I called a patient to remind them of our appointment tomorrow, something I always do. While I was hanging up, I overheard the patient say, “God, I love that woman.”
Not in the transference sense. Maybe you had to be on my end of the receiver; the tone was one of thankfulness. It was one of the nicest work-related comments I’d ever heard.
It’s comments like that and days like today – no matter how difficult they are, and how exhausted I am at the end of the day – that keep me in recovery.
On days like these, I think about one of my old psychologists. They would tell me the issues I brought to our session were not making good use of our time. Now on the other side of the desk, I can say with a high level of certainty that any issue discussed in treatment is worth the time, no matter how trivial it may seem to the counselor. Patients can be affected by so many different things between sessions; one finds that nothing is trivial – it’s all connected if you listen carefully. It’s not my job to determine the best path for someone’s recovery – it’s my job to guide them through it.
Because of what I’ve experienced going through the mental health system, I open my eyes in the morning, put each foot over the side of my bed, and stand up.
It’s not about grandiosity; I get something from them too. I feel like I’m a part of something, like I’m useful. Without being useful, I lack structure which is a large part of my recovery.
People with severe and persistent mental illness have the potential to be more than their diagnosis; I’m living proof.