Counseling is not one size fits all.

I went to Utah with plans, and when those plans imploded, I got an internship at FamilyShare. It was a good, respectable internship. I had a reasonable schedule. I was getting paid to write, which not every college graduate with a degree in English can say at two months post-grad.

I found housing with a quiet, respectful roommate and inexpensive rent. I even had a spot to park in a garage, which was incredibly appealing in the face of the oncoming winter.

From an outside perspective, I had it made. Everything was stable and solid and good.

Unfortunately, mental illnesses take notice of none of these things. I tried to keep up with my internship. I wrote content, I participated in team meetings, but every day, it was getting harder and harder to leave the house without crying because of the terrifying and discouraging prospect of having to deal with the world.

I realized I needed to quit the internship when I felt like I was doing myself and my reputation more of a disservice by continuing than I was helping myself. My supervisor was incredibly patient and understanding with me, but I felt myself slipping.

I decided to return to Rexburg in an effort to come back to the last place I felt like I was making progress. I wanted to go back to the counselor I had been seeing as a student. I needed to get back in the fight.

Many of the people who love and support me were very understanding of this decision and expressed admiration that I was able to recognize the state I was in and put myself and my mental health as my top priority.

Others hardcore did not understand what I was doing. Everything was being questioned.

“Why would you just give up a job like that?”

“How could you just leave a job without having another one lined up?”

“You really did not think this through, did you?”

“Why didn’t you just find a counselor in Utah? There are literally hundreds of them.”

I’d never really considered the answer to that last question until it came out of my mouth.

Counseling is not one size fits all. Every person will not jive with every counselor. Every treatment modality will not work for every person the way it works for someone else.

Example: EMDR. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, is a trauma treatment method for PTSD. In short, the goal is to engage both sides of the brain (aka “bilateral sensory input”) through use of a light board or little vibrators in your hands called tappers in order to help your brain reprocess the trauma in such a way that the memory of it is less triggering. It has been shown to be effective for many people.

That being said, it was wildly ineffective for me. Where a normal EMDR session lasts about an hour with patients able to target several specific memories, my first session lasted two and a half hours, all of which was spent on one specific memory. I would liken it to circling a drain that leads to Hell.

Luckily, my counselor understood enough to know we needed to try something else, and it ended up being a great step forward in healing for me.

Don’t get discouraged if one therapist or medication or treatment method doesn’t work for you at first. If you’re buying a pair of jeans and the first pair you try on doesn’t fit, you don’t abandon the premise of jeans and decide you’ll wear a kilt for the rest of your life. If you don’t mesh with the first counselor you see, that’s okay. Keep seeking help. It’s important to know that the purpose of going to counseling is to actually receive help and feel like you are making progress, not just to be able to say you are in counseling so you can check that box on The List of Things To Be Cured. It doesn’t work that way.

When I made the decision to come back to Rexburg, I was in a rough spot in terms of the state of my head, and that did not seem like a good time to rock the boat and try to find a new counselor. I knew I had built a rapport with my previous counselor, I knew I could articulate my thoughts to him in a way he would understand what I meant, and I knew the trauma treatment method he practices was beneficial for me.

It was not that I didn’t think through what I was doing. It was that I recognized the need for me to prioritize my mental health above all else. I saw that I was an inch away from losing my grip, and I needed to somehow tie a knot to hang on to at the end of the rope instead of making it into a noose.

Don’t ever feel bad for making the choice that is best for you just because other people don’t get it. In general, people mean well, but they don’t always have the view of your life that you do. It’s important to make sure you know what YOU need to prioritize, not what everyone else thinks you need to prioritize.

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And so it begins.

As I discussed with a few of you over conference weekend, it seems that I will be making an unscheduled return to Rexburg. You all know varying details about this, so let’s all get on the same page.

Ever since graduation, I have been having increased issues with my head space. More bad dreams, more PTSD-afflicted days, more depressive episodes of lethargy and numbness, more random spells of dizziness. As some of you know, I started an internship with Deseret Digital Media, but because of the severity of these symptoms, I had to end the internship early.

I realized that I haven’t felt like I’ve been making progress with my mental status since before I graduated, and I mostly attribute that to the excellent counselor I was seeing in Rexburg. We had found a trauma treatment method that worked for me, and we were working on getting me past the past. So the plan is to come back to Rexburg and resume counseling.

I also mentioned to a few of you that I will be living in a motor home. Yep, that’s happening.

As I don’t know how long I will be anywhere, and I don’t want to be tied down until I figure out what I’m doing, I figured a motor home would be the best option, especially because of Bells. Having a dog complicates things.

So this is my motor home:

 

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It is a 1988 Toyota Dolphin.

It came with 86,000 miles and a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.

 

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I found it on Craigslist. It belonged to a grandmother named Judy who intended to renovate it but never found the time.

 

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It’s not the first motor home I’ve ever lived in, but it is the first one I’ve owned and the first one I’ve driven.

It’s not the most insulated or up-to-date RV out there, but I got it for $1200, it’s mine, and it’ll do just fine.

My hope with this blog is that you all can enjoy the antics of me learning to live in and maintain a motor home on my own and that I can keep you apprised to what I’m up to, what I’ve experienced in life up to this point, what my plans are, and what I’m learning about life and myself. There will also probably be a handful of pictures of my adorable dog.

Let me just say, I think it’s gonna be a wild ride.

If you’ve got questions about my motor home living, my head space, my life experiences, or anything else you think I should expound on, just let me know. I want to write what you all want to read. I hope the things I’ve experienced can somehow help others.

Next up, I think I’ll do a virtual tour of the motor home once I get everything situated. Check it out.