I love you so much sister friend. I’m sorry today has been rough. I miss you. I know better than anyone that you are far from useless. You have been a huge help and support to Joe and I. We make mistakes, we screw up… .we are human. We just keep trying and hopefully get stronger each time. I believe your own personal struggles with your mental health will make you an amazing counselor. Because you’ve been there yourself you will have a deeper understanding of how to help people and you will have a greater sense of compassion than those who are in it just for the money. You have a great heart for people. You are not a failure. Remember to look back at how far you’ve come.Keep making those baby steps. You’re getting closer and closer.
a friends husband became a psychiatrist. he was in a mental hospital himself at one time and a drug addict as well who required treatment. then he got straight, gained his health back, went to school and is now a psychiatrist. so, hang in there. mental illness is not like a limb. its more like a hair style…the styles and length changes, and how we feel about it changes as well. i hope you keep moving forward.
I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. There’s a lot of thoughts and doubts racing in your mind. It will pass, for sure, but until then we’ll keep giving you a bunch of love and hugs!
I wanted to reply a bit to what you said about the career you’re pursuing. First of all: thank you for this choice of career. This world needs people like you who are willing to make it better.
It made me smile a bit to think about it because actually I recently said to Danjo that there are people who do this kind of work by mistake. They just… happen to be there and can’t even remember why. IRL I’m a social worker. Until now I had to work mostly with other social workers, educators and psychiatrists. And there are people who should just pursue a different career. Some people think they’re gonna be in a rewarding career and well-paid over time. People who think it’s okay to follow instructions and don’t try do anything else. People who think care-jobs can be done behind a desk, hidden under a ton of paperwork. People who sincerely believe they know the truth, what is better for others. People who think that, because they have XX years of practice, they mastered everything and have no need to keep going on formations or learn from others. People who think they can just apply tools and procedures even when it’s about human realities and complexity. People who think this is actually what’s a “well-done job”…
… Hmmm… Nope.
The reason why I share this is because I know, for sure, 100% sure, that you’re not gonna be this kind of person. Because you’ll know what you’ll talk about. Because you’ll put your heart in what you do and won’t think everything is acquired when it’s a matter of human beings. Because it’s actually a vocation for you at first. Because your own experience will help you to understand subtleties and respect others boundaries.
But yes, you’re right, you’ll need to be able to protect yourself and find some balance. The balance between implication and distance can be really tricky and it’s never acquired, as every relationship remains unique. But you’ve got this self-awareness and it’s gonna be a powerful tool. In order to protect yourself, but also to respect others. There is already plenty of literature about this particular position that profesionnal “caregivers” (in general) can have. There are some practical tools which can be useful but also provide some interesting insights. And we don’t say it enough but self-awareness is part of this kind of work. In french we use the expression “cadre de référence” (literally “reference frame”), which is all the things that makes you who you are. What are your personal values? What are the most significant experiences of your life? What makes them significant? Who do you see as being role models for you? For what reasons? What subjects are you comfortable / uncomfortable with? Why do you want to pursue this career, your personal goals? What are your strengths, skills right now? What do you want to improve? (…) These are examples of questions that will help you to set the boundaries you need in your work but also to keep improving yourself.
If this isn’t something that is really part of your actual formation, then don’t hesitate to seek informations and insights by yourself. Through readings but also by speaking with other workers. Can sound weird but going to institutions and to talk to workers there is a great thing to do. Even if it’s not your reality at your own workplace, it’s always nourrishing to meet others and talk about their realities.
It’s easier to work in a team for this very reason, but if you intend to work alone there are also certainly associations, services, professional networks which could be helpful from time to time. For example, in Belgium there’s an official commitee for social workers, which is made up of social workers, but also lawyers who answer practical questions about specific situations or dilemmas that workers may be facing (the most common being the right application of professional secrecy).
Sorry if this reply is a bit destructured. I wrote things as they came to my mind.
Anyway: you can do this! And you know what? You’re going to do it really great. Because you’ll put your heart in this. But also because your current experiences and struggles will help you to accept more easily when you’ll need to take some distance. Never forget that even helpers get help. And not staying alone when you pursue this kind of career is the wisest thing to do, for everyone.
Sending love your way.
Aww, friend. I love you so much. I can relate to so much of this. It sucks when our mental health gets in the way of what we need to be doing. Leaving us feeling like we are failing. You are NOT useless, sweetheart. I understand that underlying feeling of failure and disappointment, but you have a friend here if you ever need some encouragement. Seriously. Message me any time you feel yourself escalating.
It can be difficult to realize this, but your history makes you uniquely qualified to help others. I was not the best student when learning to fly, but those struggles have enabled me to reach a wide range of students as an instructor pilot over the past 16 years. Hang in there and appreciate your experience; it’s unique and tailored to make you the asset that you are today.