Wise Counselor

I saw my therapist today and received many good tidbits to chew on. And she once again proved how wise she is. Here are a few of the comments and my musings.

I posted recently about anxiety dreams about old positions. My therapist proclaimed that is very normal to have dreams where you experience places where you last used your strengths. And that it’s time to look at those strengths and imagine how they will be used next. My favorite pastoral acts, and those I was good at, include worship leadership, creating worship, sermon prep, teaching, preparing lessons. My therapist reminded me that you don’t have to be the pastor of a church to do any of these things! They require skills such as a non-anxious presence, creativity, graciousness of spirit and a welcoming presence, organization, focus and clarity, a sense of God’s presence through mystery and immanence. There’s a future with hope, even in the distressing dreams.

Another tidbit: Life for me (and others!) is like origami. I am in a phase of refolding the last shape into a new form, but I am still the same paper and color. Think on that for a moment! It’s a good metaphor when you think that the average person has 7 careers in a lifetime. Not 7 jobs, but 7 careers!

We noticed again that I could be growing out of my NAMI group. I may need to be around more folks who are stable with meds and situations and just living life, rather than folks who are struggling so hard, the way I was this past year. I’ve entered a new phase of the illness and I need to learn from others who are in that place. Though, if you think about, if they are feeling good, why would they go to a support group? Also, what if I don’t feel I have anything to add with groups of folks who are just out of the hospital, or in the depths of despair, or struggling with medication? My stability is new-found, hard-won, and fragile. I don’t have any wisdom to share, except put the work in, do what your doctors and therapist tell you, get a good care team, take your medications! and believe those who tell you that stability is possible. I wasn’t sure all that would work, though I was told the same things. I can believe them now that I am in a period of stability (albeit a fragile period). Maybe I do have something to add, though I still need to receive something. I’m not sure the current NAMI group has what I need though.

14 responses to “Wise Counselor

  1. What joyous news! Great insights! What a good team you are your wise counselor are!

    And oh, my goodness, the interesting quest for community where one both gives and receives. I think that’s a journey a lot of folks share.

    Tweet me when you wish to talk about worship leadership, creating worship, etc. I have some thoughts about that…..

    • Thanks Jennifer! We are a good team, been working together for two years.
      I feel like I’m in worship leadership each week since I’m either in choir or bells each week. I’m rather uncomfortable with that… Not trying to be up there as a leader and don’t want to think of myself as one either. Just doing musical things that help me feel better, and then I have to share it in worship. I’d be happy just to rehearse. But that’s not fair to the rest of the group.

  2. I LOVE the origami thing. So exhausted I don’t have all my words…

  3. Hmm, maybe it’s time you became a facilitator of a group? Facilitators don’t have to be in perfect health. In fact, it’s preferable that they do continue to experience some mood disorders – that they be in recovery and be able to share with others the journey they’re on and in the process encourage others to join them in that journey.

    I don’t know you very well. It’s my first time to your site. Just want to share with you what I have found in my own facilitating work.

    So good that your therapist is such a wise person. I just visited my counselor this afternoon and am amazed at the wisdom she has. We’re so fortunate to have that kind of person in our life, aren’t we?

    • Yes we are fortunate! I don’t take that for granted, hearing stories of folks struggling to even find a therapist.
      I’ve thought of being a facilitator but don’t feel ready for that. I did a lot of that in my former profession. And I don’t think I have that kind of energy or ability yet. Maybe sometime soon tho!

  4. I really enjoyed your article. I think the origami comparison was very insightful and a great way took at it. I have also had to change my support group many times through my stages. You just have to find the right group for your current needs.

    • That’s a good observation. I just thought I’d find a group and that would be it. I hadn’t thought I had to change support groups from time to time. But that makes sense!

  5. Yay, yay, yay, yay!! Loved this post, love you’ve experienced even a moment of stability. Love you…love the origami image, which is also helpful to me as I move toward my “next” phase. Even though health has stood in the way of my becoming an ordained pastor, my gifts are still appreciated and being used…preaching, teaching, writing. Writing e-books is my latest venture. Hugs, Deb Sr.

  6. Not so fast… Knock Knock Deborah. Welcome to “disrecognized space.” Ah introverts, we do have high standards for those we associate with, sometimes? I can certainly understand the desire to seek out a missing part of your recovery. I wonder what you are truly looking for though? A path back to a more normal existence? A group of people to teach you to be more normal? Could be a tough project even for a formidable and significantly recovered personage such as yourself. Love the blog though. You have excellent instincts for web design. In closing, consider this.

    “Only the ignorant and the supremely wise, never alter.”


    • Say more about “disrecognized space”
      Not sure what you mean by that. Time at Portillos definitely is helpful to be around folks who are living life and doing well. I learn a lot about living with illness and doing well. Time in the small groups especially still seems spent with folks who are new to the process or just out of the hospital. I’m just not in that space right now.

  7. It is a catch all term for the political and social space the mentally ill or otherwise different are forced to occupy. We erect “dis recognized space” any time we walk down a busy street and refuse to make eye contact with a homeless person. Those of us with bipolar are lucky though, we sometimes have the option of rejoining society’s “safe” and “accepted” space if you follow my line of reasoning. Jesus was an expert in stepping in and out of the “dis recognized space” of his time and place according to the stories told about him. Drove the authorities to distraction also, as you know. Anyone who either chooses or is forced to occupy “dis recognized” space is always going to be a problem for authority because we both demonstrate where they fail and show that the lines and rules can be abrogated or broken. You can think of your faith related colleagues who have become rather scarce due to your illness along similar lines. It also doesn’t help that you demonstrate.. “well if Deb can get sick… I can get SICK!” The Outrider is often a comfortable denizen of “dis recognized space.” And so.. as we say among our own kind.

    “Greetings, Outrider.”

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