Counting Chickens

What a week. It feels like everything that happened before Tuesday was a lifetime ago. As awful as it was to see (and feel) the outcome of the election, I found comfort in the fact that we are all in this together. It also made my personal problems seem much smaller and more manageable, dwarfed by the enormity of what may now happen.

That said, I saw a second psychiatrist today and felt much more seen and understood this time. He affirmed that I probably have a serotonin deficiency, which felt reassuring (I’m not choosing this shit!) After hearing me speak, he reflected that I seem to have a lot of ambivalence about my decision to move away from my career as a therapist. He said that how I described my experience sounded a lot like a version of performance anxiety. This was an eye-opening perspective (or maybe I just heard it differently). Either way, it’s definitely something I want to explore further. He encouraged me to reflect on whether this is the best time to be taking on the extra challenge of brain chemistry adjustment as I navigate my career transition.

Overall, he urged me to not be so hard on myself. I feel like I get this feedback a lot. In fact, this may be the issue I struggle with the most. I am hard on myself and I am hard on others. At some point over the past week, I named my internal critic Dolores. Dolores is so ingrained in me (and such a constant companion) that I have a hard time recognizing when she’s in action. If I am going to make any movement towards being kinder/less hard on myself, I get be diligent in distinguishing when Dolores is talking rather than me and remember that her version of truth doesn’t serve me.


Goal 1: I haven’t applied for any jobs in the last week. I am meeting with one of the other women from the company next Thursday and I’m still feeling hopeful that this is going to work out. While I know the prudent thing to do is to keep applying for jobs and not count my chickens before they hatch, I’ve been ignoring that completely and reveling in the optimistic belief that this will work out and I won’t have to apply for any more jobs. Poor decision? Maybe. As such, I will commit to spending 2 hours job hunting this coming week in order to counteract the chicken counting.

Goal 2: I definitely had some solid play in my life this past week. Game night last Thursday was a blast. And Sat night was also a lot of fun. (Let’s not talk about the hangover and depression that followed on Sunday). There was not much fun to be had on Tues or Wed this week but I am starting to feel a bit lighter and am planning to reconnect to fun and play this weekend. For one, I’m planning to see a comedy show tomorrow night, which I always enjoy. And I get to keep creating small moments of play, remembering that each moment is an opportunity.


4 thoughts on “Counting Chickens

  1. Lots of good stuff here. Curious about the “performance anxiety” link and what you end up uncovering. I love that you named your inner critic. As my patience/tolerance wears thin in final trimester, I feel my inner critic going into overdrive, firing off judgments and criticisms of both myself and others. I’m going to give naming her a try and see if that doesn’t help me be less reactive!


  2. I love this post so much. Maybe because I relate to it.

    It breaks my heart to hear you say something super normal and common – that you might be “choosing this shit”.


  3. My inner critic/nerd is Sylvia. We should get Sylvia and Dolores together for drinks sometime.

    When Sylvia drives, it takes me a long time to notice that she’s even taken over, and sometimes I let her drive for awhile, and we end up in Arkansas, which is a really long drive, and I can never understand why she wants to go there… its smelly and flat and we don’t know anyone.

    She’s a meanie-head. She’s mean to me, and the people closest to me. She has me doubt the truth and creates absolute chaos. She’s cunning and beautiful and even though SHE IS ME, I am never good enough for her.

    I like the sound of this psychiatrist. Be gentle with yourself. *Practice* compassion.

    Does the Performance anxiety conversation have you reconsidering the career move?


    1. That is hysterical about Sylvia driving you to Arkansas!

      Like Sylvia, I am not and can never be good enough for Dolores. But what’s tricky is that I don’t view Dolores as mean. Instead, I have bought into the story that she’s looking out for me, helping me to be my best self (UNTIL NOW!) That’s why it’s been so hard for me to recognize that’s she actually hurting me. As you said, I get to *practice* noticing what is her and what is me, with compassion.

      I am not considering going back to being a therapist at this point, but the new insight does make me think it’s more likely that I’ll end up back there at some point. But for now, it still feels overwhelmingly unappealing, even if it is largely performance anxiety driven.

      Sending love, my fellow Em ❤


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