“I am become death. The destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
Destroying the world I had become accustomed to was the only way I was going to feel right. The sensation that bubbled under my pale skin the past year had burst forward and I was now in a cataclysmic identity crisis. I had to question everything I knew, all the coping mechanisms I’d relied on no longer helped me find solace, and in the illuminated sunshine that I was now blinkingly staring into I was unsure of where I stood. With myself, with my husband, with my kids, and my friends. My lifelong battle with myself was coming to an inevitable end, and I was whole-heartedly unprepared for who would be left standing amongst the embers and ash when all the armor finally burned away.
It all sounds so melodramatic when I sit here typing it all out, but the reality of the situation was I was in a transition I knew was coming. I’d worked hard for three and a half years to push myself full-speed through my Bachelor’s, and in the last year of it, I realized I was learning things about myself I’d never thought to question. Now, the time had come; the ebb and flow of the waters of transition were drowning out all my second-guessing and misguided warrior logic. Either I was going to drown trying to fight what was a better outcome, or I would learn to float as a less weighted version of myself. Balls in my court.
The big reveal was who is hiding underneath all that anger and hostility. A childhood of violence had prepped me to properly face any situation and come out the victor. My ninja-like reflexes that I’d honed and sharpened were now practically useless in a life that I was no longer the warrior. I was loved, comfortable, secure, and supported. None of these traits are a prevalent part of your personality when the most dangerous thing you come face to face with is your moody teenager. So, once the scales were unsheathed, and the sword and shield were placed upon the mantle, what is left?
These are all questions I’ve had to ponder lately. I want to say I’ve had these epiphanies and I’m somehow older and wiser and full of knowledge. The truth of it is I’m not. I have no idea what I’m doing and no clue how I am supposed to navigate this new path. I’m in uncharted territory. My obligation to becoming the best Mental Health Counseling I can be is an all-consuming precursor to my journey. I’ve opened myself up to the sheer swath and vastness of possibilities for the simple fact that I do not want to bring my own issues into my chosen profession. Imagining myself breaking down in tears as I’m listening to a patient tell me their story is a true fear I have.
The purpose of this memoir is to catalog the process I am taking. I’m a grad student in a Mental Health Counseling program who will be seeing a Counselor to find the help I need to get where I want to finally be. I’m putting my faith in one of my own. I will divulge it all to her, I will open the floodgates of trauma, I will spill the secrets of my pain, and I will approach each counseling session as an opportunity to work on myself, instead of seeing it as just another reason to squeeze into my shell. How can I expect her to help me if I’m not willing to give her the information to do so? This is how it will be.