Why I’m Afraid of Counselors

I hate shots. 

I’ve hated them since I was little, and I still hate them now.

I can recall a moment, mostly in fragments, when I was little. I remember me screaming, running from a couple of nurses in the doctor’s office. One of the nurses had the dreaded needle and syringe, intending on puncturing my arm and injecting me with what could’ve been some kiddie version of the truth serum so I could no longer get away with lying to my mom.

I remember they had to tackle me down and pin down my arms so they could fit the needle in. I screamed the loudest I’ve ever screamed, no doubt probably scarring for life the other kids in the waiting room probably waiting for the same shots.

Nowadays, my blood pressure still rises every time I’m faced with that dreaded needle and syringe.

Why am I telling you this obviously embarrassing and amusing anecdote? Because lately I’ve been faced with a situation much like the evil nurses with the needle that makes me want to run away in terror.

For the past few months, I’ve really been enjoying a depression and anxiety-free me. After dealing with some pretty scary days, not knowing if I was actually losing my mind, it’s been a huge breath of fresh air to feel so easy-going. Seeing my friends and supportive community has been helping, as well as getting back into one of my favorite hobbies: Martial arts. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to step out on the mat with boxing gloves ready to face off with an opponent. The unpredictable movements combined with the broken rhythm of a fight really gets the endorphins going. I feel like a new man after every session.

Recently, though, I had a moment that triggered something deep inside me that I didn’t know was not dealt with. I was at an indie rock show, of all places, and just remembered feeling very alone in a crowded room of people. For some reason, that uninvited feeling of loneliness wouldn’t leave. It followed me in the car on the way out. It laid in bed with me as I tried to get myself to sleep so I could make my next training session. In fact, I felt so bothered by it, that I stayed up too late and ended up sleeping through my training.

I missed the one thing that helped me feel centered and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Without that, everything seems off-balance. And it showed. When I got to work, I sat in my cubicle answering emails, and getting ready to take calls, when I felt a swell of emotion start to overcome me, and I almost erupted into tears. I excused myself and found my supervisor, and we found a quiet room to sit and talk.

My mind was all jumbled. I told him that I couldn’t pinpoint why I was feeling the way I was, but I gave him some reasons what may have triggered it. Then, he said something that I have dreaded ever since I first heard it suggested to me about 6 years ago: “Have you ever thought about counseling?”

That word is like a cuss word to me. Like the most offensive thing you can say. If it’s one word that would seriously make my heart skip a beat, it’s that one.

To me, counseling is reserved for the crazies, for the people who are one step away from heading to that really nice white building with the padded walls. I’m not crazy. I don’t have a screwed up past. I was never beaten or molested as a child. I’ve just been bullied, and have suffered heartbreak. That’s it. So, why on earth would I need a counselor?

I grew up in a family where if something was wrong on the inside, you got over it, sucked it up, got yourself up and got your stuff done. There wasn’t much emphasis on talking it out, and even when I tried, I felt misunderstood. When I would bring up that I may have a problem with anxiety, I would be met with a stare and a lecture about how I am much to young to be experiencing those feelings.

The thing is, I agree with them. But the fact of the matter is, it’s still happening, no matter how many times I try to side-step it. 

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of reports of divorce among my friends. These all stemmed from unresolved issues, mostly from the men’s side, about past issues, secret addictions, etc. This seriously scared me. After hearing some of the pain it was bringing those couples, it made me A) never want to get married, and B) never want to put my future wife through the same thing.

As much as I entertained option A, I discovered that I was made to be partnered with someone special to share the most intimate parts of me, so option A was not an option for me.

After having some encouraging conversations with friends whom I look up to, and who have seen counselors themselves, the thought of seeing a counselor became a little less scary, and a little more logical and inviting.

It’s not that it’s completely removed the fear, because I’m still very much afraid. I do not like the idea of exposing the deep parts of me to a stranger, not knowing how he will judge me, what he will say, what medications he’ll try to prescribe me. But what gives me comfort is the fact that I have the opportunity, right here, right now, to make the step towards giving me a chance to have a very healthy marriage in the future. Do I take it, or do I pass it up again and leave it buried until it comes up again when I’m married, or even when I have kids?

When I was a freshman in high school, I had to go back into the doctor’s office to get another shot. Needless to say, I was nearly having a heart attack as I sat up on the examination table as the nurse prepared the syringe. The nurse, a sweet elderly woman, noticed how I was acting, and very calmly told me, “You’re worrying too much over nothing.”

I took a deep breath, looked away, and felt a slight pitch with a tiny discomfort. When I turned my head back around, she was already putting the needle away. “That was it?” I told myself, “That wasn’t so bad.”

Any time bare skin is exposed and it’s necessary to go beneath it to heal the problem or prevent a future infection, there will be some pain. But a little pain, I figure, would probably be worth the years of healing it will bring me.

Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m staring at the pamphlet I was given at work with a counseling hotline on it. I haven’t called yet. I’m contemplating it. I hope that if I do finally take a deep breath and decide that it’s not going to be so bad, that it will be just like that last moment in the doctor’s office. I will be all worried over nothing.

Be right back. I have to make a phone call…

@3 months ago

A lesson from online dating.

I just had to get this one out there since it just happened to me not 40 minutes ago.

Women, I have a piece of advice to give you when you see that a guy is interested in you: Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Not only that, but follow through with it!

Now, it could be that I’m just the type of guy that needs a woman to be more specific with me so that I know what they want. So, in that case, I would take the blame for some of that. But here’s the thing, if you find that a guy is interested in you and you do not feel the same way back, let them know and remember to be as gracious as possible while still standing your ground. The stereotype that men aren’t sensitive beings is a complete lie. Despite our rugged appearances, and our love for beer, rock n’ roll, and movies that show Denzel Washington blowing something up, we do still have feelings, and they can get hurt pretty easily. Let us know what you need (or don’t need) from us, and if you’re not interested in any sort of friendship after that, then cut all ties immediately.

This means no Tumblr, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, etc. Do not give the man the slightest indication that you are still willing to maintain a connection when that is NOT what you want. Because we will take it that way. That means no “liking” posts or commenting on anything. Just don’t do it, because we will take that as an indication that you’re still wanting to be friends and we will return the “likes” and comments. If this is not what you want, this will most likely lead to you having to put on a mean face and make us feel sorry that we ever set eyes on you by being blunt and a bit rude to get your point across, and nobody wants to get to that point.

Now, I can see in some cases where it calls for that when a persistent dude just doesn’t want to take no for an answer, regardless of how many times you have tried to be abundantly clear. But this is why I make the suggestion to avoid that by being straight up honest (and remember, gracious) and cut ties from the get-go. Trust me, us men (the genuine ones, at least) will be eternally grateful for it.

This comes from an experience where I was emailing a girl back and forth on a dating site, and all seemed to be going well until she emailed back saying that she wasn’t interested in pursuing anything romantic and asked for forgiveness if she felt like she led me on. Totally understandable, and I really appreciated her candor and her graciousness in handling the situation. I emailed her back thanking her for being honest, and even offered to still be friends.

Since she didn’t say “no” to the friendship offering, and she was still following my posts on Instagram, still “liking” the pictures and everything, I took it as a sign that a friendship was possible. So, I sent her one of those nifty Direct Instagrams that you can send to specific followers of a vinyl record that I had picked up of one of the bands I remembered her saying she liked. I didn’t mean anything flirtatious by it, just thought it was cool and that she would get a kick out of it.

Turns out my assumptions were wrong when she wrote back saying “I guess I wasn’t clear in my last message…”

Oh. Great.

Seriously, if there were anyway to introduce a message to a person to make them think they were an overbearing creeper and send them crying like an insecure 14 year-old who wondered why no girl wanted to dance with him at the post-football game high school dances, that was it.

Now, listen. I get it. There are definitely guys out there that just don’t take the hint. I guess I was one of them, I don’t know. But am I in the wrong here by requesting that when a woman says “No”, she really makes it clear that it means “No”? It’s the least they can do to save us the pain of rejection that will come later when they have to be blunt and rude to get their point across. And I know you women do not enjoy giving that kind of message as much as us men don’t enjoy receiving them. 

So, why not just take care of business right from the get-go and cut the cord immediately? It will save a sensitive guy like me the heartache and feeling like I had just achieved creeper status in the long run.

@4 months ago with 1 note
fuckyeahgirlswithshorthairOh my goodness… WOW!

fuckyeahgirlswithshorthair

Oh my goodness… WOW!

@5 months ago with 116 notes

There’s A Ghost In My House.

Ever feel like your partners from past relationships haunt you like a ghost sometimes? It sounds like a bad plot to a Matthew McConaughey movie, but I’m being serious here. You can “hide” their feed on Facebook, and heck, even delete them from your page, but all the “deleting” and “hiding” you can do on social networking will never keep them from popping up in your dreams, or your thoughts. Someone will say something that will instantly remind you of something they said that you found endearing when you were together. Or you’ll see someone from a distance from behind and swear to God that it’s them and your heart drops into your stomach, only to be met with heartbreaking disappointment when they turn around and it’s someone else.

I have a ghost following me around. One that seems to be stalking me in my dreams and my thoughts because there is unfinished business.

I can only imagine the kind of damage that happens within divorced couples. It’s one thing to date and break up, it’s quite another to have a life together, with a house, two kids, and a dog, with a mortgage and shared car payments, and all of the sudden, it’s over.

The biggest pain I feel comes from desperately wanting to save a friendship. There’s a part of me that, despite what the media or other people have told me about how broken-up couples can never be friends again, I want to believe that is false. That, although I have to say goodbye to the possibility of intimately knowing that person as I once did, I still have love in my heart for them as a friend. I want to see them grow, thrive, succeed in the areas they couldn’t when we were paired up. But it requires a response from that person. I’ve done plenty of pushing, but no response. 

I’ve heard great friends of mine say, “You’ve done your part already. Just be happy and move on, and at the same time, open yourself up to the possibility of her entering your life again.” I want to keep hoping, and yet I want to cry in defeat at the same time, because right now in this situation as it stands, the latter seems like an impossibility. Opening myself up to the possibility of that person entering my life again would mean never really moving on. I would always keep a sense of hope alive, and for that reason, it keeps the ghost alive.

I want to move on and find the next classy, shy, dress-wearing, short brunette girl to come into my life again that I can smother with affection in hopes that that will finally get myself to move on. But another part of me asks, even if another one did show up, would I want her?

I have to be honest, relationships scare me right now. It’s the thought of having another person in my life that I share myself intimately with, with all my faults and quirks, and making mistakes and hurting them that has me keeping my distance. I know I can’t be governed by fear if I want to be successful in this area. And I know that fear is irrational and will ultimately keep me from experiencing any kind of intimate relationship, and I don’t want to shut myself off. But right now… boy, that pain and fear are strong. And I just want to move forward.

God, show me what I need to do.

@5 months ago

"

One of the best Superman moments never appeared in a Superman comic. A 2008 issue of Nightwing included a scene of Superman and Nightwing talking in a dark, after hours Central Park. A security guard, flashlight in hand, tells them to scatter before he realises whom he’s addressing. ‘Oh, hey, jeez, Superman, Nightwing, my bad,’ he stammers, mortified by his own mistake. ‘The park can’t get any safer having you guy guys patrolling it, can it?’

Superman doesn’t miss a beat. ‘You mean having the three of us patrolling it,’ he answers. That’s it. That’s Superman. And he doesn’t deliver the line with a sarcastic eye roll or a sly ‘can-you-believe-this-guy?’ wink in Nightwing’s direction. Superman is just stating the facts. When he looks at this man, he doesn’t see an interloper or a pretender. He sees a peer.

That’s life in Superman’s world, here the most powerful being on the planet is glad to call you a friend as long as you work hard and help others. The ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound has nothing to do with it. Born on Krypton but raised in Kansas, Superman is a small-town boy who never developed a shell of big-city cynicism.

Critics sometimes throw jabs at the character, saying that Superman’s off-the-scale power makes him hard to relate to. Not true. Superman is just Clark Kent from Smallville at heart and he’d happily munch on a burger chatting with you about football prospects.

Superman’s humble roots enable him to empathize with all people from the mighty to the meek. He’s not Superman because he has the power to take over the world, He’s Superman because he wont.

The very first super hero is the one with the biggest heart. After 75 years we’re all still looking up in the sky.

"

Daniel Wallace (via caitlinfaith)

Holy crap, this is amazing.

(Source: reyesrobbies, via caitlinfaith)

@5 months ago with 13587 notes

What I learned from a funeral.

The emotions are still pretty raw, so I thought I’d process them a bit on here.

Two weeks ago, while on my break at work, I received a distressed voicemail from my mother telling me that one of my aunts had passed away. I was shocked, because my aunt was only in her fifties. And I was angry. I was angry because my aunt had died from a possible over-medication. She had been dealing with some health issues for the past few years and taking pain pills for migraines. I think the reason why I was angry was because I would’ve thought that someone would have maybe warned her of the dangers of medications, and if they did, she would still be around for her family. Maybe that’s the natural-medicine-loving hippie in me, I don’t know. But I kept on asking my mother in anger, “Didn’t anybody warn her? Huh? Didn’t anyone tell her what could possibly happen?” I didn’t want to be angry. I wanted to be sad and cry, and then I remembered that one of the first stages of grief was anger, and I felt okay. Justified in my reaction, at least.

Today, I got up early to drive to Citrus Heights where the funeral was being held. I have a love/hate relationship with funerals. I hate funerals, and I will do what I can to break the ice by trying to be funny to distract others and myself from the internal conflict going on in my heart, but at the same time, I like them because that seems to be the only time I can see my extended family. The eldest son of my aunt was at the funeral who I haven’t seen in 10+ years and I found out that him and I have been living in the same area for years without knowing it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that when we grow up, we have our own lives and things get busy and we grow apart and it’s just a natural part of life, but there’s a part of me that wishes that weren’t the case. So, we look at each other and catch up with the years that we’ve missed out with each other, telling each other we would contact the other when we are in their area next time, all the while on the inside we tell ourselves, “That’s probably not going to happen”.

I watched as my aunt’s three boys, her three strong men, got up to share their memories with everyone, stammering and sniffling through it all. I remember hearing, “My mom was my best friend”, “I hope I’ve made her proud”, “I want to make her proud”, “I know I’ve made her proud”, and something in me shifted. I kept on seeing her three boys how I remember them when we were kids and would spend the weekend with each other playing in the backyard, jumping off couches watching Power Rangers, trying out cusswords for the first time away from earshot of our parents. Those boys just lost their mother. One of her sons just became a father for the first time a few months ago, and his son will not get to remember his grandmother. I saw her husband get up and cry, knowing that he will no longer get to come home to his wife and cuddle with her and call her “the pretty one” anymore.

The only memory I couldn’t shake off of her was how disappointed she was in me when I was an immature kid because I thought it would’ve been funny to kick my cousin in his tailbone while wearing rollerblades.

And the one thought that really stopped me in my tracks and made my heart jump, was what will I say when it could one day be my mother’s time to go? Will I be able to hold myself together, or will I not be able to get a word out because I would be crying too much? I didn’t want to think about it, but in situations like this, it just comes up without warning.

I found myself in a moment of repentance while I saw many others, family and friends, share how much she has impacted their lives with her heart and spirit, and how much of a Godly woman she was. I had no right to judge how she died, only to celebrate how she lived. She really did live, and when it was time for her to go, she was ready. 

I pictured her dancing on the stage of the church as her family shared their memories of her, finally free, smiling, and happy.

@4 months ago
I wonder if she’s single…

I wonder if she’s single…

(Source: fuckyeahgirlswithshorthair)

@5 months ago with 203 notes

elemesy:

jazminantoinette:

whenmylightislow:

I thought Jack needed to get in on the bad Valentines trend, so I made these. 

(P.S. I know he didn’t actually say the thing about souls and bodies, but how could I resist?)

GIVE ME ONE OF THESE AND I’LL BE YOURS FOR ALL ETERNITY.

Best bad Valentines ever? Yes? Yes.

(via nanalew)

@5 months ago with 2643 notes

Long Absences and Living Life

It’s been a looong time since posting, and I’m grateful for it.

I went through a two-month period of straight depression, in which if I saw anything relating to relationships or happy couples, my knee-jerk reaction would be to change the channel, turn off the computer, or go for a drive. All three of these things were probably the best decisions I would ever make.

During this season of… I guess we can call it “recovery”, I’ve just been focusing on living. Sometimes it took a lot of effort. It took serious effort to go to church or show up to Bible study groups and watch people be so happy, when all I wanted to do was scream. I can’t imagine ever going back to that place in my feelings, and I never want to.

There were some good lessons learned during that period, though. One of the first is that I will never be able to make a true connection with anyone unless I speak up about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a happy conversation or a disagreement that needs to be settled before it festers (which it ended up being more of the latter than the former), but even in that, my fear to have a conversation in which I knew I was offended by the other person was met with incredible grace and it ended up strengthening relationships with friends. Something I am incredibly grateful for.

If it’s one thing that I got annoyed with during that period of depression, it was the one question “What’s God doing in your life?”, to which I want to respond “None of your damn business.” I think it’s because the question is asked in a very condescending tone most of the time. Seriously, if you want to botch what could be a good spiritual conversation with me, ask me that question and see how fast I will bring it to a close. But more than that, I’ve realized that, 1) a part of me doesn’t want to answer that question because the season that I am in has not included extravagant experiences with God unlike the other person asking me that question, and since I am hard on myself for not experiencing all those crazy wonderful encounters with God, I project that frustration and they receive the biting end of it. And 2) I haven’t really had time to buckle down and read my bible or go to prayer meetings (not like I go to those things anyways) because I’ve been too busy enjoying God in my every day life. I see Him when I hang out with my friends when we’re having conversations that aren’t remotely spiritual over beers, or in my work place when I’m having to help an 80 year-old stoke victim over the phone with a technological issue and having to be extremely patient as he follows my directions. I see God in all of that. It’s impossible not to. I found it so funny that I was very reserved and reluctant to talk about God in a church setting, yet in my workplace I had no trouble bringing up my spiritual life.

Really, though, I’m just enjoying life. It’s been a relief to be able to just enjoy where I’m at and what I’m doing without feeling the need to be super spiritual. It’s nice to go to Jeet Kune Do training in the mornings to start my day off right and get rid of every negative emotion on the focus mitts I pound on. It’s nice to not post up theological stuff on Facebook often and get into debates with people. My life is a whole lot less cluttered and anxious-ridden because of it.

Seriously, though, enjoying life is the most God-glorifying thing you can do! Jesus was all about having community with people and enjoying his time with them, not going to temple to worship and making sure you knew your Scripture. While there’s nothing wrong with those things necessarily, if they’re taking the joy out of living life, then perhaps there’s a new perspective that needs to happen. Any spiritual practice or ministry that causes you to become a depressed hermit needs to be heavily scrutinized and more than likely chucked out the window.

Of course, me enjoying life also includes prayers for more hope in areas of my life that need it. So, it’s not like I’m completely abandoning anything spiritual. I do still desire to see God show up in big ways in those sensitive areas that need a lot of love.

Until then, if you know me, come have a beer with me, or let’s go on a road trip to somewhere awesome. I’m sure we’ll find something seriously spiritual in the midst of enjoying life.

@5 months ago

I know the popular saying is to never give up on the ones that you care about, but what if it’s their decision to want to be given up on?

What if everything you propose to help gets shot down by them?

What if that person was your significant other?

I’m a total sap, I confess. And I am also a hopeless romantic. But I think even though that is a part of my personality, there’s only so much I can do and push for before giving it up if the other person just isn’t responsive to it.

The downside of dating a person with your same personality type is that they are just as stubborn as you are. Even with all my reasoning and wanting to work through things, they didn’t share the same enthusiasm or sentiments. I’m all for not giving up on love, but I won’t try to change a person’s mind or argue with them into giving in. That’s not the way love works.

"If you love her, let her go."

I’ve learned to hate that phrase these past couple weeks, but I can’t deny that it has held significant meaning after a conversation I had just an hour ago.

Sometimes, this is the way things have to settle. But there was a part of me that really wanted to see something work…

@10 months ago