As mental health providers, we are often shocked when life hits us hard. Somehow many have grown to think they’re immune to the challenges of life. When we do face them, we question our effectiveness with our clients. How could we possibly help someone else when we’re having a breakdown ourselves?
You can and you will. I’m sure you do it all the time with up to 20+ clients a week. Your clients don’t know the difference because it’s their therapy so they’re totally focused on themselves. Breakthroughs may be few and far in between but one thing’s for sure; If you don’t have good self-care, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually have a breakdown. Often times this manifests as a mental breakdown and sometimes our bodies start giving out too. That’s when the physical symptoms you’re complaining to your doctor about come into play. Has she been able to diagnose you yet? If your doctor is like mine during my burnout days, you’re probably being encouraged to take a look at whether or not your job is a good fit and then comes the suggestion you meet with…you guessed it, a therapist! lol
You may have walked away from that expensive appointment asking “Why is this happening to me?” or “I help so many people. Why do I deserve this?” We ask this question even though we know good darn and well that it was inevitable for it to happen to us. Our workload as therapists is often unsustainable. Breaks are few and far in between and self-care goes out the window when you can barely make it to the grocery store after your shift due to fatigue. Since you likely can’t do much about the “system” or anything to reduce your caseload, you have to think outside the box. This is where some good mindset work comes in.
With a growth mindset, one would answer it by saying “This is happening to me because there’s a lesson I need to learn. How can I grow and heal from this?” If you’re prone to more of a limited mindset, you might think “Whoa is me. It’s happening again. Such is my life!” This is where the comparison game starts to take over. Maybe you envy your coworker who’s up for a raise. She’s also the one that answers all the questions in those clinical meetings with textbook answers as if her brain stored all the information from the NCC exam. You can roll your eyes now…I won’t tell anyone! 🙂
Comparison steals joy…
It’s not that she’s any better than you, love. In fact, she too might be having multiple breakdowns a year. She’s just better at hiding it or maybe she’s doing the internal work and really doesn’t feel as burned out as you do. It’s not that you’re less deserving of healing. It’s likely that you’ve chosen to sit in that sunken place for so long that you’ve joined with it. Now you’re married with burnout and in your mind, there’s no option for a divorce. That’s when you challenge what your mind says about how stuck you are, examine it and discard all the ideas that don’t serve you. Then, you embrace the breakdown head on.
The positive side of breakdowns…
Here’s the thing about breakdowns. They often proceed something great. They’re a sign you’re alive and can still feel. Give yourself a pat on the back-you’re human!
I get it-they’re inconvenient but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t fret if you’re experiencing a breakdown over let’s say…thoughts about what to do with your career as a Professional Counselor.
1. Breakdowns are an opportunity to learn. Out with the old and in with the new. Expect a rebirth when you’re done if you’re willing to do the internal work.
2. It’s a sign you’ve been suppressing something and it’s time to let it out. You’ve helped everyone else but yourself. When’s your turn? Here’s where you analyze all the things you’ve missed out on due to your symptoms. It’s worth it to press forward.
3. This is where major growth happens for many people because they’re to the breaking point and are no longer willing to live with all the pain. It’s time to heal and being ready is not a requirement. This is necessary for you to move forward.
Would you like help with the healing process? For many people, even acknowledging the positive side of a breakdown is too overwhelming because they don’t know where to start. That’s when you need someone to guide you through the process, point out the things you can’t see and hold you accountable for taking action on the things you want to change.
If that’s you, I invite you to book a complimentary Discovery Call so that we can discuss where you are currently and what you think is blocking you from getting to the next step. In the meantime, I encourage you to do some journaling about what life looks like if you don’t make a change. Sometimes that’s the push counselors need.
As always, I truly hope this blog post is helpful for you. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section and don’t forget to book your Discovery Call HERE.
Until next time,
The Counselor’s Mindset Coach