back up? I haven't blogged regularly for quite a while. I would write a few posts, take a
break and come back trying to rev myself back up. I've been thinking about writing for
months now, but just didn't know where to start or what to say. so, here I am now. I've
been a personal journey this year, or I suppose it's been over the last two years.
February 2011 my contract with my employer ended. I was at a loss for what to do next until
one of my best friends suggested I go back to school. I hadn't considered this and had no
idea what I would want to take. There were two things I was sure of - I did NOT want to
work in a call center and I DID want to help people. This led to me going through the
Second Career process which was a lot of work and a lot of waiting. At the last minute I
was accepted and started the Addictions and Community Service Worker program at Everest
I had an amazing teacher who tells it like it is and I learned a lot from him. I also
learned a lot about myself during the course. I was a leader in my classroom, formed a
study group, and somehow found time to do charity work to raise funds for graduation. (A
graduation I decided not to attend.) My student placement was quite challenging but I
learned a lot. I graduated with higher marks than I knew I was capable of. For the first
time I felt confident that I would make a great counselor.
Unfortunately, being a great student doesn't mean you'll fall into the perfect job. I was
not able to find full time work in the field. I managed to get on as a relief counselor at
a women's residential treatment center. I was grateful to have my foot in the door
somewhere, however, there is no room for movement. I burnt out working 16-24 hour shifts,
my family missed me and my daughter struggled with going to school Mondays after not seeing
me for majority of the weekend.
February of this year I was plagued with the worst seasonal depression I'd faced yet. I
would go places with a smile plastered on my face and cry in the bathroom. The worst night
was an event I'd helped plan. My church was hosting a ladies' night out. I'd been so
excited to be involved and to attend. However, on the way there I couldn't stop crying. I
made it to the church helped set up and continued to hide my tears as best I could. I
remember sitting in the chair listening to a woman who is a comedian and cancer survivor
speak about depression and all I wanted to do was run away. I forced myself to stay seated
until the end. As everyone was chatting and getting ready to leave one woman asked me how I
was. I tried to say fine, but she didn't buy it. I tried to play it off as being tired, but
when I got home I pretty well collapsed in my husband's arms and couldn't stop weeping. I
admit this is harder to write than I was expecting. My husband is a wonderful man but he
couldn't understand what was wrong. He wanted to fix it. He's very much a fixer. When I was
able to speak I tried to explain as best I could to him, but I was so deep in that dark
place it was difficult. I truly believed that I didn't deserve anything. I felt I was
literally worth nothing. I had this amazing husband, three beautiful and healthy children,
a wide network of friends and family that love me and an amazing church family, but I felt
completely unworthy of it all. It's like having two people inside of you. The rational you
who knows that this thinking is ridiculous and the broken me who felt worthless. This also
led to a crisis in my faith. I knew that God loved the world so much he sent his son to
save the world. But I also couldn't get it out of my head but why me? I'm not worth
anything. So, why would a might big God love me?
A little more than a year ago I, along with four classmates, attended a weekend workshop at
the Satir Learning Center of Ottawa. It was definitely NOT what we were expecting. In fact,
I believe we all felt like it was a cult at one point or another, but we stuck it through
the entire weekend. I'm really glad we did. I am a very kinesthetic person. I learn best by
doing. I really connected with the people there and learned a lot about myself in the
process. I continued to go to groups sporadically.
The Satir Learning Center of Ottawa presents weekend workshops that teach you methods that
help you choose how you react to what life presents you. These methods were developed by
Virgina Satir. To most it seems quite unconventional, but it's something you have to
experience with an open mind to see the amazing benefits.
During my dark period as I call it now, the Satir Center offered training days the first
Saturday of the month from March to June. I signed up and figured I'd work around my work
schedule. I felt this was something I needed to do. The first training session went well
and it was announced that the "star" of an upcoming event had to back out. I was approached
to see if I had ever considered doing a "reconstruction". I said maybe and then proceeded
to obsess about whether I should or shouldn't. One of my best friends who always tells me
like it is said either do it or don't but stop obsessing. So, I sent off an email saying if
no one else was available I would do it.
You're probably wondering what a reconstruction is well I'm getting to it. I won't give you
details because those are for me, but I'll give you a general idea of what it was and what
I learned. Basically, I looked at my family tree back to my great grandparents and not just
names and dates, but what their lives were like. I was very lucky to have a couple of
people in my family who were able to answer all of my questions no matter how hard the
answers were. This was all part of the research and preparation. The actual reconstruction
involves re-enacting certain scenes. (not with actual family members) The group is
confidential so no information is repeated. This weekend of re-enacting my family's history
as I know it has led to some real personal growth. I have a new sense of why member's of my
family are who they are today. That the things they've gone through have shaped them and
ultimately shaped me into who I've become. The end result has been forgiveness in my own
heart and acceptance of who they are.
I spent most of my life in survival mode, just getting through and moving forward. What I had not done was take time to go through the emotions and make peace. I'm not saying I had a horrible life, but there were some really trying times and I never really dealt with them. I truly believe this is what led to my depression. Everything had been bottled up for so long that it was starting to spill out. I have an amazing life now. I worked hard to get where I am today. And yes the past is the past, but not everyone can handle dealing with the emotions of whatever life has thrown at them. People like me go into survival mode and battle their way through leaving the emotions to be dealt with another day. This process has helped me get to a place where I can look at the past and know that while it helped shape who I am it does not define me today.
Other realizations have been slower to come and I've still had some dark moments, but the
dark times don't last as long. Around the end of May I felt as though my dreams were dead. Through all of these personal issues I've been trying to find a job...any job at this point. But I remember saying to my husband my dreams are dead I'll never be a counselor it's over. He laughed. Yes, he laughed and yes he's still alive! He said you should get a tattoo of a tombstone with the word Dreams over it. He made his point. It was ridiculous. Not long after this my husband says to me in passing what about university? I was dumbfounded. For the first time in my life I paused and thought university? me? Anyone who knows me and has talked about university with me would know that any mention of me going to university has immediately been scoffed by me with a definitive definitely not! I am NOT university material. But this time I thought to myself why not me? I have completed four college programs. The last one I did really well in. It may seem silly or small to you, but for me this is a huge step. Whether I end up going to university or not, just knowing that the world is my oyster and the possibilities for my life are endless brings me a lot of hope.
I'm currently unemployed, overweight and have no idea what is next for me. So I know I still have a long way to go, but I'm not finished yet and that is exciting indeed!