This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately, am I going into mental health counseling as a career because I genuinely want to. I am always questioning whether or not I am on the right track in life, one of my biggest fears is that I am not. It is really hard for me to say I know anything for sure about myself, trusting myself is one of the biggest things I struggle with and can pretty much explain almost every single issue I have. Most of my anxieties center around my body feeling off, which I have just figured out comes down to me not trusting myself to know when something is seriously wrong or not. In social situations, I am always questioning whether or not I am saying/doing the right thing and if people like me, which I am starting to realize is a reflection of not trusting that I am a good and fun person to be around, and that most of all not trusting that being myself is enough. .
With all the self questioning I do, even the things I know I want and that are from my soul I find it hard not to question, like my life’s purpose. I know in my heart that I am meant to be doing this and that I love the work I am doing and will be doing; I know that in some way I am going to be able to make good of all the bad anxiety and mental health issues I have experienced by using my experiences to help other people, but it is incredibly hard for me to not question it when that is what I have been doing to every single part of me for as long as I remember, I feel like it is ingrained at me at this point.
I am trying to figure out where this all stems from but my mind kind of goes blank when I try to, probably a defense mechanism to the pain and anger that I am sure comes from those memories. I tried closing my eyes and thinking about the people and the things that have caused me to question everything, and the first thing I saw was my dad. I do not trust him and I never have from a very young age. I have always felt that I am on the bottom of his priority list and that has made it difficult to trust him, or any changes in his behavior that say differently about him.
The only thing I could and still trust from him is that he will give me academic and career validation. When he doesn’t pay any attention to any other thing I do in my life, it makes me feel unworthy. He shows me that validation and attention that I have been seeking my entire life from him when I talk about my grades, classes and things I am doing to further my future career, and I finally feel worthy in his eyes, which is why I think I always question whether or not I am studying and doing all this career work because I genuinely love it and that it’s my life purpose, or if its because it is the only time my dad shows any kind of validation and that he is proud of me. I hate you dad and I love you. These are my conflicting emotions. Both are very painful and come with guilt.
Thinking back to high school, I think that this is the main reason I always took school and grades way more seriously than most of the people around me. I would take advanced placement classes that I didn’t even like or care about, but I knew my dad would tell me how proud of me he was if I took them and got good grades. I felt this way about every class except one, AP Psychology. For the first time, I didn’t give two fucks about telling my dad about my good grades or AP scores, for the first time I didn’t want to study to get good grades, but because I actually loved it.
That is what has helped me figure out that this is what my soul is telling me to do, that there is no other reason for me studying, taking classes, or doing my internships besides that I absolutely love it and that I know I can make a difference with this. It is hard to stop the constant rumination of questioning myself in mind, but as I do more work in this field, it is getting easier to shut it down and remind myself that this is what I genuinely love to do and that I KNOW that this is my purpose.