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11/19/2006: "the counselling"

I know there's a few of you probably chomping at the bit, wondering how my counselling session went on Thursday night. The reason I didn't come RIGHT home and tell you all is three-fold:

1) I had another event to attend that night right after - free beer and pizza!
2) I now make an effort to talk to Jannette about things before I blog them. She has a point when she says she shouldn't have to read about my feelings online.
3) Nothing really big came out of it - apparently I'm doing fairly well, all things considered.

I wasn't really sure what I could or would get out of a counselling session, but I figured trying one would be a lot better than continually being grumpy or short-fused and basically carrying around a chip on my shoulder.

The bulk of the session was background; he explained who he was, and I explained who I am, what's been going on, what I'm thinking, what I'm planning, the whys and wherefores of it all, and so on and so forth. It became apparenty very quickly that he wasn't exactly sure what he could do for me. As he put it, I'm doing all the right things (making plans to change/transition my career). He very much liked the idea of my entering the MBET program, but respected the fact that I didn't do so immediately (and may yet not next year) out of consideration for our aggregate debt distaste. (I won't call it intolerance, but we certainly don't like it.)

All in all, he could only offer two things (at least, that I took away). The first is that I'm not looking at the whole picture: I have a great family, supportive friends, a good life, and in general I have a lot to be thankful for. The only problem spot is my career - everything else I have nothing to complain about. Very true, but much easier to say than do. At least he made me aware of it, and I'm trying to see "from the top of the mountain", as he put it. Secondly, as he was a referral from church, we got into my faith life, which in all honestly has been flagging quite a bit. He recommends that I need to beef it up and start giving up my feelings of frustration to God to allow Him to deal with them and let me get on with life. Again, easier said than done, but at least it's on my mind now.

We have another appointment scheduled for January (no sense of inflicting yet another appointment on anyone in the crazy pre-holiday season, right?) just to see how I'm doing. We may or may not keep that appointment, as it really would be just follow-up.

I will note that he was very generous and waived his assessment fee. Initially I balked at it (although it's only $65), but Jannette made the correct observation that it would probably be money well-spent if it could improve my mental health. After hearing of our roller-coaster financial and occupational situation however, he waived his fee. Extremely gracious of him. I wonder if he felt bad that he couldn't actually suggest anything to help me, but either way I'm glad for the appointment.

As for the frustration? Well, it's normal. We are in a frustrating situation. Stress tells us that something isn't right, and it's not. It's not going to magically disappear just because we're open and talk about it. It's a matter of how we/I deal with the stress that will matter, I suppose. That's where seeing the "big picture" and improving my faith life comes in. I will be stressed, I just have to cope and keep moving forward.

So that's that. I guess from here on out I'll be trying to figure out a better relief system for my stress, and putting an effort into becoming LEED-accredited. Which reminds me, I should go online today and get that stuff ordered. No sense in sitting around just thinking about it, right?

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November 2006

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