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  • Writer's pictureFootsteps Counseling

Dig it, oh uh-oh

Buckle up, a metaphor is coming your way.

Let's set the scene.

I am a chronically ill therapist. This is a new label for me, and one I am still trying to reckon with. Some people might not like the way I said that. Some people don't want a label. That's ok. Right now ~for me~ the label feels empowering. For the last couple of years, my health could be described as hell on earth. But the diagnosis I got 3 months ago has allowed me to give a name to my pain, and that helps ME feel empowered to fight it.

That's why, when a recent client, who also has a chronic illness, began telling me about their feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and helplessness- I knew exactly what they were talking about.

"It's ok," I said, "You're just in a hole."

The partner with us in the room wasn't so sure. The partner felt compelled to remind them that they are better than before, and that it's been worse, that progress has been made. The partner is not wrong, but also-

"They can't see that right now. They're in a hole. I've been there, and it goes something like this:

You do ok for a while, and then you don't. When you're in pain or fatigued or feel less than yourself, it's easy to start questioning everything. No matter how many times I land there, my hole will tell me I'm a bad mother, wife, and therapist. I'll question if I can live a normal life because everything slows down in the hole. It's not true, but it feels that way. And you're probably right, this isn't as bad as before, but a shallow hole is still a hole."

The point of the story is not that the partner was wrong. That partner is in the hole with them and needs to feel hopeful. The point of the story is that "the hole" is a soul sucking liar, and around here, we don't fuck with that. At least, not for very long.

In my opinion, when you are in a hole there ARE a few things you can try.

  1. Wait it out. You'll crawl out eventually as long as you accept that your hole isn't a black hole.

  2. Call some other people that are familiar with holes. You'll feel less lonely.

  3. Call some people with ropes and shovels. They might not know what your hole feels like, but everybody knows that being in a hole sucks. Trusted people will help.

Lastly, check out my favorite video about holes:

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