I'm moving to a new office today. It seems like the perfect time to remind myself and my clients of why I keep doing what I do: because people need to be cared for, and it's my calling to care.
Dear Client of Mine,
As you sit down for this session, it’s all about you. You’re going to talk for the next hour, and for many hours after. Because you’ve got so much on your mind, I probably won’t get to tell you these things, but I hope you’ll feel them anyway.
1. I’m so proud of you for being here.
Coming to therapy is incredibly courageous. Just walking into the building makes you a hero. You don’t know me, but you’re willing to take a chance, try something new, so you can get well. I’m so, so proud of you.
2. Love is right here with you.
You may feel completely alone in your hurt right now. Intense emotional pain narrows your perspective down to survival mode, so that you’re only aware of the overpowering emotions you’re experiencing. Nothing else seems real to you right now. But let me tell you this: Love is right here with you. God promises us that He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 3:16), that our names are written in the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16), that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Maybe you can’t remember that right now. That’s okay. I’m remembering it for you right now.
3. You are stronger than you know.
Facing anxiety or depression, an abuse history or a terrible loss can be overwhelming. You’ve never gotten through this before, and you don’t think that you can. I want you to know this: You are stronger than you know. As hard as this is, you can do it. You can build your emotional muscle, your spiritual strength, your capacity to cope. You can, and you will.
4. Every moment is a victory.
It’s easy to be upset with yourself for not getting better quicker, for not having as much energy as you’d like, for still having these same issues to work on, months or years later. This is what I know: every single step you take in this march against mental illness is a victory. It’s not just the finish line that matters. This moment, right here, as hard as it is, this moment is part of the victory. Even if you can’t see the finish line yet, I see it. I’m celebrating you right here at the 1-mile mark, and I’ll celebrate you when you run through the tape.
5. You are worth caring for.
Think about how you’d treat a friend who’s suffering like you’re suffering right now, then be that gentle and kind to yourself. Fix a favorite meal, sit on the back porch with a cup of tea, take an early morning run, go to yoga, attend a group, find a therapist. Jesus is gentle with our suffering selves, and we can be too. (Isaiah 40:11)
6. It’s okay to let other people help.
This is probably the toughest time to get with other people, I know. But it can be incredibly healing to be with safe people and learn that they don’t despise us—in fact, they value, appreciate, and even love us just as we are. Think how honored you’d be to share in a friend’s tough times, then let other people be there for you in that same way. It’s okay to let all of us help you right now.
7. You are not alone.
Here’s one more thing you need to know: I don’t forget you. I carry you in my heart. I pray for you. I cry for you. I hope for you. I believe this is what God has called me to do, as a therapist: to help bear this burden with you. And so I do. You are not alone.
Thank you for allowing me to share this part of the journey with you.