It’s the unseen illnesses & mental health issues that often get marginalized: blamed, shamed and ignored. We can’t always see what a person is going through daily when someone has lymes disease, chronic fatigue, MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Many aren’t fully believed.
“Oh it’s not so bad. I’m exhausted too, or my joints ache – just soak in a tub & you’ll be great!”
This attitude and disregard deepens the chasm between being seen and understood. The dismissal can feel like a heavy cloak or a backhanded rebuke and it can internalize a serious shame.
Many also assume depression, or anxiety and panic, psychosis, looks one way – deep, dark and catatonic, crazy, but sometimes, such as depression, it hides and goes through the motions; compartmentalizing and functioning on the outside but inside it’s a thick dark mud. Anxiety and her twin Panic, can disable a person in large crowds or driving. It can be debilitating to explain and yet often chided, ‘just drink some chamomile tea. Breathe. There’s nothing to be anxious about.”
What I offer in counseling, is to go deeper. What does it feel like to have chronic fatigue? Let’s go there together. Please tell me with your eyes how it sounds. What do you hear? Let’s go into the darkness of depression and let’s hear what it is saying.
Each person is different. Each symptom speaks a different story and listening to their words and feels is extremely important. People can’t be pigeon-holed and labeled. When a client comes to me we work as a team. My eyes and theirs unravel and sees into the incredible stories hidden within the symptoms and believed.
Much love & respect, Carolyn
About Carolyn Riker
Carolyn (Riker) Avalani, M.A., LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor, teacher, writer and poet. Over the last five years she has written for numerous online journals and has been in five anthologies. Her first book of poetry and prose, Blue Clouds was published December 2016. This past September, 2017 she co-edited Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told, which holds 54 writers and their stories, poetry, prose, photography and artwork. Between sips of coffee, navigating life with copious writing and daydreaming, Carolyn offers creative writing and private counseling. To find out more please visit her website.
Carolyn is a licensed mental health counselor who provides counseling services via Skype, Zoom or by phone. She is also an author of Blue Clouds and writes poetry, prose and essays.
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