Some Days I Walk Into the Counseling Office and…

…. I look like I just got out of bed. My hair is in a ponytail with those crazy sprigs making that fuzzy weird look that happens when I haven’t had time to shower. I’m wearing sweatpants – not the yoga pants that are almost acceptable at work now – the full on sweatpants that even the most uncool won’t wear outside of their house anymore. I’m wearing my most comfortable sweatshirt. It is the one that I’ve had for a long time, that a friend gave to me, and that I’m pretty sure will stay with me until I die. Even though the ends of the sleeves are unraveling and breaking apart, I find comfort in the worn-out inside that makes me feel like me.

These are the days in the counseling office when we pick apart the scariest parts of my brain. The scary is mostly caused by chemistry and impacts energy. The energy changes that come with the ups and downs of a bipolar brain can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Although I have some sense of seasonal impact, I really do not know when a change could happen.

Most people think that the scariest part of mental health are the low energy times.  In fact, for most people high energy times are much worse.  The brain races along faster than we can catch our thoughts. We open businesses, agree to too much, and talk super fast.  We might not even be able to listen to you because your words are not coming out fast enough for us. We interrupt, speak for you, and often misunderstand what you really meant.

Another common misconception is that low energy and sadness go hand in hand.  This is simply not true.  While they can co-exist, they are two separate entities.  Depression/low energy is not really a bad mood.  It is simply low energy.  Imagine influenza with the headache and fatigue.  That is low energy.  The DSM might have depression in the mood category, but I think it is wrong.  Sadness is a feeling, and that can happy in a high energy time or a low energy time. Feelings and energy are different.

I digress – back to the counseling office.

On other days, I show up looking like I may head to the beach. I’m wearing the shirt that makes me feel the most like me. This past summer I wore the same shirt to all of my counseling sessions. I bought it when I was on a trip to Rhode Island for a wedding in May. Somehow I had under-packed and needed more clothes. Having to go to the store and find a couple of shirts that would look OK in the various occasions that I had to attend is one of the worst things that I could need to do. On rare occasion, though, I find things in stores that scream me.

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My favorite days are when I enter the counseling office and it might not be clear which is of us is the client and which is the counselor. I look like I’m ready to conquer the world.  I may be in those yoga pants or the black dress pants that I wear to to important meetings. This is when I think that I have all my crap together, and being in the counseling office might actually be a waste of both of our time.  But it isn’t.  These are the days that I get the most done and am able to identify how to keep my crap together once I leave the office.
Even though we have come along way in our society in regards to our attitudes about the counseling office, we still attach a stigma to those (like me) who spend several hours a year there.  More often than not, we do not want to say that we are going there, why we are there, or how long we have been there.
I have decided that, regardless of which of these Stacys walk into the counseling office, it is a good place to be.  My counselor is only concerned about me making good choices, she has nothing at stake in this, and she is trained to ask the hard questions that most of us would be afraid to even think.
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If you think you need a session or two with someone who can do that for you, I highly suggest that you seek someone today.  If you live in a little town without a counselor, contact Family Innovations in Minnesota. They have just added online counseling to their arsenal.

12 Comments

Filed under Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized

12 responses to “Some Days I Walk Into the Counseling Office and…

  1. Michelle Brislin

    So interesting, Stacy. Thank you for sharing. 😊

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  2. Love you my friend. You are so brave.

    Like

  3. Holly

    I appreciated your words today! I just love you…your honesty, sharing your journey. I’m honored to be your friend!!!

    Like

  4. Shan Reed

    Thank you for your honesty. Those of us who do not personally have experience with this world need this kind of information and testimonies so that we know how to help, encourage, etc. Thanks!

    Like

  5. Jeanie

    DearStacy

    I am bipolar and feeling so lonely today. You understand. You get it. You are my friend. God bless you!

    Jeanie

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    • Jeanie: I hope you find a community of support. Another post that I need to write (soon, maybe?) is about my community of support, how they help me, and how I found them. Be well.

      Like

  6. Judie Seibel

    Thank you, Stacy! Truth be told, most of us could benefit from a counseling session every now and then…and age is immaterial!

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    • I tend to agree, and I think that many are missing out on a new understanding (and acceptance) of themselves by not getting in a session or two in their lifetime. 🙂

      Like

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