I’m a big fan of seeing a counselor.
(Also, I’m a hypocrite for saying that.)
Everybody has problems to deal with. Lots of people have much bigger ones than I do. To get geographical about it, some people have to scale the Rocky Mountains; but even the smaller, rounded, wooded Blue Ridge Mountains are hard to shove out of the way.
DJ and I first saw a counselor during Year 8 of our marriage. We’d come up against a mountain and weren’t sure exactly how to get around it. A few sessions with a trained, unthreatening, non-preaching counselor showed us that we had no idea how to talk through conflict. She gave us ways to approach a difficult subject, helped us figure out our different mindsets, and completely solved our whole problem!
Which you of course know is a black lie. Five years later, we’re still practicing. But it definitely changed our marriage for the better.
A couple of years ago, DJ found himself exhausted by stresses at work. This is the man who always follows recipes, or stops and asks for directions. (Heck, he stopped on the way to the hotel after our wedding to ask for directions.) So as soon as he realized it was too big for him to handle, he made a few appointments with the counselor on his own. It didn’t fix everything, but it gave him a handhold to scale the mountain.
And then there’s me — the hypocrite.
It was obvious I was having some problems. I spent four or five years desperately unhappy at church until we finally moved to a different one, and all of us were able to relax. At which point I developed the inability to sit through the service. Simply looking over the bulletin made me panicky. I’d flee to another room, put in my earbuds, and journal about ideas for novels. Finally, at the end of this January, I just stopped going to church altogether.
DJ understood that I needed the break. But, he pointed out, it’s not like this reaction was getting better. He really wanted me to see the counselor. I agreed to make an appointment. And I did! Two months later.
Because I’m a big fan of counselors… for other people. Not for me, necessarily.
Yesterday, I drove through the beautiful spring snow (grrr) with a knot in my stomach. Fortunately, the session turned out to be non-soul-wrenching, nonthreatening, and completely unsurprising. I knew why I was having trouble, and she listened, asked questions, and confirmed it. I didn’t need revelations; I just needed the chance to talk it out and better understand what was triggering me.
We finished with me feeling better about the whole situation, especially since she agreed that it was probably a good idea for me to not to attend church until I felt ready. “Great,” she said. “I think we’ve scratched the surface here.”
“No,” I said quickly. “That was great. I’m just fine now.”
“When would you like to come back?”
“How about in two weeks?” I sighed.