I’m in counseling.
I’m also great at intros in case you couldn’t tell.
Actually, let me start over…
Hi, everybody!! It’s been awhile!
I’ve been busy writing books instead of writing blog posts, but I’m back!
And also, I’m in counseling.
I’ll fill you in on why I’m in counseling in a minute. The just-as-important question here is “Why am I telling you I’m in counseling?”. Thank you for asking.
I wonder often about this insane social media platform I’ve been randomly selected by God and the universe to manage. What’s its purpose and what’s mine in handling this giant? Sometimes I’m not sure what’s worse – trying to figure out what to order at Buffalo Wild Wings or everybody watching me do it through the lens of the inter-webs.
The most obvious answer I’ve come to is that my purpose is to lighten the loads of large quantities of people with laughter. Life is hard and real and serious and sometimes we need clean escapes like dumb videos and memes. I find my escape in other ways, like watching TLC. PS – 90 Day Fiance’ just cannot be real! Anyway, the recognition and acceptance of my comedic task-at-hand is one I’ve taken on with great joy. I’m grateful for the opportunity. But back to the question. Why am I telling you I’m in counseling?
Here’s the reason.
I’m a firm believer that we share a lot of the same viewpoints on most of life, you and I. And the main reason you keep coming back and watching and looking and reading is because of one thing – honesty. You watch these stupid, so-yesterday videos because they’re exactly what you’re feeling and thinking most of the time. You read the blog and the books and you keep coming to my stand-up shows because I tell you all about my divorce and horrible dating experiences and gynecologist visits. No BS. True stories. And you feel normal for a minute.
I love it when people get real!
Somebody please for the love of all things holy tell me you don’t have it all together. Tell me you hate middle school and you would rather go to counseling on a Saturday morning than go watch your kids play sports. Tell me your husband snores like a freight train and that you have a giant nose hair that you have to pluck once a quarter.
Tell me all the things. I crave it!
Tell me you’re real and that I’m not alone. Tell me you’re grieving. Tell me you’ve been trying to lose the same 10 pounds for 14 years. Tell me that underneath your Sunday smile you’re having trouble at home and want to scream!
Tell me you’re broke, that you flipped somebody off on the interstate today, that you love God and you believe but maybe sometimes you don’t. Tell me you question, that you’re insecure and that underneath your tough exterior you’re really just a softy with daddy issues. Tell me you’re healthy but only because you worked through the trauma of your childhood.
I have to know. Because if you really do have it all together then I’m about to go lose myself in a charcuterie board with a side of chili cheese fries and some double stuffed Oreos. And don’t forget the wine.
This is our common thread – the tie that binds – LIFE.
None of us know what we’re doing. We’re all just trying to get through it without needing counseling.
The past few years have brought me high highs and low lows. And I’ve managed. But the past few months the dust has settled and at the end of the day, after the show is over and the internet is down, I’m left with one thing – me.
I’m honestly the happiest I’ve probably ever been since my existence.
My kids are healthy and happy for the most part, and my 17-year-old son has reemerged from the teenage abyss and hugs me and makes conversation with me once again. I have met the love of my life who brings all the things to my world that I always knew I needed and just as many things that I didn’t. My new family is more than I ever dreamed and has so beautifully accepted me and my children in ways that only Lacey Chabert in a Hallmark movie could capture. I am happy and content. I’ve tried to be a great mom and love people well and if I never make another person laugh again, I still know I have served my purpose here on earth.
These are all wonderful assessments and revelations and they are pretty on paper. But tangled up in all that happy is a tad bit of insecurity and even more unresolved issues from, well – LIFE.
I mean, let’s be for real. The reason I’m even funny is because – TRAUMA.
Speaking of, recently a few weeks of giving in to some surfacing anxiety, fear and passive-aggressive behaviors, and that was just about enough to make me decide I needed to pay out-of-pocket for somebody licensed to listen. Somebody with a degree in “Why am I suddenly being triggered by nothing?”.
You have no idea how badly I wanted this to be PMS, but with 19 days to go I felt certain there were deeper issues.
It took my new counselor, who doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground, about 2.4 seconds to pinpoint the root of my anxiety and take me back to more than my fair-share of childhood wounds. And it’s a shame, really – me and her. Had my counselor and I met under different circumstances I feel certain we would hang out on the weekends. Tragic.
Now, not only am I talking out all of my contention with my counselor/would’ve been-could’ve been friend, but also with a pink stuffed unicorn that she made me purchase with real money to represent my three-year-old self. I even had to name her but that is absolutely none of y’alls business.
Anytime I’m feeling triggered I’m instructed to reach into my purse, take her out and have a loving conversation.
“Excuse me, Starbucks barista, I know I’m holding the line, but your rude demeanor mixed with the fact that you’re out of pumpkin spice is just about to send me into a tailspin. I’m feeling really abandoned right now, and if you don’t mind, I’m just gonna sidebar with my little associate here. We’ll reconvene in 5 minutes.”
Not weird at all.
Hi, my name is Heather (Hi, Heather) and I’ve also been attending ACA (Adult Children of Addicts) meetings. I find it particularly fun to be mid-sentence in a snot-infested verbal purge and be given the two-minute warning, because other people need to talk too, ya know! Do you understand the pressure in having to wrap your story in now 1 minute and 37 seconds because it took you 23 just to reacclimate?! And I had only gotten to 7th grade!!
Why can’t this class that I hate be longer?!?
Do y’all want me to get well or naw?
If you answered yes then I’m gonna need an extension!
As much as I joke and love-slash-hate (mostly love) counseling here’s my unsolicited, uncertified, no-Masters-Degree-having opinion: Who DOESN’T need counseling?! Good grief! Show me one person who’s got it all together at every phase of life and I’ll show you my car with no crumbs in the backseat.
I’m so glad that my counselor decided to follow HER purpose in helping people sort through hurts that sometimes need a third party to navigate. I’m beyond grateful that I’m out of pride – that I’m finally learning how to set healthy boundaries, to stand up for myself and tend to my own heart before everybody else’s – to realize that most of my anxiety stems from issues that aren’t even my fault but that my responses to life’s triggers are my responsibility to manage. Most importantly, I’m grateful for a chance to do the work – to learn how to let myself heal properly and to be gracious with my little unicorn-self so that I can be the best version of me possible.
I don’t tell you this to humiliate anyone. This is just my story.
There’s just so much to say that I don’t even know where to start so I’ll just start here – this post.
If I can encourage you that you’re aren’t alone, well…I’m here for it.
In summation I give you this:
If you’re in a place in your life where you need to go to counseling, dang it – GO!
(Don’t say you aint’ doin it).
Find somebody in your PPO network and if you don’t have insurance, find you a friend who loves you and doesn’t get worn out by your banter and your tears, or someone who has partial hearing loss and chew their ear off.
There’s no shame in doing the work – only shame if we don’t. I’m pretty sure Brene’ Brown has said that in all of her books, but for today I’m gonna pretend like I just came up with it.
And there’s no shame in dealing with things that you didn’t create but have been left to deal with. Somebody needs to hear that right now. (If I was a pastor I would be passing the offering plate!)
Love yourself and the people in your life enough to address the pink elephant (or unicorn) in your room, and if those people are genuine, they’ll love you for it and cheer you on all the way! And when you start getting healthy, will you tell somebody about it when the time is right?
Will you share the love and the knowledge and the tenacity?
Spread some of that gumption to your fellow brothers and sisters.
Share the real.
Ok, guys. That’s all for today’s session. I’m afraid we’re out of time. I have, once again, abused my privilege and gone well over my two-minute warning.
Next week I want everyone to write out all of your 40-11 issues on a sheet of paper, spit on it, turn around three times and go bury it in the backyard. Not really sure this will heal your heart, but I’m pretty sure you just laughed when you read that.
Our work here is done…