“IS ANYBODY GOING TO DIE?”
This was the first thing my therapist said after ten minutes of anxiety-fueled ranting. Ten minutes of what I thought was a pretty good case for The World Ending, an inevitable demise that was all my fault and I’ll never recover and how could this happen before I’d ever get to watch season three of Ted Lasso? Life not only wasn’t fair but cruel.
None of this mattered to her. I mean for $175 an hour I expected at least some acknowledgement of my suffering, a Starbucks gift card, anything. Instead, all I got was a question.
“Is anybody going to die?”
You’re healthy, she said (for now, I thought – what about my shoulder that needs to be replaced soon?)
You don’t have to worry about money, she reminded me (okay but what if there’s a deeper recession and you know my daughter’s wedding someday in the future isn’t going to pay for itself.)
You have a family and friends who love and care about you (until I do something stupid again and then I’ll be ghosted like Casper.)
I didn’t say any of those things, preferring instead to keep them within the spiral of my inner monologue. I just listened – and after a while, I relaxed.
I saw myself from the outside looking in. Suddenly the reason why I thought life was over sounded ridiculous. Now I was embarrassed for mentioning it, for believing it mattered, for allowing myself to get pulled into the quicksand of doubt once again.
But I wasn’t going to die and neither was anyone else. That doesn’t diminish what I was feeling in that moment, nor is it meant to discount what others feel when life doesn’t go their way.
I never expected to share this with anyone – no one needs to know nor should they care. But after months of seeing friends and former colleagues lose their jobs, many reaching out here on LinkedIn for help and support, I just want you to know that it’s okay to feel whatever you feel.
And that what matters now is how you choose to respond.
Life isn’t lived in the past. It’s not about what happened, but about what happens next.
You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be great.
You know, on second thought, maybe that $175 an hour is paying off after all.
One thought on “What Happens Next”
Brilliant – as always!
To quote our friend Nietzsche:
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.