When I reflect on my career choices, I see how becoming a social worker was a fantastic distraction from my own problems.
Here’s a secret about therapist and other mental health professionals; we have problems too. You can have a great recipe and still make a crappy cake.
From the perspective of friends and family…I was killing it. I was the only female in my entire extended family to have earned a graduate degree.
I owned a home, drove a nice car, made good money, and had a healthy retirement account.
But in those quiet moments when I was alone, I’d silently acknowledge that all of my accomplishments were my attempts to feel valued.
The truth is, I did not feel seen, or valued, or appreciated which made me feel unworthy of love and attention.
And instead of being honest about my feelings, I chose to surround myself dysfunction because it was comfortable and a great distraction.
Afterall, I grew up with dysfunction. You could say I was programmed for it. Which is why I felt right at home being a professional in the dysfunctional mental health care system.
Nikole Seals, MSW
“ I wasn’t living my life. I was surviving my circumstances. Surviving is important, but you shouldn’t live there.”
Surviving Is Not Thriving
I had always believed my greatest strengths were my abilities to endure and survive.
It took a series of painful life experiences followed by a deep depression for me to come to this conclusion:
I wasn’t living my life. I was surviving my circumstances. Surviving is an important mindset, but you shouldn’t live there.
What I did next was radical and changed my life forever. I acknowledged my pain and decided it was time to heal.
I got honest about my own self sabotaging thoughts and behaviors and from this act of self love, I remembered who I was meant to be.
My self awareness led me on an amazing self-help journey of discovering my own inner therapist (she’s nothing like the clinical therapist I was taught to be).
She was courageous enough to help me face my truths. She encouraged me to go back to school and study holistic health which forever changed my body.
She’s also the one who convinced me to start my own counseling business. She’s created a life I didn’t think was possible and now I can’t imagine living without her.
The Good Stuff
I’m highly sensitive to other people’s (and animals!) energy and emotions.
If there’s a stray dog on the side of the road, best believe I will try to rescue it.
I feel the need to save every glass jar I bring into my house.
I love to dance and will do so to the point of injury.
I refill my tank by spending time in nature and being around children and animals.
I swear when necessary and because it just feels right.