When the Helper Needs Help

Over the past 6 weeks, my personal life has experienced a series of major and minor changes and shifts. Some were anticipated while others felt like sucker-punches to the deepest part of me. With each passing week and new development, I wanted to be brave and to face the challenges with the grace and grit I imagined those around me needed to see or expected of me. For a while I was successful! I was brave! I was in control and managing well! Then the last blow, the sucker punch, hit me and I was winded and holding onto the very essence of my life, my faith in Christ.

Yet that seemed to be, somehow less than enough… and accepting this reality is familiar to me as I sit with clients as we sort through and process their life-altering, changing, shifting moments. This became more necessary as I needed to lean on more than just my faith in Christ and the community of believers. Thank God, I see mental health and wellness as extensions of my relationship with God, not in opposition to it. As I reflect upon the need for additional support, I’m so grateful that I initiated a relationship with my therapist before “life LIFED ME”.  You see, we have a preexisting relationship that reflects my baseline, how I manage and navigate life when life is simple, not absent of stress or issues but not extremely challenging. There is comfort in this relationship because I believe, feel, and sense that my Black therapist who is a woman, gets me; like she really seeks to understand me, my world and how I view the world based on who I am and where I am. While she knows I’m a  licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she doesn’t expect me to be “on” during my session— instead, I am the client and she is the able-clinician… that is comforting! I get to be my real, full, vulnerable self without needing to be responsible for the boundaries and ethics. This is liberating and empowering and at the same time allows me to be weak so I can reclaim and regain my strength- for me, my family, my clients. From this place, of professed weakness, I really am able to determine that the strength I have is resourced from my relationship with Christ and evaluated through a lens of wellness and how I manage being “LIFED”. In this season, more than others, I am learning the meaning of Paul’s words, “when I am weak, then I am strong”.

While you may not be a licensed professional, it’s likely that you are indeed a helper in your own context, whether personal or professional, you too can benefit from the personalized space of therapy. I hope it provides some relief to know that even the helper needs help. I encourage you to access and/or reclaim your strength in and through a relationship with a therapist/counselor who gets you and seeks to understand your life— where you are and based on your experience. In this sacred and safe space, you can realize your strengths and determine how to use your weakness to your advantage, all in an effort to experience the fullness of life as you live your life well.

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