Inner Conflict

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    Hi all, Ive been having this internal battle with myself which has resulted in me experiencing anxiety to this degree for the first time in my life. I am 27 yrs old currently in a graduate program to become a mental health counselor. Becoming a therapist was something i dreamt of being since I was 7 yrs old. Being at the end of my academic career and the facing my dream has caused so much discomfort for me over the last 5 months. I have carried an extreme heavy load working 40 hrs a week as a case manager in a company that often time feels like the Titanic, school part time and internship. My anxiety made me feel as though it was just something i needed to get used to since it was something new but 5 months later and it’s getting worse. I can only conclude that my body is screaming out for me to become aware of something not being right or just not the right time.

    Over the last 2 days after realizing that my days of clarity have been less and less and the effect that the stress and pressure has put on myself, Im faced with a harsh reality of accepting that I need to take a step back and that this is okay. I can’t help but to feel like I’m weak for not being able to handle my load and the pressure that I put on myself to finish leaves me trapped and miserable. This realization has brought feelings of failure and weakness and I’m having such a hard time being okay with taking a break or even reassessing my dream to begin with…part of me keeps telling me that i can be weak, i have to push through i have to finish this, but my body,mind and emotional self is crying out for help for some relief that i can’t seem to accept for myself.


    There’s some Good news and some Bad news….
    First, the good news….you’ll be easily able to empathize with your future patients !
    The bad news is that you may not make it that far….

    There’s a physical and mental aspect to all of this.
    Your body is obviously stressed and probably permanently in the Fight or Flight mode, and, as you probably know, it shuts down a lot of the facilities that it decides are not essential. That makes decisions and actions that much harder to make. In my country, Australia, workplace stress is defined as..”adverse reaction experienced by workers when workplace demands and responsibilities are greater than the worker can comfortably manage, or are beyond the workers’ capabilities “. Are we getting close.

    If this is allowed to continue, then you’re in for a world of pain. The obvious answer is to do something about it…like reducing workload etc. However, I think you’re saying that you know that, but your mind is rejecting it.

    Next question…why is your mind rejecting the obvious solution?
    As you say, you have placed your worth on being able to cope…with the alternative being failure and weakness.

    Next question…how do I change this attitude?
    See a Mental Health Counsellor…..only joking!! But actually, it’s not such a joke. These are the people who can help you change your attitude and beliefs…if you wish to.

    You can certainly try it yourself, but it is difficult. The goal is to change your beliefs so that you KNOW that your worth is in YOURSELF, not in passing exams, getting a job, conquering Everest, becoming a Counsellor in record time.

    Once you accept your worth, regardless of achievement, you’ll always make the right decision for your body.

    Steph Sterling

    Listen to your gut and slow down…you are not a robot.

    One of the most important things to remember as a mental health professional is self-care or you will burn out. I don’t think you have to reassess your dream, I just think you need some balance – it’s tough. I had a similar struggle in grad school (I am a clinical social worker) – this is one of the lessons you need to learn…it will all be good and work out…it might also be helpful to seek some additional support to work through your feelings of failure and weakness…


    Thank you so much for your words… I have been seeing a counselor the minute i first experienced it, I made an appointment and have been going religiously. Its been helping as Im the type of person who NEEDS to talk about my feelings. I have also taken off time from work to just relax and go out with friends and do things that I like to do. Usually when I do this my anxiety subsides… not nonexistent but i feel relief.

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