My apologies, folks. Somehow, I blinked and it’s October. I guess I wasn’t kidding when I said that September is nothing but chaotic in the therapy room. September was chalk full of last-minute requests for crisis-fueled sessions, educational advocacy, daunting piles of paperwork, and juggling my own humanness in the forms of dentist (yuck) and doctor appointments. I wish I had more thought-provoking material to report, however my days did not leave much room for pensive ponderings. Instead, I hit the ground at a full sprint, trying to keep an overwhelmed schedule running ‘status quo’.
Another part of me has been uncomfortably distracted by negativity looming over our heads. The point of this blog I had envisioned when I first began it was to be delightfully thought probing, and if anything, a safe space to land and catch one’s breath. So, I doubt many would find delight in the doom and gloom of a therapist ruminating in her own frustrations at impact of the brokenness of systems all around us. Take a peek at any news platform and you can catch storylines hinting at the robbery of women’s rights, missing humans, failing education systems, and an unrelenting Pandemic. For now, I’ll leave my meanderings at that.
While I’ve been subconsciously searching for a word to capture my internal experiences, I stumbled across a term that was uniquely validating. Perhaps, it will be for you too.
As silly as it may be, the image of Squidward from Spongbob Squarepants pops into my mind. The grey sea creature with the funny looking nose and the horrible clarinet playing abilities that paraded on the TV screens of my childhood. He is the prime, tangible example of what it means to feel languished.
It’s the experience of feeling stuck, muddled, and hollow.
As if it would be to exist peering through a muddy windshield day after day.
Aimlessness has to be one of the most gnawing sensations for me. I’m a direct aim and fire kinda gal. Yet, the past two years has muddled that ability, and the joy that accompanied it.
Instead I feel as if I am stuck in an aimless game of chasing my own tail.
A predominant theme in therapy has shifted to crisis management and focus on the immediate future, leaving little reliability to benefit from goal orientation further out. Clients arrive with a dullness to their eyes because of their own chaos they’ve trudged through that day haunts them. Windows of stress tolerance are slim, and I notice the increasing propensities we all have to spit venom at one another.
We are all overtired toddlers sick of trying to shove the square peg in the shapeshifting hole, and we could all use a really good nap.
There is an overall absence of well-being. A depletion of fulfillment. Our motivation is waning, our abilities to focus are foggy, burnout is fierce, and our sense of productivity is that of a Florida thunderstorm. Largely unpredictable and mostly a pain in the neck.
And you know what?
It’s OK to be aimlessly in this spot emotionally. It’s OK to not be the epitome of mental health. It’s OK to snack a little more, to exercise a little less. Because what’s important is that you meet yourself where you are at with compassion rather than criticism. Compassion will prime the way for the moments that soothe our languishing souls. Compassion will leave the light on for when crisis management fades and we regain our confidence in seeking fulfillment and predictability. Compassion for our humanness will maintain the candle of hope for peaceful days to come.