I am taking ethics in counseling right now.
It is bringing up a lot for me, every single day.
On Monday I responded to a question posed by the professor, who ended up disagreeing with me.
My need to be liked and wanting to be “right” in terms of not failing at something or messing up, kicked in so hard I could feel my body fill up with fear.
Are my thoughts all wrong? Am I a fundamentally bad person? Do people even like me?
I later learned, the reason why the professor had such strong opinions about an ethical situation was that he had more information than he shared with us about the counselor in the wrong. Of course his opinion would be different. His entire perspective would be swayed based on so many other things that I did not have access to.
I came to therapy to stop purging.
Literally, that is it.
I didn’t even want to stop losing weight or over-exercising, if I were to be honest on day one of therapy. I felt like purging was wrong and that if people found out they would hate me and I couldn’t live with that. I also knew it was more risky than other behaviors and didn’t actually want to die or spend any more time over the toilet instead of with my family.
What I want from therapy now, is to continue to deconstruct the entire belief system I have over what is right and wrong, and over the need to have others’ approval and acceptance to feel deserving of life.
What I want to gain from therapy now is confidence in myself. Confidence that my answer to the ethics question was, in fact, critically thoughtful, and addressed with the information I was given, and appropriately answered within the gray area of which ethics exists. Confidence in my intuition. Confidence in that I belong and have a purpose and whatever that means to me is acceptable and good and right.
That I am not wrong for existing or making mistakes or having emotions.
That I belong.
That my body is an already amazing vessel to serve my purpose.
What I want to gain from therapy is a stronger faith in a new belief system. One that involves God, and leaning into support from those I intuitively know will hold space for me in healthy ways.
I want to learn and believe that is ok to need others. That connection is just that; connection. Something every single human being on the entire earth needs to survive. Seeking it makes me well.
I want to fully be able to lean into my truth and believe without hesitation that it is right and well and serving a purpose so much greater than I can know.
And I need help with that, because my body still cringes when I sense I’m not liked, wrong, or don’t belong. I still fill up with fear and worry when I believe I’ve done something someone thinks is wrong. I still lose my voice when anxiety rises. I still find it hard to cope when I have a trauma response.
All of this anger I’ve been holding onto unhealthfully is part of that old belief system. Part of a system that taught me negative emotions are not allowed and if they are shown, they are to be punished. It’s part of a belief system without any faith, forgiveness, or grace. It’s a system of shame and guilt and straight A’s.
I want therapy to keep teaching me that the authentic me is a totally acceptable human being. Maybe even kind of cool, inside a circle surrounded by other humans who love me. I want to keep showing up to therapy, despite my fears, to help dismantle my childhood beliefs and build it back up with the most loving mom-embrace as my guide.
I want to be well.
I really, really, really want to be wholly well.
I have compassion for all the anger I am experiencing and I have compassion for all of the people who have hurt me. Most of them are not doing this work, to my knowledge, and they will not have awareness. It is ok to move on from them. Yes, I deserve apologies. But it’s ok if I don’t ever get them. I can gain strength from the hurt and learn from others’ missteps.
All of this, all of this, is going to make me an incredible counselor.
I have to keep showing up.
I am excited to keep showing up.
And all of it is going to serve a purpose. All of it will be part of my testimony. All of it will be good.