Today I was at the doctor’s office and I was asked by the doctor, who was making small talk, what I had planned for the rest of the day. The doctor knows that I am a counselor and I replied that I have clients for the rest of the day. Now maybe the doctor said this because of the physical pain I was in but the next comment was, “So will there be a lot of ‘hmm’ , ‘ahh’ and ‘uh-huh’s’ today? I laughed and told the doctor that for me to treat a client like that would be the equivalent of him having a patient walk in, high-five ’em and send them back out the door. He wouldn’t have any clients if he only gave out high-fives and neither would I if I only made sympathetic sounds. Goodness. Do you think we do 8 years of University and 2-4 years of Residency just so we can make noises? 🙂 (I could do that without all the training- call me skilled 😉 lol).
The event at the doctor’s office reminded me of a meme. And like all the best memes it was from the TV show The Office. In this meme (below), Stanley imitates what he thinks a counselor does and what a counselor makes; both of which are laughable. In fact, even I bust up laughing at most counseling memes … because they’re funny. Enjoy them, laugh, but please, please do not think they are accurate.
Do we make sympathetic sounds? Sure, if that’s what you want to call it. 🙂 I call it communicating and letting the other person know that you hear them, you understand what they’re saying and you care. Have I heard stories from the Crypt about counselor out there who only stare at their clients and if you’re lucky they’ll make a noise? Yes, I have. However, most of us counselors do not fit in that category. Please, keep “shopping” for the counselor who is a good fit for you – it is life-changing to say the least.
I am so grateful for my career. It feels like a perfect fit – like the way we all would like our outfits to feel- “right” and comfortable with the elements of style that makes you YOU. Though Stanely likes the idea of an air conditioned office downtown where you sit and judge people, that is not the case.
Fact: I do sit in a chair
Fact: I do have an office that I love and feels like a cozy “second home” to me (and hopefully to you too, should you stop by 🙂 )
Fact: I do have some seriously great air conditioning for summer and heating units for winter
Fact: It is not a physically demanding job. We don’t get “body tired” (except for discomfort if we sit too long- gotta get some laps around the building here and there to keep the blood flowing 🙂 )
Fact: It IS an emotionally demanding job.
Counseling is a career that takes every ounce of who you are into the room with you. Literally. We must take good care of ourselves throughout our everyday lives in order to be able to fully focus on you and your needs. We put every ounce of US into being present with you.
Fact: WE NEVER JUDGE. This is such a true statement. Another true statement is that I did not laugh with this meme because to me it is sad that someone, somewhere got that idea that this is what we do. 😦 When someone is pouring out their heart, their fears, the things they are scared to tell others, the very crevices of their soul that even they are afraid to look at, I can honestly tell you, judgment doesn’t come to my mind. It is such a privilege when someone trusts us with who they truly are. I cherish, respect and protect that vulnerability. I am honored by someone’s willingness to share, because I know it’s not easy.
Do you remember when the style of meme above was trending on social media? I found it interesting because there are so many misconceptions from field to field of what we actually do. Even the counseling meme doesn’t match my opinion of what I think I do, and it’s supposed to shed some semblance of light onto this career path! 🙂
Here are the top 10 things that I do in a day at the office:
We will cheer you on and encourage you every step of the way. And when you are in the process of “becoming” as the Velveteen Rabbit says, you can fully step into who you are. Counselors don’t “fix” you. Counselors show you how to find and “follow the yellow brick road” that you’re looking for. But you must walk it. We cannot do it for you. We will walk along side you throughout the entire process.
And when you feel empowered, confident, healed and whole again, when you enjoy life and feel free, you may think we did something extraordinary and that we really do have a “magic wand”. But we will simply smile and say to you, “You’ve always had the power [my dear], you just had to learn it for yourself.”
Today I came across one of the last gifts Shan snuck in my car 💗 She always left little surprises for me to find 💗
I did not go to the memorial today as I have not been sleeping well for days and feeling sick inside over the event. So many conflicting thoughts and emotions…
I knew from the beginning that Shan would tell me to not to go (no judgment if you did go, this was a personal decision)…this gift randomly showed up while I spent the afternoon in tears… I decided to get up and put an area of my house in order – my messy room aka clothes 😳 👠👚👖👗 … a little cathartic cleaning 😉 (My husband will my thrilled … yes, yes, I am the messy one… 😂)
I love you, Shan. There will never be another you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally like a friend, a sister and a mother 💗 You left me in good hands…
Thank you my wonderful friends and family who have been there with love and also in allowing me space and understanding without being offended or mad. 💗 I had a close friend (who is no stranger to loss) ask me a few times to “come back” to my “old friends” that love me… I am coming 💞
Shan and I had a great, content-rich chapter of life together. I was blessed to be there for her in the planning of and in her last hours. I am forever grateful for her unconditional love and for such an independent woman as she was to be willing to lean on me when things became overwhelming. No greater compliment could I ever receive. Shan, you bestowed such an honor upon me by bringing me into your innermost circle in some of the toughest phases of your life. I love you are words that will never be enough. See you later. 💗
Time passes so fast, doesn’t it? Have you ever had an “How old am I?” moment? Awhile ago, I had this moment. Imagine my surprise when I found out (after counting on my fingers and calling mom just to be sure!) that I am a year older than what I thought I was! I felt jipped! hahah Truth is, I completely forgot the events of last year’s birthday because life was just spinning so fast. I literally had to sit down and think back through the months to jog my memory of how we celebrated so I could stop (jokingly) telling my family that they must have knocked me out over my birthday week to avoid having to get me a gift! hahah 🙂 I remember when I was about 10 years old and I was making my mom a birthday card; I asked her how old she was going to be and she couldn’t remember. As a child, that was ludicrous to me! How could you not know?!?!
I get it now, mom. I get it. ❤
It happens to most all of us at sometime or another. One minute we’re going along, doing our thing and the next, we realize that like a pack mule, we have taken on too much. That’s usually when we forget things like how old we are. 😉 For me, that was a reminder to back it up and slow it down. Because I for one would like to remember all of my birthdays. 😉
Ever heard of the Oola Guys? Oola basically means living your life in a state of awesomeoness. It was created by two doctors who realized the importance of balance but also realize how ridiculously hard it can be to achieve. I was at a conference where they were speaking a few years ago, and they compared life to the constant spinning of plates. The visual being that each of us has all these different areas of our lives (plates) that we are responsible to keep in motion (spinning) and as more and more plates get added, the more other plates fall, drop, break and stop spinning. Because we can only do so much. That is so hard for many of us to accept, isn’t it? So many of us like to think we can – or feel like we have to – do everything. Always. For everyone. And the fact of the matter is, it is just not possible. What usually ends up happening is we start with spinning a plate on each hand, then each arm, then we try to add a few to our head and surely our knees can “hackey sack” a few, right? It does not take much time in this Twister game position to completely and utterly exhaust our bodies and our plates- all our beautiful plates, begin to break. And suddenly, there we are, frantically trying to save the plates. And sometimes we do save a few. But then our bodies collapse. We are trying to save the plates that are falling and keep the plates that are balanced on us spinning and oh, hello there mental break down, what are you doing here?
Did you read about the people in the news who were waiting in line at a buffet for the crab legs to come out. It took about 10 minutes for them to arrive and by that point, two people were fighting over the crab legs and hitting each other with the tongs. Let me say that again: Hitting each other with the TONGS.
Hello mental break down.
So what do we do? How do we keep ourselves from being the ones that are getting arrested for fighting over crab legs or freaking out over not getting extra ketchup at a takeout? (I can hear you saying, ‘pssh, that will never be me….’ Well, I am sure the crabbies didn’t get up that morning and say to themselves, “I am so overwhelmed- that’s it. I am totally going to hit someone over the head with tongs today.”)
Serenity is multi-faceted, but one important- very important thing is balance. Say it with me while taking a deep breath (yes, you DO have time for that!). BAAAAAALLLLLAAAAAAANNNNNCCCCEEEEEEE. The Oola Guys have broken down areas of balance into 7 categories, which they call the seven F’s. They are:
*Faith * Family * Friends * Finance * Field (career) * Fitness * Fun *
They encourage everyone to write down realistic goals for each of these areas of your life and then work on keeping these seven areas balanced. If one of these areas is stacked with too many things, the other areas are going to be shaking, quaking and before you know it, toppling. (For goal setting help, Google the acronym SMART goals.)
If you feel like your plates are taking on a life of their own and you would like some help sorting through the chaos and getting yourself back to a comfortable place of balance, give me a call or text at (540) 765-7881 to schedule a session. It is time to get you back to a state of awesomeness.
Bobbie-jo Hurt LPC, CSAC
Hurt Counseling Center
Counseling… the “C-Word”? Why is it that in 2018, people are still kind of hesitant to accept that counseling is not for “crazy” people, but for “everyday” people like you and me? We are all people and I have never met a person without problems in their life, have you? We all have some “junk in our trunk!” Sometimes our junk gets overwhelming and we don’t know where to start or what on earth to do with all the crap everywhere and suddenly we’re feeling stuck, trapped and unhappy in our own lives!
Sometimes we need to go to counseling simply to learn what the road of life doesn’t teach us; how to create our own happiness, how to heal instead of hide from pain and how to take your power back during times when you feel like your back is up against a wall.
At some point in our lives, we all have had something that we dealt with and had trouble kicking to the curb (and not going back to get it! 🙂 ). It’s called being human. There’s no shame in that. It is normal to have problems. It is.
Everywhere I looked today as I was running errands, I noticed people with high stress, anxiety, anger, depression, insecurity, apathy, low self-esteem and huge, painful, aching hurts. People everywhere are struggling but somewhere along the line we must have learned that feeling like crap is “normal” or that feeling the way you do is “the best that it gets”.
We also may have learned from somewhere that we have to paste on a smile and keep our pain “in house” because getting help would be shameful or a sign of weakness-or perhaps even feel like a betrayal to someone or something.
I think it takes A LOT of courage to walk into counseling (even though my office is so comfy! 🙂 ). I see you as brave, determined and intelligent because you recognize the need for good health and you are willing to pursue it.
There are a few misconceptions out there about counseling and I want to address a couple. Why? Because inaccurate assumptions can keep so many people from help.
Misconception #1: “Counseling? That’s just talking; how is that going to fix anything?” I am grinning as I write that one because counseling is not a passive process. If that were true and all I had to do was “shoot the breeze” while you lay on the couch (PS. I don’t have a couch!) and chat:
Misconception #2: People thinking that mental health medications are “Happy Pills”.
Excuse me while I pause to throw my head back and laugh. Do we call the diabetics’ insulin shots “happy injections”? Or chemo “going to get your feel good on”? Yeah, right.
Don’t you think if there truly was a happy pill, the government and big pharma would be all over it, advertising on billboards, TV, and all over social media, working together to roll bank? Ummm, most definitely. But we already know this: There are no quick fixes in life. You don’t get a Ninja Warrior bod from sitting on a bean bag, eating Cheetos. I mean, that’d be kinda cool but… nonexistent. 🙂 Anything worth having requires an investment of self. And if it doesn’t take some level of investment, we don’t value it very highly anyway.
Misconception #3: The lie that tells us, “I just need to be stronger; I don’t need anyone’s help.”
If we were to break our leg, we wouldn’t tell ourselves that we “just have to be stronger” and “suck it up” or that “we can fix it ourselves.” We wouldn’t say, “oh, it’s not that bad” … “the pain comes and goes so I’m probably fine”… “it’s all in my imagination”…. Uhhh, no. We would go to the doctor to get it fixed so we can walk again and not have a limb hanging at an odd angle.
Yet when we feel overwhelmed or tortured in our minds, most of us tell ourselves these very things, though what is happening is just as real as a broken leg! I once listened to a man who was diagnosed with cancer. Due to this diagnosis, he fell into a deep depression. Thankfully, he went into remission from the cancer and recovered from the depression. After going through these huge ordeals, do you know what he said? He said that he would rather go through cancer again than go through that deep depression again. That is a pretty bold statement and I do not take cancer lightly at all. But I don’t take depression lightly, either.
So why is it if we feel awful physical pain, we rush our butts to the ER, yelling, “Fix it!” … “Help me!” … “Make this better!” but it we feel like we are falling apart in our minds, we tell ourselves minimizing statements or tell ourselves that this is the best it gets anyway. Is living with a broken leg the best it gets?
No, you don’t “see” depression as immediately as you do a limb hanging off (well, sometimes you do actually…). But we do see it. We don’t see the wind. But we do feel it. And we all acknowledge that it exists. We don’t pretend a migraine doesn’t exist because we don’t see it visually.
I have NEVER heard someone say, “Oh, I don’t believe in headaches.” Or “No, wind isn’t real- it’s all in your imagination.” … We acknowledge and believe that fibromyalgia is real, though it is something that has no known cause or cure and cannot be seen… but we ignore mental struggles that can be just as debilitating. Why?…
You know what has always been interesting to me? People think that no one can see their internal. mental suffering -that they can ignore how they feel, push aside their emotions and as long as they put on the smile when they go out the door and laugh at the right times, then no one knows.
But think about what would happen if you ignored that broken leg. You would have major painful consequences that would affect your career, family, activities you used to love, your relationships and your wallet from trying to band-aid this break yourself instead of going in to get the real work done. And yes, people would see it.
It is the same if you ignore emotional pain. You may push it aside for the moment and then later snap at loved ones, yell at the dog, fight with your husband over nothing, sleep a lot, cry often, have to take time off from work or cancel with friends from mental exhaustion; you may end up in a broken relationship, being left because the other person couldn’t compete with what you were pretending wasn’t there. You may lie to try to cover your tracks, especially if you are dealing with stress a way you know others wouldn’t approve of, knowing the people and things you value in life could fall apart if anyone found out. So when we think we are hiding internal struggles, just know it comes out one way or the other.
Instead of letting mental or physical wounds fester and get worse day after day, what if we worked at repairing it so you could feel better? If your car had a few flat tires or your alternator went out, you would go get that fixed, right? But when our lives feel miserable, we just let ourselves stay in that tortured state. Again… why?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, constantly down, moody and sad, always feeling guilty, not good enough, not perfect enough, pretty enough, thin enough; feeling as if you are “wrong”, “bad” or “dirty”, feeling like you always have to prove yourself, explain yourself, “fix everything”, do everything for everyone, make everyone happy… if you continuously tell yourself, “If only I had this…” or “If only___________ would change, I would be happy. That would make it better… I can tell you right now that it is not true. We would like to think that something or someone else is causing our unhappiness because it is so much easier to “explain it away” then to take a look at ourselves, our lives, our behaviors and what is really going on inside ourselves.
Therapy is kind of like taking [cognitive] medicine for your mind and every time you come in, you are getting your treatment. It is not just talking while someone listens. It IS treatment. And after you finish all your treatments, you leave feeling better and more equipped to handle what comes your way… just like people in the maintenance stage of a physical issue- things have stabilized and you have the tools you need from the health center to continue maintenance. Occasionally you may come in for a check-up, another treatment, etc.; other times you simply leave feeling relief and knowing you can always come back if you need anything in the future.
If any of this “hit home” for you or you think this information could help a friend or family member, please don’t hesitate to share this with them.
I am a counselor. I love what I do. And I would be honored to walk with you to on your journey. At Hurt Counseling Center, we offer hope, help and healing in a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment where the focus is on helping you. Don’t let fear of misconceptions keep you from feeling better.
*If you are currently in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
I read something today that I kept thinking about with a little smile, so I put it together as a quote (because I was born in the days of notebooks and journals) and then made a meme (because hello, it’s 2018 and that’s what we do!). Basically, I wrote that when life doesn’t go the way you planned, throw your hands up and yell “PLOT TWIST” and then move on, making the most of the next ‘scene.’
Is life a movie? Uh, no (but if it was, I’d pick a Hallmark Christmas movie house!). But a lot can be learned from that saying. For me anyway. And maybe for you? When I find myself feeling stressed, it is usually because I don’t want to accept the way things are happening. My control button is shaking and I want things to be the way I want them to be! So something I am always remembering, working on, and (usually! lol!) making progress on is practicing acceptance.
Imagine if you could accept life the way it happened and then you could work with what you have in front of you, or even make more opportunities to enhance what life has put before you… but what if you just… accepted it.
When I was in graduate school, I took a personality and career assessment in our “Career Counseling” course. While all the other students in the counseling room were getting nice, docile, therapist-y results, “You should be a counselor who wears outdated clothes and big, square glasses” … My results, however, stand out in my mind as rather unforgettable because I was the only one who didn’t get something like that.
Want to know what mine was? Elvis. Yup, it turns out Elvis and I have the same exact personality style (and the same good looks 😉 ). I can’t remember all of the career suggestions because only one had anything to do with therapy. But I remember the first suggestion for my life’s work: To be a Cruise Line Director. (Can you even follow that up with another statement?) The other option I remember- because it actually had something to do with counseling- was to be an art therapist.
The cool thing was that my leadership skills, creativity and entertainment abilities came through strong. So with my Elvis personality, I took in the advice and did what I knew was my fit; I became a therapist- a really awesome, really real, interactive, introspective and fun therapist (and humble too, so humble hahah). You know, I say those things about my counseling but honestly it is not in a “full of myself” kind of way. I just know the depths of where I’ve been in life. And I know how great it is to live your life in ways you sort of maybe dared to dream but never thought possible!
I know that in every situation I went through in life, I always had 3 choices: Give in, give up or give it all you’ve got! I chose to do the hard but beautiful work of healing (because you can live in- and get used to- misery, if you want…) and God used it to equip me to be there for others; to help them find healing, freedom and empowerment too. And because of who I am, Little Ms. Elvis, I am real and fun. And it would be fair to say that I get extra-creative in my sessions as needed 🙂
I love what I do; it is so normal for my clients and I to burst into laughter in the same session where we share heart-felt tears. I love watching my clients heal, to realize how worthwhile they are, to figure out what to do with all their emotions (which for most people, is one of the scariest words ever!) and to go after what they truly want in life- instead of doing what they think they “have” to do. FREEDOM! I love freedom. And seeing people grow in confidence; their posture changes, their voice tone changes and they are no longer scared to live life. EMPOWERED to live freely without stress, perfectionistic, people-pleasing, “have to”, “need to” and “shoulds” running through their minds. I love seeing relationships being restored back to health. I love it. I care for each and every client that walks through my door and I want the best for them. I can’t make anyone do the work of healing. I can’t make anyone put into action the desire of wanting more for their lives. But I can sit with them in their pain, walk with them through their healing and rejoice with them when they are where they want to be.
Want to know something kind of funny? Most everyone in that class who got the “typical counselor” career results… are not counselors. Turns out it wasn’t for them. Kind of ironic, huh?
And then there’s Elvis over here… who begins teaching natural classes because I found something real and amazing that has helped me and my family heal time and time again. And I want people to know about it. Not fall for gimmicks or lies, but to know the truth. But just like counseling, I can’t make anyone want to invest in themselves to feel better. I can only sit with them in their pain, walk with them through their healing and rejoice with them when they are where they want to be.
Now with this Elvis personality, you would think doing this TV show would have had me shaking my groove thang on national television or maybe hosting this year’s 2019 ball drop or something, but alas, my life is quite similar to where it was 2 years ago before I started doing the TV show, except I made a lot of wonderful friends and had a blast doing something I never even considered doing in my life!
I do not have plans to renew my contract but you never know if I pop in here or there just because I miss y’all. 🙂 I gave the Scouts almost 2 years to find me and make me a Super Star. if they’re that slow on their game, I may not want to contract with them anyway 😉 Maybe I just need some blue suede shoes? Do you think that would help? 🙂
So… why in the world am I talking about all this? Eh, I don’t know. (Just kidding, though I do enjoy a good tangent … ).
I truly enjoy doing DIY. I don’t know if I ever want to do a big, DIY teaching class again. Who knows but right now, I do know that I am not through that place in the grief process of my close friend and DIY partner whom I met when she was an attendee at the very first class that I taught.
I do know that I am up to doing get togethers with a few of us friends making some natural DIY and sharing laughs and fun over coffee. I want cozy and comfortable, where it feels like sitting on your best friend’s couch and shooting the breeze. Casual with some structure (so we can make our stuff lol) 🙂 My next one of these DIY gatherings is going to be January 26th at 11am. If you would like to attend, I would love to have you! Since the classes are smaller, just comment or message me and I will fill it up, first come, first serve. If this one fills before you get in, you will be the first one on the invite list for my next friend Diva dates! lol 🙂
Oh, did I tell you that tomorrow is my last TV show? Sorry, it’s 1:30am, I’ve been travelling all day and though the family and I had a fabulous week, I feel like I could sleep for … awhile. 🙂 Anyway, watch it, okay? And tell the Scouts that this is their last chance to snag up Little Ms. Elvis because like all good things, I’m going, going, going, gone- and booking up fast for the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop! hahah
Love you guys. I’m not going anywhere, I just don’t feel that I should continue on with the TV show right now. I will still be doing classes, and providing natural support while posting who-knows-what to my page and my cool, new Etsy Shop. I have a new recipe book in there! And the Christmas Gift Making one! And if you all show me that you love those, I will make you more! Go to http://www.etsy.com and the search bar “BobbiejoDIYDiva”
Oh! And I am opening my new counseling center (FB: Hurt Counseling Center) on Jan. 2ne (so once again to do that Ball drop… they really gotta be on their GAAAAME!) Look me up and please tell friends and family in need. I am doing sliding scale fees only so I hope to help many that may not be able for afford full fee- though it is 100% worth it for a peaceful state of mind, I understand that money… well, it does kind of grow on trees… but … it is still a tight commodity for most of us!!
I specialize in depression, anxiety, depression and relationships. I have worked with most all mental heath and co-occurring disorders though. I work predominately with adults and teens.
Stay in touch!
❤ Bobbie-jo Hurt, The One, The Only, Mason-Dixon DIY Diva, (side by side with my personality twin Elvis… which explains why I would rather go on Live TV in my jammies than fold my laundry… :))
Whenever I do an introduction of myself for a bio or a class, I always mention that I am also a mental health therapist. Then as Autumn was beginning to come to a close, I did a show on WSLS10 that I thought was imperative to get the information out: Getting help for depression. (Oh how I wish people could know how much better they could feel!!)
This blog could be titled, “The DIY Diva Starts her own Counseling Business” but it sounds a little long and boring. I don’t do boring; automatically puts me in nap mode 🙂
Here’s the scoop: I AM opening my own practice. I HAVE been working as a therapist the entire time I have been The Mason-Dixon DIY Diva. I LOVE helping people empower themselves. Love it. Am I still the DIY Diva? YES. Am I still a Therapist? YES. Nothing has changed… except I am opening my own practice 🙂 So… that is actually pretty exciting. Being a DIY Diva and doing a TV show is something I never envisioned that I would do- not even in my wildest dreams. Nope, not even then. And all those years ago when I was pursing my degrees, certifications, licensures, etc., I always said I didn’t want my own practice. (It is easier to work at someone else’s! LOL!) But here I am, with these doors swinging open, and I feel no fear for moving forward, only excitement to see where God takes this. I am along for the ride! 🙂
Hurt Counseling Center is the name of the new practice. My husband and I met in graduate school and he too has his degree in Professional Counseling, along with being a Certified Life Coach. He is in this venture with me and will be available for appointments as well. (And we may or may not have a few more fun surprises up our sleeve this year!)
We are officially opening our doors January 2nd, 2019, so now is the time to call or text for an appointment (540) 765-7881. My new office is located at: 402 Hershberger Road Roanoke VA. Below is a picture.
I specialize in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship issues, though I have worked with most all mental health and co-occurring disorders. There is no shame to mental health. We don’t shame someone for diabetes or cancer, so why in the world would we do that for depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.? Our bodies need support. Our brains need support. The sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can get people finding out how much better they can feel. Did you know that you don’t have to live your life feeling blah, nonstop stressed, or miserable? Most people are so used to feeling crappy that they don’t even know there are alternatives to feeling how they do. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, have thoughts that go-go-go and don’t seem to stop, feel completely lethargic, exhausted and don’t feel like you have the energy to do what you need to, or if you keep doing the same thing that you don’t want to be doing over and over and over and…. maybe you should come see me. From someone who is constantly working on becoming a better, healthier version of herself, I can honestly say that peace of mind and relief from all the mental pressure we put on ourselves is priceless. Healthy physical and mental health is immeasurable in a numerical value. I don’t know about you, but these are two areas I “spare no expense” in because they are the cornerstone to all we do.
I want counseling to be accessible to each and every brave person who is willing to come in and admit that things are not perfect and perhaps feeling a little stuck, down, overwhelmed, etc.. If you want to feel better, well, as they say on the Price is Right, “Come on down!” 🙂
This is not the post I intended to write. I was going to jump on here and give you some Diva updates. But there is something else that came to me as I began to write and I know I must share this with you. (And you can edit this in your head if you want, my friends, but I do not have time right now to do so and I want to get this information out ASAP 🙂 )
I have had some heavy past few months. As you know from being a part of my life, a very close friend of mine is in her last days of life. She hasn’t even reached the age of 60 but it looks like her time is coming, whether I like it or not. We have spent the past months making big end-of-life decisions together and holding each other’s hands with our heads together sobbing, knowing that when she went off to Texas to an Assisted Living facility near her only family, that everything was our “last” together. The last hug was the hardest. For a short while after her move, she was able to send me a few lines via the internet here and there on how things were going but she was so exhausted that it would drain her. We knew we had to move her soon before she didn’t have it in her to physically ride across the country. It is so hard helplessly seeing the physical break down of her body. Her last message to me was that she finally gave in and allowed Hospice to come (my tough warrior was holding off until the very last minute and has been turning them down for a few months already). I called her the other day and knew it took everything in her to answer. It broke my heart to even smaller pieces, hearing her weak voice and her laughs at my silly life antics. The Evil has gotten into her brain again and she is having difficulty communicating. Her brother has been keeping me updated at this point. The thought is that she will not be seeing next month. Lord, help me. I am shaking and can barely see the screen through my tears.
Then I had another surprise. My niece who is 18 came over the other night, so excited to tell me about her first date. She was showing me the cute messages they were sending back and forth via FB messenger, etc. and we were pondering those fun teenage jitter questions like, “Is this a date?” …”Will he try to hold my hand… or kiss me?!”… “Will he buy the tickets?”… “Will we get our own popcorn or share one?” Her adorable excitement about this cute boy who likes her and thinks she’s awesome was creating those fun butterflies in her stomach that we all remember from days gone by.
This conversation got me to thinking about who I was dating at 18. Back in those days, we communicated by phone (GASP!), e-mail, or by making plans to get online (dial up) at the same time so we could talk on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). 🙂 I still have my very first email address that my dad set up for me when I was 15 and I don’t delete anything from my email, because… what a waste of time 🙂 (I know, some of you are cringing right now. Sorry my Type A friends, love ya!).
I pulled up some emails from a boy I went out with when I was her age, and read her a few of our “flutter” messages such as him saying, “I miss you sooooooo much. T-7 hours [until we saw each other again] TTYL hun” … “Hey Shawty, I can’t wait to see you. In school today we ….” etc. etc. I bought a car while we were dating and named it after one of the things he would say to me, that I was “The Shizzle to his Nizzle.” (What does that even mean? LOL. Who cares! In 18 year old world, it was goose bumps!) I named my car Shizzle. Maybe it had something to do with his favorite candy being Skittles? haha who knows 🙂
After my niece went home and my own cute memories of innocence and excitement were flying back to me at rapid pace, I began to wonder what he was up to today. We hadn’t talked or even seen each other since we were 18. So of course I do what we do in today’s world: I typed his name into the FB search bar. The only thing that came up with his description was an obituary someone posted in 2012. No way, I thought, that can’t be him. With a sinking feeling in my gut, I opened the page. There was his picture right on top of the obituary. All the information listed matched that boy that I had many fond childhood memories with. We were the same age. But he died at age 25. 25!!! I reached out to some people that were mutual friends of ours (and set us up). I find out from his past best friend what happened as the pit in my stomach grows deeper. He took his own life.
I just sat there crying, with these ridiculous thoughts of wishing I could have done something; wishing I could have “fixed” someone I haven’t seen or talked to in 15 years. As if we can help anyone who doesn’t reach out for it (and I have no idea on those details when it comes to him).
I have felt so blessed these past 10+ years of being in the counseling field, having the opportunity to help people find a way out of the dark by walking beside them in the deep pits of pain and hearing them- really hearing them. And showing them a process of how to get out of the pitch dark woods. My heart bursts every time I see another person in my office find healing, freedom, empowerment, peace in their minds and excitement for life again.
Sometimes I wish life could be more often like a Hallmark movie, you know? Here’s what my 18 year old boyfriend’s story would have looked like if I could rewrite it. We would be walking down the street and randomly run into each other. We would begin catching up and I would be able to pick up on his emotional state and would point him in the direction of help. And of course he would take the help with little resistance because it’s the Hallmark channel. He would find healing in the core of his being and from all the pain inside. He would be truly happy. He would marry a cute “girl next door” type that was sweet and kind. They would start Christmas morning by having an adorable, fluffy puppy with a red bow on, playing excitedly between the happy couple, while they sat in front of the tree, with their hand entwined, a look of love and contentment on their faces. And when we passed each other on the street, we would give each other a wave and a big, genuine smile because we both found true happiness in our lives.
In our Western world 1 out of every 4 people have depression or anxiety (and the other 3 are lying 🙂 ). But we put this stigma on it such as, we just need to be “strong enough….” HOG WASH! We need to have the courage (and it takes a lot to admit we need help!!!) to reach out and get our butts in counseling with a great therapist!
No one would EVER tell a diabetic that depends on insulin for their life survival that if only they were “strong enough” or just “shook it off” they wouldn’t need that medication… BULL HOGIE!!
We don’t tell Cancer patients that if they just tried harder …. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?
Mental illness is just as real as diabetes, cancer, broken bones and autoimmune disorders. And guess what? They are just as catastrophic because we receive the message that “just need to be stronger”… or that getting help is for the weak and getting help for this area of our lives is embarrassing… psssh, we women let doctors stick tools up our vaginas and men let doctors do the “cough and grab” on their gentlemen bits. And don’t even get me started on Colonoscopies… yes, if you can do those things, you can come TALK to someone about what’s going on emotionally.
Mental illness is just as debilitating as physical illness, just in other torturous ways. And the saddest part of all? They can both end in premature death. Pretending we have it all together, you know what that is? A death sentence. Get help. I don’t care if it is for a lump you want to pretend isn’t there of a feeling of hopelessness that you tell yourself is normal. Yeah, right.
My heart reaches out to you in this last statement: Get help. There are hotlines everywhere that can be found with a quick google search on your phone. Just call a random counselor. Or you know what? Just show up at the ER. Or a counseling office. I don’t care. JUST. GET. HELP. And don’t accept NO for an answer. If the person you turn to doesn’t have the expertise to realize what’s going on, don’t minimize what is happening inside. Go to the next professional.
You all know that my office is in Roanoke. I’m real, I’m fun and I’ve been through a lot so I may just be able understand more than you might initially think. I would be honored if you would let me walk with you down this dark road and travel together to happier times. Trust that it can get better. BECAUSE IT CAN.
Here is my office number 1-434-237-2655. It is a Lynchburg number but I am based in downtown Roanoke. And it doesn’t have to me that you see. I just want you to reach out to someone and don’t stop reaching out until you get what the help you need. You’re worth it.
Love and Hugs,
Bobbie-jo Hurt, The Mason-Dixon DIY Diva & Mental Health and Addictions Therapist, who truly, sincerely, cares about you.