Since getting back from Madrid, I’ve been in a lot of pain. I’ve had low blood-pressure and a migraine for the past week. Intense neck pain and blurred vision. And now that my energy is finally picking back up, I find myself in touch with all sorts of unpleasant emotions.
Anger, frustration, sadness and fear; life has been tiring lately. I want so much to be well, to have energy that I can pour into work and move forward. But, I feel I’m stuck in a hamster wheel, facing the same health issues over and over.
THE UNIVERSALITY OF “STUCKNESS”
Many of my clients speak to me about similar feelings of “stuckness”. The experiences of feeling stuck are varied: being in a marriage that feels like an uphill struggle, feeling stagnant in your career, being a different kind of parent to the one you had imagined. Everyone seems to know what it’s like to be in a place that you just don’t want to be in.
DON’T GO THERE
Being the therapist, many people may think it’s not appropriate for me to admit to feeling stuck. I mean, shouldn’t the therapist have it all together, or at least, seem like she does? This doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t believe my occupation as a therapist includes having to fake that I am unaffected by the complexities of life.
When I’m with my clients, supported by my knowledge and experience, I hold the space for them to look at their fears, frustrations and more. Outside of therapy, no longer in my professional role, I am Emma: the wife, the daughter, the sister, the wish-to-someday-be a mother, the fibromyalgic, the housekeeper, the poet, the wannabe vlogger. I am incomplete, in process, and yes, I get stuck too.
STUCKNESS, STUCKNESS, GO AWAY…
When we get stuck, most of the time we try to power through. We try to move the situation to where we want it to be instead of looking at it as it is. When we approach stuckness in this manner, we give it more power over us. The emotions tangled up in the issue don’t go away, instead they drive us and we end up behaving neurotically. You may think that “neurosis” doesn’t apply to you, but to be neurotic just means to behave without consciously choosing your behaviour. Think of a time you shouted at someone but weren’t quite sure what upset you so much, or a time you cried and cried but couldn’t quite put your finger on what was making you so sad.
SHOULD I FAKE IT?
I do not value a life in which I pretend to have it all together. I do not believe that I will be a more competent or successful psychotherapist if I pretend that I never have moments of neurosis. At the end of the day, it is through my embracing of these periods that I grow as a therapist and am of more value to my clients. I believe that a fulfilling life, is one in which I am able, for the most part, to be with myself and those around me, in an authentic way.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR STUCKNESS, YOU GORGEOUSLY IMPERFECT HUMAN BEING
I am sharing this with you because I find this approach to life the most healing. When I acknowledge and express what is really happening with me, I find that those around me soften, and sometimes are able to acknowledge what is happening with them. And it is with sharing and empathy that we heal and move forward.
So, please remember that you are not alone. Give yourself space to be with the stuckness. It is the only way that you will be able to move in a direction that serves you.