I am drained. There is no other way to put it. My emotional gas tank barely drifted into the nearest rest stop running on fumes.
The last few weeks took a toll on me emotionally. I resigned from a job where I finally felt like I had everything I was looking for. It was a leadership role with my ideal population, a fantastic team, and supportive supervisors. Unfortunately, my health got the better part of me, forcing me to pull back.
For two weeks, I listened to my coworkers tell me how much they will miss me, clients asking me if I would be coming back, and slowly packing up my office. I was stuck in a whirlwind of emotional befuddlement. I was happy knowing the impact I made. I was grateful for the relationships I developed and the progress the program made. On the other hand, sadness and disappointment mixed in. Throwing in the fact that physically I felt like shit, emotional awareness fell to the back burner. My defense mechanisms kicked in, and I clammed up.
I channeled my inner Trump. I built an emotional barricade to keep out unwanted feelings. I created my own safe space. It like a kid’s tree house with a sign hanging outside “No girls allowed.” I dictated who came in and who stayed out. For the most part, I focused on positive emotions the best I could. This is fine and dandy in short bursts, but ultimately ignores the downside of the situation rather than confronting and accepting it.
I kept conversation light with coworkers, clients, friends, and family to avoid heavy feelings. I primarily focused on preparing for my work transition, resting, and having alone time. However, I felt the foundation deep down cracking. Slowly, the cracks grew, exposing the void. This was the illusion of control.
Saddened by my circumstances, I fell back on an old habit that gave me everything I wanted – control, familiarity, and fun – even if it was temporary. I said, “Fuck it,” and relapsed on my long forgotten strip club addiction. I happened to be near my old stomping grounds and took a little detour. There it was. As soon as I walked through those doors, I saw a familiar face. It was my friend “Starr.” She happened to be someone I knew over the last seven years and well before she even became a dancer. She ran over and hugged me. I took my seat at the bar with a wad of singles in my hand ready to have some fun. I talked to several dancers throughout the night and even got the bartender’s number. I spent a little over two hundred dollars over the course of four hours. It was a fun night, and nothing too outrageous happened.
Something just did not feel right though. I could not shake off my mixed feelings. It felt good. I walked in and saw someone I knew. The money in my hand provided a sense of power and a confidence boost. I caught the attention of women there. I felt like the night was mine. In reality, I could not be any more wrong. The women had the power. They had a job to do and did it well. They were there to make money and did so by finding and giving attention to the guys who had money. It was one big magic trick. Looking at that way, I felt like a jackass. How could I have fallen for such a trap again? I was disappointed in myself for even stepping in there.
Pulling back short-term is not always a bad thing. That time allows an individual to recuperate. We all need time to reflect and refill our tanks. Where I fell short was letting it go on for too long and remaining in denial. By the time I acknowledged that it was a problem, not only was the situation out of my control but also my feelings. They backed me into a corner, and I relied on an old habit out of desperation.
All in all, “the wall” was my downfall, but it brought awareness to an emotional overhaul.
-The Caring Counselor