By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPC, NCC, Licensed Mental Health Therapist
This year, 2020, worldwide has caused much undue stress, worry, panic and exasperated other struggles faced such as depression, anxiety and addictions. As human beings, we feel and it is not an uncommon place that we often fall prey to with all of those mentioned above and the pain can be so great it causes loss of hope, faith and defeat which will circle our heart, mind and soul.
Of the many things we can control, our thoughts and perspective are among those. People worldwide have suffered great loss, their lives and the lives of friends and family. When I meet with clients for the first time, one of the questions I ask is the disposition of their religious belief/faith and spirituality. Some will announce their belief in God but may not be associated with a church, some will communicate that they are spiritual and believe in a higher power and yet others will express their atheism and disbelief in God.
While I am in no way here to judge as a human being or a counselor, I ask the question because it helps me understand their thought processes while assisting them in developing interventions that will ultimately give them coping tools for their particular issue.
Regardless of one’s feelings and beliefs when it comes to higher powers, spirituality and God, people still carry with them an innate purpose in their life. Each of us having a purpose in life is like having lungs to breath in air. Our lungs are there for a reason. When an individual defines his or her outlook on life as atheist, we are still able to work together to devise a treatment plan to address the unique struggle. That treatment plan often encompasses hope and the sense of “never give up.”
That person’s choice in a belief system is not mine to change, as a counselor my work lies in building on a core inner being. Clients list their goals, needs, and wants, figure out what is in their control and what is not, finding a support system and understanding if it is theirs to have, it will come to pass.
It all starts with recognizing your purpose – what are you drawn to? Arts, music, helping others, analytical thinking, physical talent? Then set yourself on a course on how to get there. It may begin with education, or certifications, practice – it’s not so much if you can see if you can achieve it, but if you can feel it, you will do it.
Take a mental health moment and assess your happiness, listen to your inner self and refuse to hear the outside noise from others on how much you can’t achieve it or do it. Success is a beautiful sense of feeling; on the other hand, regret is too often a pool we swim through due to the encouragement of self-doubt and the negative orchestra from those who were never in our corner to begin.
Yes, 2020 has been a year of discouragement, but with six months left in this year that is more than enough time to decide how you want to see it behind you and look ahead. None of us will ever get back that time but each day upon waking we are reset with another 24 hours. As long as you have the time, you have the choice. You can either complain or you can change.
Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Provide feedback or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org For appointment information please call 419.409.4929 (Telehealth is available for ongoing and new clients at this time). www.bjgrahamcounseling.com